Does your life change, ever so slightly, whenever you happen to hear a song from Elliott Smith’s “Figure 8”? If so, you might want to carve out some time next month to attend Sound Unseen, a film festival dedicated to exploring and telling stories about music. Heaven Adores You, a documentary on Smith’s life and music, kicks things off.
And if you love Fugazi or shoegaze or Billy Mize, there’s something for you, too.READ MORE: Man Gets 25 Years For Fatal Stabbing Near Jordan
On Tuesday, Sound Unseen announced this year’s slate of feature-length films. The festival runs from Nov. 12-16, and tickets, which go on sale next Friday, run between $10-$25. Screenings will take place at the McNally Smith College of Music and Bedlam Theatre in St. Paul and the Trylon microcinema in Minneapolis.
Heaven Adores You starts things off on Wednesday, Nov. 12, at McNally Smith. The documentary, directed by Nickolas Rossi, not only tells the story of Smith’s life and tragic death, but it also aims, according to press material, to show what drove his life’s work. Rossi uses more than 30 minutes of interview footage of Smith in an attempt to create a portrait of the artist that is more nuanced than the common depressed genius stereotype Smith’s story is often told with. Smith, who earned an Oscar nomination for his song Miss Misery in Good Will Hunting, died of two stab wounds to the chest in 2003. If he were alive today, he would have turned 45 in August. He’s missed by many, including me.
Some other films in the Sound Unseen slate to take notice of are Instrument and Beautiful Noise. The former is a unique documentary from the late ’90s on the post-hardcore band Fugazi that was 10 years in the making. It was made by Jem Cohen, who went on to direct Museum Hours, a wonderful film that was on both mine and my fellow blogger Eric Henderson’s list of the best movies of 2013. Beautiful Noise, on the other hand, appeals to me because it seeks to highlight the innovative sounds of bands from the ’80s and ’90s that used loads of guitar pedals to make dreamy soundscapes and distill them into the contours of pop. Think of bands like My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, The Jesus & Mary Chain. The project piques my interest in that it’s focused not on the storied lives of rock stars, but on interview-shy sonic explorers.
Below is an outline of the screening schedule. Six of the films will be competing before a five-person jury for a cash award. For more on the individual films, head over to the Sound Unseen website. The short films screening will be announced later this month.
Wednesday, Nov. 12 @ McNally Smith College Of Music
7 p.m.: Heaven Adores You (Minnesota Premiere); Directed by Nickolas Rossi
Thursday, Nov. 13 @ The Trylon
7 p.m.: Instrument (Anniversary Screening); Directed by Jem Cohen
9:15 p.m.: Looking for Johnny (Minnesota Premiere); Directed by Danny Garcia
Thursday, Nov. 13 @ McNally Smith
7 p.m.: Metalhead (Minnesota Premiere); Directed by Ragnar Bragason (Competing)
9 p.m.: Well Now You’re Here, There’s No Way Back (Minnesota Premeire); Directed by Regina Russell
Friday, Nov. 14 @ The Trylon
7 p.m.: Homemakers (Minnesota Premiere); Directed by Colin Healey, who will be in attendance (Competing)
9 p.m.: The Case of the Three Sided Dream (Minnesota Premiere); Directed by Adam Kahan (Competing)
Friday, Nov. 14 @ McNally SmithREAD MORE: Sabrina Spellman Makes An Appearance On The CW's Riverdale; Kiernan Shipka Reveals 'Fans Will Get Some Clarity'
7 p.m.: Beautiful Noise (Midwest Premiere); Directed by Eric Green
9 p.m.: Salad Days; Directed by Scott Crawford
Saturday, Nov. 15 @ McNally Smith
1 p.m.: Billy Mize and the Bakersfield Sound (Minnesota Premiere); Directed by William J. Saunders
3 p.m.: This is when the short films will run. They’ll be announced next week.
7 p.m.: The Other One: Bob Wier (Midwest Premiere); Directed by Mike Fleiss (Competing)
9 p.m.: I Am A Knife With Legs (Midwest Premiere); Directed by Bennett Jones (Competing)
Saturday, Nov. 15 @ The Trylon
7 p.m.: Sound and Chaos: The Story of BC Studio (Midwest Premiere); Directed by Sara Leavitt & Ryan Douglass
9 p.m.: Rye Coalition: The Story of the Hard Luck Five (Midwest Premiere); Directed by Jenni Matz, who will be in attendance
Sunday, Nov. 16 @ McNally Smith
1 p.m.: The Ballad of Shovels and Rope (Minnesota Premiere); Directed by Jace Freeman (Competing)
3 p.m.: Legends of Ska (Minnesota Premiere); Directed by Brad Klein, who will be in attendance.
5 p.m.: Eternity: The Movie (Closing Night Film & Minnesota Premiere); Directed by Ian Thorpe
Sunday, Nov. 16 @ The Trylon
5 p.m.: Lady Be Good: Instrumental Women In Jazz (Midwest Premiere); Directed by Kay D. RayMORE NEWS: Omicron Variant: What Experts Know So Far
7 p.m.: The Possibilities Are Endless (Midwest Premiere); Directed by James Hall & Edward Lovelace