Sound Unseen Drops Full Playlist
Online music film fest adds Bee Gees, Sound of Metal
By Richard Whittaker,
6:36PM, Wed. Oct. 21, 2020
Get ready for a heavy story with pounding rhythms: Sound Unseen Film/Music Festival, the hybrid tunes and flicks fest from Minneapolis that's opening a second virtual stage in Austin during the pandemic, has announced that Sound of Metal will be this year's opening night film.
From Johnny Carson's musical right hand man to cutting edge underground beats, Sound Unseen's five days and nights of music movies covers styles and the globe, but it all kicks off with the eagerly-awaited drama about a drummer (Riz Ahmed) dealing with profound hearing loss, and an equally life-altering loss of direction. The fest had already announced Alex Winter's eagerly-awaited Frank Zappa bio, titled simply Zappa, as closing night film, but he's not the only misunderstood icon of 1970s music on the bill, as legendary producer Frank Marshall opens the door to a reappraisal of the blockbusting Gibb brothers from Manchester, The Bee Gees: How Do You Mend a Broken Heart.
The lineup also includes a chorus of titles that have been tearing up the festival circuit, including raucous comedy Dinner in America (which just won the audience award at the genre-friendly Nightstream). However, there are also several new movies on the slate, including the U.S. premiere of dive joint history Five Bucks at the Door: The Story of Crocks N Rolls, the North American debut of Contradict, exploring the lively and sardonic music scene in Ghana, and over 20 Texas premieres.
Sound Unseen will run Nov. 11-15, with virtual screenings available online in Texas and Minnesota. Early bird passes are $50, and are available at the reduced price through to the week of the festival: Individual screening tickets will also be available. More details and passes at www.soundunseen.com.
Now here's the full lineup of titles available in Texas:
OPENING NIGHT SELECTION
SOUND OF METAL
D: Darius Marder (US, Belgium, 130 min, Texas Premiere)
During a series of adrenaline-fueled one-night gigs, itinerant punk-metal drummer Ruben (Riz Ahmed) begins to experience intermittent hearing loss. When a specialist tells him his condition will rapidly worsen, he thinks his music career —and with it his life —is over. His bandmate and girlfriend Lou (Olivia Cooke) checks the recovering heroin addict into a secluded sober house for the deaf in hopes it will prevent a relapse and help him learn to adapt to his new situation. But after being welcomed into a community that accepts him just as he is, Ruben has to choose between his equilibrium and the drive to reclaim the life he once knew.
THE BEE GEES: HOW CAN YOU MEND A BROKEN HEART
D: Frank Marshall (US, 111 min, Minnesota & Texas Premiere) The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart, directed by acclaimed filmmaker Frank Marshall, spotlights the legendary band who wrote more than 1,000 songs, including twenty number one hits throughout their career. The film chronicles the rise of the iconic group, consisting of brothers Barry, Maurice and Robin Gibb, their music and its evolution over the years. An HBO Documentary Film.
CLOSING NIGHT SELECTIONZAPPA
D: Alex Winter (US, 127 min, Minnesota & Texas Premiere)
With unfettered access to the Zappa family trust and all archival footage, ZAPPA explores the private life behind the mammoth musical career that never shied away from the political turbulence of its time. Alex Winter's assembly features appearances by Frank's widow Gail Zappa and several of Frank's musical collaborators including Mike Keneally, Ian Underwood, Steve Vai, Pamela Des Barres, Bunk Gardner, David Harrington, Scott Thunes, Ruth Underwood. Ray White and others.
BEN DESOTO: FOR ART'S SAKE
D: Andrew Benavides, Michael Zapata (US, 33 min, Minnesota Premiere)
Ben DeSoto: For Art's Sake is the story of Ben DeSoto, Houstonian and photographer who worked as a photojournalist for the Houston Chronicle and the Houston Post thirty years ago. In this documentary, DeSoto reminisces and examines his work, capturing and documenting various genres of innovative music, such as punk rock and rap, as well as current events in Houston, Texas. Having now moved away from that bustling time in his life, DeSoto is now reflecting and wants to share his work with the world. This is the film to make any avid photojournalist, photographer, filmmaker, Houston rap fan or Texas punk disciple take it all in not just for sheer interest, but for the rich music history.
