Two of my great loves in this life are music and film. This year’s festival has done an outstanding job of showcasing films that celebrate my two favorite art forms.
This might be the best film at the fest. It’s at least my favorite. The coming-of-age comedy, written/directed/starring Ryan O’Nan and costarring Michael Weston, follows the journey of two strangers who embark on a nationwide tour. Much hilarity ensues. Their two piece band consists of an acoustic guitar and an assortment of keyboards and kids toy instruments. The resulting sound is great, and is reminiscent of locals Smile Smile (the stories are also vaguely similar). So great in fact, Rhino Records will release the soundtrack to the film when it opens to a limited release in the Fall.
It’s hard to watch this concert film/documentary and not be inspired. The film chronicles Chicago indie pop genius, Andrew Bird, on a year long tour in which he fights fever and injury on his way to the finish line in his hometown. Director Xan Aranda’s film is gorgeous in both sight and sound, and it’s clear that much work was put into the presentation. So much so, this film will only be shown in theaters. Aranda also plans to only screen Fever Year at festivals. So if it comes to your town, go see it.
The story has been done before. Dude is signed to big record deal. Record company drops him before the record is even released. Dude, wife and baby move away from the big city and settle into a normal life. Struggles abound. No matter how many times this story has been told, I never tire of it. The film follows musician Wes Cunningham as he struggles to re-imagine his dreams. The film is based on a true story and all of the performances are genuine, which makes it easy to really connect to these characters. There were even a few misty eyes during the final scene. And of course it helps that the music is good. If you’re on Spotify, you can find the soundtrack here.