It’s 1969. Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones are just finishing their closing act at the Altamont Speedway while in Soviet Estonia, Martin Mänd and his band are preparing to play their first concert of forbidden rock & roll…
Like a Rolling Stone is a warmly comedic story about realizing an impossible dream and the power of music.
Set in 1969 in the impoverished Soviet Estonian mining town of Ahtme, Like a Rolling Stone is the story of seventeen year old Martin Mänd, a stuttering teenager who finds his calling within the heartbeat of forbidden rock & roll music. Martin idolizes Mick Jagger and The Rolling Stones. He can only hear them illegally on smuggled tapes and the pirate radio stations late at night. Confronted with limited resources, Martin, his younger brother Allan, his girlfriend Marika and school mate Igor persevere and form The Red Roosters, a Stones cover band. The kids have a mentor, of sorts, in the Tankman, an ex Soviet war hero who’s passion is western jazz and rock music. The band’s growing popularity among the town’s youth soon attracts the attention of the KGB, who mistakenly seek to use the band’s musical talents for the promotion of Communist ideals, not realizing the actual nature of the music played by The Red Roosters.
Martin tells the story through correspondence with Mick Jagger … or so he believes. In truth, it turns out that a secretary in Decca Records’ London office is attracted to the Estonian postal stamp and takes an interest in Martin and The Red Roosters and responds encouragingly in Mick’s name. Eventually, Jagger himself sees one of the letters and writes to Martin.
After a The Red Roosters show at the local “Palace of Culture” that goes spectacularly wrong, Martin is expelled from school and interrogated by the KGB. Now faced with bleak future of working in the mines alongside his combative father, Martin with Allan and Marika decide to make a daring escape for a distant London and the pursuit of a new life.
Like a Rolling Stone is a comedic drama about the ability of a dream to transcend a harsh reality, and about the power of rock & roll to become a beacon of hope, freedom and personal expression. From behind the rusty Iron Curtain in 1969, it is the heartfelt and moving story of one Estonian boy who sings his way to freedom.
Writer Aare Tilk