D: Chelsea Christer (US, 90 min, Minnesota & Texas Premiere)
Like many acts in the early 2000s, The Matches were set to be the next 'big thing'. After building a tight-knit music community in the Bay Area, they broke out and became an internationally touring act. An eclectic group of artistic weirdos, the band grew a thriving cult fan base worldwide. For nearly a decade, The Matches toured mercilessly, but couldn't seem to return with more than a few hundred dollars. Between exhaustion and defeat, the band dissolved in 2009. In 2014, they decided to humbly reunite for what started as a small local show in San Francisco.
D: Peter Guyer, Thomas Burkhalter (Switzerland, 79 min, North America Premiere)
Two friends collect money for America in the streets of Accra: fun, political provocation or prophecy? Two Swiss filmmakers will get to the bottom of these questions together with six musicians from Ghana: M3nsa, Wanlov The Kubolor, Adomaa, Worlasi, Akan, Mutombo Da Poet and Poetra Asantewa. The ideas and trends of tomorrow are emerging in a globalized world more decentralized than ever: How do you see the change in values of our time from the African continent? How do you want to confront and contradict it? And can new visions for the future become new global realities? Contradict shows this new generation of musicians who also continue the post-colonial struggles of their parents and grandparents with new methods. They produce cheaply thanks to new software and spread their concerns rapidly over the Internet. In their music, they demand a new role for Africa in today's world, strengthen women's self-confidence, combat plastic delusion and teach their peers self-acceptance, self-confidence and self-esteem.
D: Marnie Ellen Hertzler (US, 73 min, Minnesota & Texas Premiere)
In a world that undulates between fact and fiction, digital and physical, a group of SoundCloud rappers live a solitary, post-societal existence in the desert town of Crestone, Colorado. Once a religious and spiritual mecca for many, Crestone’s endless sand dunes, waterfalls, and dark caves act as a backdrop for images of tattooed bodies, cosplay wardrobes, and clouds of weed smoke.
DARK CITY BENEATH THE BEAT
D: TT the Artist (US, 65 min, Minnesota & Texas Premiere)
Dark City Beneath the Beat is a musical documentary reimagining the narrative of Baltimore, a city rising above social and economic turmoil to develop a vibrant and close-knit community for the arts through its homegrown sound Baltimore club music. The film defines the soundscape of Baltimore through personal narratives of the city’s local club artists, DJs, dancers, producers, and creative community as they are realizing their life dreams. Rhythmic and raw, these stories are intercut with musical sequences that illustrate the unique characteristics of the “Charm City’s” landscape.
DINNER IN AMERICA
D: Adam Rehmeier (US, 106 min, Minnesota & Texas Premiere)
In a dreary Midwestern suburb, aggro punk rocker Simon (Kyle Gallner) finds himself on the run again after a bout of arson and a close call with the police. A chance encounter with the eccentric Patty (Emily Skeggs) provides him a place to hide, though she fails to realize that her new friend is the anonymous lead singer of her favorite band. As the two embark on a series of misadventures, they realize they have a lot more in common than they first expected.
FIVE BUCKS AT THE DOOR: THE STORY OF CROCKS N ROLL
D: Kirsten Kosloski (Canada, 81 min, US Premiere)
In the mid-’80s and early ’90s, the heyday of indie rock, Crocks N Rolls became the epicenter of Canadian pop culture. Located in Thunder Bay, Ontario, atop the iconic Highway 61, Crocks (as it is affectionately called by its patrons) was a bridge for East and West coast musicians crisscrossing their way through the country. The story focuses on those pre-internet days of D.I.Y. culture and the grassroots alternative movement.
