Sound Unseen Reveals 2014 Film Festival Lineup

Categories: Festivals, Film
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Heaven Adores You
Elliott Smith on on tour, circa 1998

The festivities for Sound Unseen's 15th annual Film+Music+Art Festival kick off in grand -- if a bit bittersweet -- fashion this year.

Leading the impressive slate of films just announced is the Minnesota premiere of Nickolas Rossi's film, Heaven Adores You. It's an intimate look at both the life and music of Elliott Smith. Rossi and producer Marc Smolowitz will be in attendance at the premiere.

Sound Unseen is set to take place between November 12-16, with films screening at McNally Smith College of Music and the Bedlam Theatre in St. Paul, and the Trylon Microcinema in Minneapolis. The full schedule is below.

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The New David Bowie Documentary Isn't What You Think It Is

Categories: Film
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Brian Duffy
David Bowie, album shoot for Aladdin Sane, 1973

The new documentary film David Bowie Is does not tackle the epic career of the legendary rock star. You won't see any new interviews with the 67-year-old performer. There are no insights regarding his sexuality or addictions. No mention of his work with Klaus Nomi.

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Casting Martin Scorsese's New Ramones Movie

Categories: Film
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Goodfellas: Ramones get the Scorsese treatment

Recently, word got out that an upcoming Ramones biopic would be helmed by one of America's greatest living filmmakers, Martin Scorsese. The movie would be one of several band-related projects slated for 2016, the 40th anniversary of the bruddas' debut album, Ramones.

Scorsese isn't that odd a choice to direct a film about the groundbreaking punk band. He's a New Yorker who loves music, and directed The Last Waltz and Shine a Light. He also knows what to do with a good story. Like The Wolf of Wall Street or Raging Bull, the tale of the Ramones is a fascinating one, filled with underdogs, victors, losers, users, lovers, betrayers, and a litany of insecure gods.

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Amphetamine Reptile Records Documentary Hitting Theaters

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AmRep founder Tom Hazelmyer and director Eric Robel

The local and international footprint of Amphetamine Reptile Records is undeniable. After fostering a progressive, hardcore sound in the '80s and '90s that left hair metal in the dust, the label has delivered one-of-a-kind vinyl pressings and limited-edition releases in the modern era. Through it all, AmRep has boldly stood apart from most conventional record labels under the guidance of founder Tom Hazelmyer.

Now a younger generation of fans will get to witness what all the fuss was about, as a new documentary on Hazelmyer (HAZE XXL) and AmRep, The Color of Noise, is set to hit theaters across the country, including a screening at the Riverview Theater here in Minneapolis.

See also:
Under the influence of Amphetamine Reptile

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Summer Music & Movies announces 2014 lineup

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Photo by Steve Cohen

The Walker Art Center's Summer Music & Movies series has consistently provided Twin Cities film and music lovers with a wonderful -- and entirely free -- night out that celebrates the eternal link of both creative mediums.

This year's lineup incudes Greg Grease (above) and his new ZuluZuluu project, the Cloak Ox, and more paired with iconic films. Showings and performances are every Monday night in August. Loring Park hosts the events on August 4, 11, and 18, and Walker's Open Field is the setting for the final night on August 25.  

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Purple Rain-inspired African film seeks funding

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Have you ever wondered what Prince's Purple Rain would look and sound like filtered through an African lens and the Tuareg-language? Well, you now have the chance to fund that distinctive film through Kickstarter, as the first Tuareg-language fiction film, Akounak Tedalat Taha Tazoughai (humorously translated as Rain the Color of Blue With a Little Red In It), is seeking contributions to help their artistic cause.


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Inside Llewyn Davis: A near-perfect mix of music and message

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Photo By Alison Rosa

Any time Oscar-winning St. Louis Park filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen announce that they are releasing a new film, there is going to be plenty of local interest. When they decided to set their new one, Inside Llewyn Davis, in the early-'60s folk music scene of New York City that would eventually embrace a young Bob Dylan, Minnesota moviegoers became even more intrigued.

Last night, I was fortunate to attend an early screening of the Coen brothers' new film -- which opens in an exclusive early engagement at the Uptown Theatre this Thursday night -- and came away impressed with the focus and care that was shown to folk music throughout the film, as well as the knowing attention given to the insecure struggle of the creative life.


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The story of Thunderbird, a Purple Rain-inspired drama set in Minneapolis

Categories: Film
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A shot from the opening of the first episode

"Summer in Minneapolis. A killer on the prowl. A young woman's personal journey told in disco."

This is the tagline for Jesse Dvorak's new web series, Thunderbird. Its first episode premiered on YouTube through Carbon City Cinema last Thursday, and the series follows Micah, the lead singer for the neo-disco outfit Thunderbird, as she learns more about herself while navigating an imagined music scene during a Minneapolis summer.

"The music is a huge part of the inspiration and narrative," Dvorak said. He's had more than a little experience in the world of indie music, recording and touring with various bands -- mostly electronica in the vein of Moby -- for more than a decade before focusing on film. This shines through in the series' soundtrack, which grabs the viewer from the first scene.


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Filmmaker Bill Morrison brings his films to the Walker tonight

Categories: Film, Interview
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Bill Morrison's approach to film is much like most modern day composers or musicians. With primarily discarded archival footage as his main axe, his visual storytelling resembles sample-based music. Often the origins of his source material become greatly obscured by the final expression in his work.

Decasia, Spark of Being and Light is Calling utilize multi-layered images that create a dreamlike translucence. Visually, they lend themselves naturally to music, which further puts a point on an intended (or unintended) meaning or narrative.

Gimme Noise had the opportunity to talk to Morrison about his films last week. Describing his process and ultimately how music works as an inspiration and companion for his films, Morrison, who has worked with ambient guitar master Bill Frisell as well as Walker regular Laurie Anderson and modern composer Michael Gordon will be present to discuss his work at the Walker Art Center tonight.

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Rodriguez: "They made love to my music, but they also made war to my music"

Categories: Film, Music
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Courtesy of Light in the Attic
Back in the late '60s, the singer-songwriter Rodriguez was slated to be Detroit's own Bob Dylan. Although he made a couple of terrific records, they only made it as far as the cut-out bin in the United States. Over time, however, his music caught fire in South Africa, and he became revered from afar, influencing countless revolutionary punk and protest singers through the years.

Now, this bumpy road to late-life stardom is the subject of the new documentary Searching for Sugarman, named after one of his signature songs. Rodriguez was in Minneapolis recently to promote the film, and right when Gimme Noise met him in the lobby of the W Hotel last month, it was clear this wouldn't be the typical interview. More »

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