Minneapolis, MN (October 24, 2018) – The Sound Unseen Film/Music/Art Festival (November 14-18) announced the full lineup for this year’s 19th edition of the film festival. Highlights include Midwest premieres of the SONIC YOUTH: 30 YEARS OF DAYDREAM NATION film compilation, Jordan Albertsen’s BOOM! A FILM ABOUT THE SONICS, Jonathan Sequeira’s DESCENT INTO THE MAELSTROM: THE RADIO BIRDMAN STORY, Olivia Lichtenstein’s TEDDY PENDERGRASS: IF YOU DON’T KNOW ME, and the previously announced WAITING: THE VAN DUREN STORY, directed by Greg Carey and Wade Jackson.
Sound Unseen Festival Director Jim Brunzell, said, “It’s always fun to give audiences a first opportunity to see films you are personally excited about, and this group of films will definitely be worth doing some marathon viewing days and evenings to catch every single film you possibly can. Rich Gill (Sound Unseen Producer/Co-Programmer) and I are thrilled with this year’s lineup and it should be one of the best Sound Unseen lineups in our history."
In celebration of the 30th anniversary of the release of Sonic Youth's album Daydream Nation, Sound Unseen welcomes filmmaker Lance Bangs, and Babes in Toyland’s Lori Barbero to present a program of Daydream Nation-related films. Two are rarely-screened archival pieces from 1989, in brand new restorations. Lance Bangs will also present excerpts from his new concert film of the band performing the album in its entirety in Glasgow in 2007. A few unseen gems from the band’s archives will round out the bill.
Albertsen’s BOOM! A FILM ABOUT THE SONICS, tells the story of the grandfathers of punk, with The White Stripes, Bruce Springsteen, and Nirvana citing them as a major inspiration. Sequeira’s DESCENT INTO THE MAELSTROM: THE RADIO BIRDMAN STORY, profiles the enigmatic Australian band, which inspired a golden age of indie music on that continent from Cold Chisel to Midnight Oil. Olivia Lichtenstein’s TEDDY PENDERGRASS: IF YOU DON’T KNOW ME, tracks the R&B legends career from his breakout with Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes to his meteoric chart success as a solo artist through his tragic accident and perseverance over the paralysis resulting form that accident. Carey and Jackson’s WAITING: THE VAN DUREN STORY, attempts to solve the mystery of what happened to one of the more promising artists to emerge from Memphis in the 70s.
Films in competition this year include; Albertsen’s BOOM! A FILM ABOUT THE SONICS; Sophie Huber’s BLUE NOTE RECORDS: BEYOND THE NOTES, and Julia Nash’s INDUSTRIAL ACCIDENT: THE STORY OF WAX TRAX! RECORDS, which look into the history and influence the two labels had in introducing generations to jazz, punk, new wave, experimental music, as well as some of the landmark artists that made that music; Melissa Haizlip and Sam Pollard’s MR. SOUL!, which profiles Ellis Haizlip, the host of the influential public-television variety show, SOUL!; Mark Maxey’s UP TO SNUFF, about musician and composer W.G. Snuffy Walden; Mika Gustafson, Olivia Kasterbring and
Christina Tsiobanelis’s SILVANA, which profiles the enigmatic Swedish rapper; and Gorman Bechard’s WHAT IT TAKES: FILM EN DOUZE TABLEAUX, which focuses on Sarah Shook and her band, The Disarmers, as they record their new country album.
Headed by Factory 25’s Matt Grady, this year’s Sound Unseen jury includes; Cyn Collins (Radio Host, KFAI’s “Spin with Cyn”), JoLynn Garnes (Editor, THE FEARLESS FREAKS, L7: PRETEND WE’RE DEAD), Megan Leonard (Programmer, Seattle International Film Festival), Billy Morrisette (Singer/Guitarist DILLINGER FOUR), Sound Unseen’s competition films will vie for a potential distribution deal through Factory 25.
For more information about Sound Unseen, as well as how to purchase passes, go to: http://www.soundunseen.com.
The 2018 Sound Unseen Film Festival official selections:
2350 LAST CALL: THE NEO STORY - MINNESOTA PREMIERE
Director: Eric Richter Country: USA, Running Time: 46 min
Opening in 1979 and shuttering in 2015, Neo reigned for 36 years as a sanctuary for misfits, weirdos, and outcasts while serving as the breeding ground for myriad fashion and music trends. 2350 LAST CALL is a requiem for a club that not only outlasted its competitors, but also never lost its grit. Through seas changing and years passing, Neo nevertheless remained committed to celebrating individuality and, of course, dancing ‘till dawn.
ANVIL! THE STORY OF ANVIL! - Special 10th Anniversary Screening
Director: Sacha Gervasi Country: Canada, Running Time: 80 min
Since 1978, Anvil has become one of heavy metal's most influential yet commercially unsuccessful acts. In 2006, after a fledgling European tour, Anvil sets out to record their thirteenth album and continue to follow their dreams.
BLUE NOTE RECORDS: BEYOND THE NOTES - MINNESOTA PREMIERE
Director: Sophie Huber Countries: USA/Switzerland, Running Time: 85 min
One of the most important record labels in the history of jazz—and, by extension, that of American music—Blue Note Records has been home to such groundbreaking artists as Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, Bud Powell, Art Blakey, and Eric Dolphy, as well as present-day luminaries like Ambrose Akinmusire and Norah Jones. Founded in New York in 1939 by German-Jewish refugees Alfred Lion and Francis Wolff, Blue Note’s history goes beyond the records, encompassing the struggle of black artists to be heard, the conflict between art and commerce, and the idea of music as a revolutionary force.