KEYBOARD FANTASIES: THE BEVERLY GLENN-COPELAND STORY
D: Posy Dixon (UK, 63 min, Minnesota Premiere)
As a sci-fi obsessed woman living in near isolation, Beverly Glenn-Copeland wrote and self-released Keyboard Fantasies in Huntsville, Ontario back in 1986. Recorded in an Atari-powered home studio, the cassette featured seven tracks of a curious folk-electronica hybrid, a sound realized far before its time. Three decades on the musician – now Glenn Copeland – began to receive emails from people across the world, thanking him for the music they’d recently discovered. Courtesy of a rare-record collector in Japan, a reissue of Keyboard Fantasies and subsequent plays by Four Tet, Caribou and more, the music had finally found its audience two generations down the line. Keyboard Fantasies: The Beverly Glenn-Copeland Story sees the protagonist commit his life and music to screen for the first time - an intimate coming of age story spinning pain and the suffering of prejudice into rhythm, hope and joy.
MAURICE HINES: BRING THEM BACK
D: John Carluccio (US, 93 min, Minnesota & Texas Premiere)
An intimate portrait of a trailblazing African American entertainer who navigates the highs and lows of his lengthy showbiz career, and a complex relationship with his superstar brother, Gregory Hines.
D: Alexander Jeffrey (Italy, US, 91 min, Minnesota & Texas Premiere)
In the Sicilian town of Taormina, an aspiring poet in search of inspiration meets a folk singer trying to write a follow up to her breakout hit. Their chemistry sparks collaboration, challenging each other to express their thorniest secrets, growing closer all the while.
NEVER TOO LATE: THE DOC SEVERINSEN STORY
D: Kevin Bright, Jeff Consiglio (US, 84 min, Minnesota & Texas Premiere)
After three decades as the colorful bandleader on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, master trumpeter Doc Severinsen defies nature with a relentless schedule of touring and performing into his nineties. A beloved musical icon traces his groundbreaking career and personal trials underscoring a life of inspiration and obsession.
QUEENS OF THE REVOLUTION
D: Rebecca Heidenberg (Cuba, US, 78 min, World Premiere)
Queens of the Revolution is a portrait of Mejunje, a cultural center in Santa Clara that paved the road for LGBTQ+ rights in Cuba. The film highlights the bravery of people who have fought for their lives and identities for decades. Meandering through the streets of Santa Clara, into the homes of drag performers and on to the stage, the film tells the story of Mejunje through a chorus of voices. This community was violently persecuted but instead of fleeing, they chose to stay and fight for change in the country they love.
D: Gabriel Range (UK, 109 min, Minnesota Premiere)
David Bowie is one of the most seminal legends in music history; but who was the man behind the many faces? In 1971, a 24-year-old fledgling David Bowie (Johnny Flynn) is sent to America to promote his newest record, “The Man Who Sold the World.” Leaving behind his pregnant wife Angie (Jena Malone), Bowie and his band embark on a makeshift coast-to-coast promotional tour with struggling Mercury Records publicist Rob Oberman (Marc Maron). Stateside, Bowie is quickly met with an audience that’s not yet ready for him. During the tumultuous journey, Bowie slowly begins to realize a need to reinvent himself in order to truly become himself; it’s with that realization that his iconic, celestial alter-ego Ziggy Stardust is born.
THE OFFLINE PLAYLIST
D: Brian C. Miller Richard (US, 49 min, Minnesota Premiere)
A first-of-its-kind concert that paired New Orleans artists on a Spotify playlist with the fans who were listening to it, live at the hallowed Preservation Hall. Staring Jon Batiste, Irma Thomas, Curren$y, Mannie Fresh, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and more New Orleans legends.
