The 2013 Milwaukee Film Festival begins in about a month and Milwaukee Film has been gradually revealing the various film programs. This morning, Aug. 20, Milwaukee Film announced both the Sound Vision music documentary program and the Soundtrack live music series line-ups (listed below).
This is the second consecutive year for both the live music series at The Hotel Foster and the Sound Vision film program. The 2013 Sound Vision line-up features eight feature-length music documentaries covering a range of subjects, from the self-proclaimed "Black Liberace" to a genre of music that lionizes drug kingpins and two documentaries from Oscar-winning director Jonathan Demme.
Artistic & Executive Director Jonathan Jackson explains the Sound Vision program saying,
We have been screening music documentaries since day one of the Milwaukee Film Festival, but last year was the first time we pulled them together into their own program, Sound Vision. Milwaukee's music community didn't let us down—the films were incredibly well-attended. I'm really looking forward to screening my all-time personal favorite, Stop Making Sense, alongside the rest of these varied, soon-to-be classic music docs.
Milwaukee Film is also partnering with The Hotel Foster, the venue for the live music series, for the second consecutive year. The Soundtrack showcase features live music for 14 straight nights (every night of the festival except Opening Night). Shows are free with a festival pass or ticket stub from that night's screenings, otherwise regular admission is $5. Last year's music line-up attracted over 1300 people over 10 nights of the festival.
Marketing Director Blyth Meier commented on Milwaukee Film's collaboration with The Hotel Foster saying,
We couldn't ask for better partners to work with than Johnny Revord and Doug Williams. In addition to owning what has quickly become one of the city's best music venues, they're incredible film nerds. And with programming assistance this year from WMSE's Promotions Director Ryan Schleicher, they've pulled together an outstanding line-up. I'm looking forward to dancing every night after the we shut down the projectors.
SOUND VISION LINE-UP:
"Bayou Maharajah: The Tragic Genius of James Booker"
(USA / 2013 / Director: Lily Keber)
He toured with Aretha Franklin, recorded with Little Richard and mentored a young Harry Connick Jr.; yet despite his standing in the New Orleans jazz scene, James Booker, the self-described “Black Liberace,” remains mostly unknown. That won’t long be the case with "Bayou Maharajah", an incisive look at the man Dr. John called “the best black, gay, one-eyed junkie piano genius New Orleans has ever produced.” Using never-before-seen concert footage, director Lily Keber has crafted a joyous yet unsparing look at a man whose wild imagination and destructive appetites found their only outlet in his virtuoso piano playing.
"Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me"
(USA / 2012 / Director: Drew DeNicola)
In the early ’70s, alternative rock forefathers Big Star released three albums that, while critically acclaimed, disappeared due to poor record sales. As decades passed, their legend grew, influencing such rock luminaries as R.E.M., The Flaming Lips and Wilco, while seeing all three albums land on the Rolling Stone top-500-of-all-time list. Even with this renaissance, their amazing story has never been properly told until now. It’s a moving portrait of what is arguably rock music's greatest cult phenomenon, a group nearly forgotten despite having left such a massive imprint on the rock ’n’ roll landscape.
(USA / 2013 / Director: Reuben Atlas)
For the eight young men who comprise the joyful and bombastic Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, brotherhood is literal: They're all sons of anti-establishment jazz legend Phil Cohran. Raised on a steady diet of jazz and funk crossed with Black Consciousness on Chicago's South Side, this jazz cooperative has moved from busking on the streets to collaborating with Mos Def and opening for Prince. This coming-of-age doc is filled with their unremittingly unique brand of music and showcases their struggle to maintain the values they were raised on when confronted with the promise of record deals and musical stardom.
"Enzo Avitabile Music Life"
(Italy / 2012 / Director: Jonathan Demme)
Academy Award-winning director Jonathan Demme returns to the success of "Stop Making Sense" with this documentary spotlight on a lesser-known quantity to Americans, Italian multi-instrumentalist Enzo Avitabile. Taking a fly-on-the-wall approach to Enzo’s musical process and life story (doubling as a gorgeous portrait of Naples in the process), the film is host to remarkable jam sessions between the versatile Avitabile and a collection of amazing world music talents all performing sonic wizardry on rare and bizarre instruments native to their home countries. It’s a fascinating look at a remarkable life, filled to the brim with unforgettable musical moments.