UPROOTED: THE JOURNEY OF JAZZ DANCE
D: Khadifa Wong (US, 94 min, Texas Premiere)
Uprooted is a feature length documentary celebrating the history, lineage and future progressions of jazz dance. With a stellar cast of leading industry experts, award-winning choreographers and legendary performers. A ground-breaking documentary going back to the roots in Africa and following the evolution of this incredible dance form through every single decade and genre. Exploring and commenting on the political and social influences. Uprooted is an honest conversation about jazz dance. We open up that conversation. We address topics such as appropriation, racism, socialism and sexism within Jazz Dance. It is a story of triumph over adversity, oppression and privilege as well as a celebration, because ultimately, what all people have in common is rhythm and a basic human need to get down.
"BASTILLE - ANOTHER PLACE"
D: Anna Radchenko (UK, 4 min, Minnesota & Texas Premiere)
“Another Place” is a surrealist music video directed by Anna Radchenko & Jeremy Schaulin-Rioux for English alternative rock band Bastille, featuring Canadian singer, songwriter Alessia Cara. The video sees Bastille frontman Dan Smith as he struggles to keep his home from falling apart. All the while, a giant version of Alessia Cara looks through and taps on the windows sending shockwaves throughout the building. Another Place stands as an evocative representation of a person’s distress caused by a breakup, seeking to keep one's inner sanctuary intact by shutting off painful memories trying to make their way in.
D: Lael Rogers (US, 9 min, Minnesota & Texas Premiere)
The lead singer of a Seattle punk band struggles to keep it together when her performance anxiety takes an unexpected form.
D: Adi Halfin (Israel, Germany, USA, Japan, Holland, France, 5 min, Minnesota & Texas Premiere)
"Earth Odyssey" was made by dancers from different continents filming themselves in their confinement with their personal phones and computers. It was made in the first week of April 2020 while almost 2 billion people around the globe were unable to move freely due to the restrictions imposed in an attempt to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.
D: Kayla Arend (China, 4 min, Minnesota & Texas Premiere)
“Fucking Lonely” is a music video for singer-songwriter Yi Tang. Made in the backcountry wilderness of Utah and Wyoming, this quirky yet very real music video expresses an emotion that can be felt universally.
"I AM SAMANTHA"
D: T Cooper (US, 5 min, Minnesota & Texas Premiere)
"I am Samantha," by singer-songwriter Benjamin Scheuer, was inspired by his friend, Samantha Williams. Director T Cooper and Allison Glock-Cooper gathered 27 trans actors to tell the story of the universal human journey to find identity, acceptance and love.
"I TALK TO THE WIND"
D: Gaia Alari (Italy, 5 min, Minnesota & Texas Premiere) Following the dance of a plastic bag, flowers, hands and a crane, the video is a loop that conveys a lulling feeling of longing and transformation accompanying the lyrics of “I Talk to the Wind,” famous 1969 song by King Crimson, in this elegant and delicate version by indie folk singer songwriter Dana Gavanski.
"IN THE SAME DIRECTION"
D: Alexander Craven (US, 17 min, Minnesota Premiere)
From the inception of a musical idea, through the recording process and live performance, this short documentary tells the story of Jeff Pifher and his band Socrates' Trial and their idea of what jazz can be today.
D: Trevor Anderson (Canada, 16 min, Minnesota & Texas Premiere)
A young Indigenous musician and his rock band bring mumblepunk to the Interstellar Rodeo. A rock ‘n’ roll survival story of a different stripe.
D: Jean-François Leblanc (Canada, 23 min, Minnesota & Texas Premiere)
A young journalist goes into the deep wood to interview the heavy-metal duo Landgraves, who records an album for the first time since a murder imprisonment. His curiosity pushes him to follow the band deep in the forest, as a snowstorm arises.
"LITTLE BIG - GO BANANAS"
D: Alina Pasok (Russian Federation, 3 min, Minnesota & Texas Premiere)
There is singing, dancing, and cake.
D: Johan Nayer (UK, 12 min, World Premiere)
Two ambitious street musicians from Africa visit the UK in a make or break tour. They perform at some of the UK's most prestigious world music festivals, but also encounter some drama as Yosefe has an excruciating toothache. We get to hear some of their music and see how their Malawian Banjo music rocks the crowds.
D: Markus Schröder (UK, 17 min, Minnesota & Texas Premiere)
Filipe is only 36 when he suffers a stroke performing on stage with his heavy metal band. Believing that live music will help his recovery, and frustrated by his aphasia, a communication disorder brought on by stroke, Filipe attempts to reconnect with the world by visiting music festivals dressed as a bunny rabbit.
D: Zak Kirwin (US, 8 min, Minnesota & Texas Premiere)
A band of layabout punks throw a party to end all parties. When their neighbor summons a gang of demons to shut them up, all hell breaks loose.
"PAYING THE FERRYMAN"
D: Alfonso "Cronopio" Moreno (US, Spain, 4 min, Minnesota & Texas Premiere)
On his final journey, the ferryman presents an old punk rocker with one ultimate ordeal. Judgement, symbolized in the figure of his young daughter, is held hostage while he chases death in a nightmare run through a tunnel which transports him instantly from the land of the great lakes, to the Madrid of his youth. Shedding off the years and old age as he runs, he tries desperately to pass the trial and pay for the continuity of his child, before his own blood runs the last few drops of his existence through the hourglass of eternity.
D: David Drake (UK, 14 min, Minnesota & Texas Premiere)
An underground jazz club in Harlem struggles to keep going after the death of its founder, Seleno Clarke.
D: Tony Fulgham (US, 3 min, Festival Premiere)
A music film for the single, “Powerhouse,” from Seattle band Thunderpussy. An ode to the singer's mother, this film unfolds as a single mother becomes the woman she knows herself to be. It is an unravelling of sorts.
D: Ryan Stopera (US, 21 min, Texas Premiere)
After the global internet crash of 2040, the world fell into chaos. One corporation had the only remaining server, holding all the remaining technological data and power that came with it. Protests and conflict consumed our lives. Economies failed across the world, and the US government was forced to privatize under the control of this sole corporation. Under their rule, what was left of our rights were stripped. All wealth went to the oligarchs, and all art, music, and communication was banned. They knew our art was our connection to liberation; so they took it from us. The ruthless Jǐngchá hunted and imprisoned all who did not obey the law. Information was shared through a microchip that each citizen was given in a brain implant, which was used to send state propaganda messages, spreading lies and fear. The line between the outside world and the digital world was blurred, and our existence was an assembly line, void of vibrancy and culture. A few brave artists refused to stop creating and joined together to fight back.
D: Walter Santucci (US, 2 min, Minnesota & Texas Premiere)
An animated music video for the Detroit Illharmonic song of the same name, "Ruby's Song" is a vaguely surreal, weirder than it actually seems love story between a disembodied mannequin head and a headless mannequin ending, of course, in tragedy.
"SEE ME THRU"
D: Dejha Ti, Ania Catherine (US, 4 min, World Premiere)
Directed by and co-starring real-life married couple Dejha Ti and Ania Catherine, the video for "See Me Thru" showcases the nuances of two women in love and brings to life the song’s message about seeing a relationship through to reap the benefits of commitment.
D: Sara Kiener (US, 7 min, Minnesota Premiere)
After years of long distance, a pair of big and beautiful boyfriends celebrate their reunion at a Stevie Nicks concert, where they share a brush with magic.
"THE THINGS YOU THOUGHT - PHONOLUX"
D: Buddy Calvo (US, 5 min, World Premiere)
Teens stuck at home, apart due to quarantine, get together for a fun adventure.
D: Ryan Brown (US, 9 min, Minnesota & Texas Premiere)
Nothing comes easy for this Brooklyn-based band trying to make it to the center of Manhattan in time for their gig.
"WHERE MY GIRLS"
D: Mads Engel (US, 22 min)
In the underground hip hop scene of New York, the old adage “if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere” rings true for many rappers seeking to make a name for themselves. But in a scene that struggles to stay genuine in the face of clout chasers and rising rents, making it has taken on a more ambiguous meaning. In this short documentary, three queer women reflect on the creativity, community, and hustle required to make it in a culture that has left them to their own devices.