"The Girls in the Band"
(USA / 2011 / Director: Judy Chaikin)
An award-winning look at the untold stories of female jazz and big band instrumentalists and the uphill climb they faced just to be heard, "The Girls in the Band" shines an entertaining light on women cast to the margins of jazz history. Subject to punishing sexism and racism, these women powered through all obstacles with good humor, steadfast determination and musical mastery as their guide. This long-overdue celebration showcases their groundbreaking journeys from the late ’30s all the way to today (influencing contemporaries such as Grammy-winner Esperanza Spalding) in a “real crowd-pleaser” that “may prompt a rewrite of jazz history” (Robert Koehler, Variety).
(USA / 2012 / Director: Greg “Freddy” Camalier)
“Free Bird,” “I’ll Take You There,” “Brown Sugar” — the tiny Alabama town of Muscle Shoals is home to these and many more hit records that shaped the course of popular music. This rousing doc takes a look at the people (Rick Hall and “The Swampers,” his genius rhythm section) behind the town's sound, whose legendary FAME studio became a creative oasis where talent trumped skin color in an age and state where segregation ruled the day. Jagger, Aretha, Simon and Bono all lend their voices to a documentary that showcases the lasting power of the Muscle Shoals sound.
(USA / 2012 / Director: Shaul Schwarz)
In Ciudad Juarez, thousands of homicide cases overtax the crime scene units as drug cartels slowly tilt the system’s odds in their favor. Meanwhile, across the border, nestled in the safe embrace of El Paso, Texas, musicians work feverishly to meet growing demand for narco-corridos, waltz-like ballads that lionize the blood-soaked escapades of traffickers and kingpins (who play them over police radio channels in the wake of their violent acts) idolized for having escaped poverty and squalor. Cutting between these disparate scenes and showcasing a largely unknown counterculture taking hold across both borders, director Shaul Schwarz examines how a calamitous lifestyle remains so appealing as Narco Cultura continues to grow.
"Stop Making Sense"
(USA / 1984 / Director: Jonathan Demme)
Only the greatest concert film ever made, Jonathan Demme’s stunning collaboration with Talking Heads is a high-energy spectacle that gathers momentum throughout, allowing us to get swept up in the boundless energy of charismatic frontman David "Don't Touch Me, I'm a Real Live Wire" Byrne. Demme smartly trains his camera on the performers, allowing the band’s kinetic performance to rule the day in an environment where eminently danceable tunes coexist alongside ingenious stagecraft. A must-see for fans of concert films, this 35 mm screening is a “Once in a Lifetime” experience of a towering achievement liable to leave MFF audiences dancing in the aisles.
SOUNDTRACK AT THE HOTEL FOSTER LINE-UP:
Friday, Sept. 27: Fable & the World Flat / Catacombz / Dogs in Ecstasy
Saturday, Sept. 28: Le Freak ft. Asher Diamonds / Slim Brit / Shakylegs / Video Villains / Special Guests
Sunday, Sept. 29: Aluar Pearls / Kiings
Monday, Sept. 30: The Delphines / Heartthrob
Tuesday, Oct. 1: The Living Statues / The Gazettiers
Wednesday, Oct. 2: The Championship / Mark Waldoch
Thursday, Oct. 3: Cream City After-Party ft. Asher Diamonds / Why B
Friday, Oct. 4: Painted Caves / Marcus Doucette (DJ Set)
Saturday, Oct. 5: Midwest Death Rattle / Soul Low / Oedipus Tex
Sunday, Oct. 6: Delta Routine / Train Company / Hero Jr.
Monday, Oct. 7: Kyle Feerick / The Vitrolum Republic / Ivy Spokes
Tuesday, Oct. 8: Vic and Gab / Young Holidays / Young Holidays (DJ Set ft. Special Guests)
Wednesday, Oct. 9: Calliope / Castle Thunder / We Are Your Father
Thursday, Oct. 10: Fever Marlene / Jayk
The 2013 Milwaukee Film Festival runs Sept. 26-Oct. 10. Passes and ticket 6-packs are currently available at discounted rates exclusively online at http://mkefilm.org/tickets. Tickets for individual screenings will be available through Milwaukee Film Festival Box Office starting Sept. 11 for Milwaukee Film Members and the following day for the General Public.
For more information on Sound Vision, Soundtrack, and the rest of the 2013 Milwaukee Film Festival, please visit http://mkefilm.org.