BOOM! A FILM ABOUT THE SONICS - MIDWEST PREMIERE
Director: Jordan Albertsen Country: USA, Running Time: 84 min
BOOM! A FILM ABOUT THE SONICS tells the story of the most important band you’ve never heard of: The Sonics. After exploding into the music scene in the 1960s, they threatened to fade away, but their impact is still felt through the industry. A captivating and inspiring documentary, the film tells the authentic story of the grandfathers of punk. 50 years since The Sonics exploded into the rock music scene, their shockwaves are still being felt. They are the most important band you’ve never heard of, with legends from The White Stripes to Bruce Springsteen to Nirvana citing them as a major inspiration. Director Jordan Albertsen tracks the band from their rising Northwest small-town success in the 1960s, blasting out pieces like The Witch and Louie, Louie, to the groups eventual slow dissolve, and their later underground reemergence in the UK. Interviews with the five original members provide an authentic and detailed account of their history, while also allowing the film to function as an inspirational story of delayed recognition, as they realize their music did not fade away.
DESCENT INTO THE MAELSTROM: THE RADIO BIRDMAN STORY - MIDWEST PREMIERE
Director: Jonathan Sequeira Country: Australia, Running Time: 109 min
Sydney, Australia. 1974. A group of outsiders band together with a mission. In world of satin jumpsuits and screaming teens on Countdown, they form the high energy rock ’n roll band RADIO BIRDMAN, forever determined to keep compromise from their art. Switched off, shut down and booted out of venue after venue they stay determined to do things their own way, and they slowly accumulate a cult-like following of youth, a ‘New Race’ of disaffected youth who rally around the band.
THE GODFATHERS OF HARDCORE - MINNESOTA PREMIERE
Director: Ian McFarland Country: USA, Running Time: 96 min
What would your life look like now if you'd been in one of the most influential hardcore bands of the 1980s? What would it look like if you were still in that band? Documentarian Ian McFarland, previously of hardcore punk group Blood for Blood, follows guitarist Vinnie Stigma and vocalist Roger Miret of legendary New York hardcore band Agnostic Front from their beginnings in the early 1980s through to the present day. Unlike the dozens of bands that have come and gone, leaving their indelible footprint along the way, Agnostic Front are still going strong, 11 studio albums into their 30-plus year career.
ICEPICK TO THE MOON - MINNESOTA PREMIERE
Director: Skizz Cyzyk Country: USA, Running Time: 99 min
Obscure, strip mine crooner, Rev. Fred Lane, is described by his obsessed fans as “subversive,” “completely satirical,” “the Dada Duke Ellington,” and “Demon Frank Sinatra.” His fans have spent years examining every detail of Fred Lane’s albums, and yet whatever information they have found out about their hero has led them deeper to blissful confusion. ICEPICK TO THE MOON not only examines the cult of Fred Lane fans, but also pulls the curtain back on the artist who is Fred Lane, from his early involvement in the Raudelunas arts collective of Alabama in the Seventies, to his current occupation making whirligigs to sell on the craft show circuit.
INDUSTRIAL ACCIDENT: THE STORY OF WAX TRAX! RECORDS - MINNESOTA PREMIERE
Director: Julia Nash Countries: USA/Belgium/Canada/Germany, Running Time: 95 min
INDUSTRIAL ACCIDENT: THE STORY OF WAX TRAX! RECORDS tells the story behind the independent record store and label. Tracing the bizarre journey of two music- obsessed men from the bible belt to Chicago, this film travels through the underground culture of music and art as these two men expose emerging music and artists to fans from around the world for the first time.
LORDS OF CHAOS - MINNESOTA PREMIERE
Director: Jonas Akerlund Countries: UK/Sweden, Running Time: 112 min
Film focuses on the band Mayhem and the beginning of Black Metal at large. Known for controversial live performances with their lead singer cutting himself onstage, they were implicated in church burnings throughout Norway, along with a pattern of violence by their band members that culminated in a dark coup de grace. Øystein Aarseth, better known as Euronymous (Rory Culkin), forms Mayhem in Oslo in 1984 alongside bandmates Necrobutcher (Jonathan Barnwell) and Metalion (Sam Coleman) to push his own brand of music, Black Metal. Focusing on the faster, darker side of the musical spectrum and a counter to all the “life metal” bands (as he dubbed them), he unknowingly sets himself down an ominous path.
MAPPLETHORPE - MINNESOTA PREMIERE
Director: Ondi Timoner Country: USA, Running Time: 94 min
MAPPLETHORPE takes a chronological look at the influences and practices that captured male homoerotic desire so poignantly in the face of the devastating toll of the AIDS crisis and does not shy away from the photographer’s less-than-seemly side particularly his fetishization of black bodies, as is bluntly depicted via his affair with model Milton Moore, the subject of Mapplethorpe’s infamous Man in Polyester Suit. The film also explores the complicated relationship between Mapplethorpe and his lesser-known younger brother, the photographer Edward Mapplethorpe (also known as Edward Maxey). The first-ever biopic of the artist, MAPPLETHORPE stars a revelatory Matt Smith (Doctor Who, The Crown) in the title role, which dramatizes the artist’s meteoric journey, from the beginning of his friendship with punk poet laureate Patti Smith to his success as a provocateur and then to his ultimate struggle with AIDS.
MILFORD GRAVES FULL MANTIS - MINNESOTA PREMIERE
Directors: Jake Meginsky, Neil Young Country: USA, Running Time: 91 min
MILFORD GRAVES FULL MANTIS is the first ever feature-length portrait of renowned percussionist Milford Graves, exploring his kaleidoscopic creativity and relentless curiosity. Graves has performed internationally since 1964, both as a soloist and in ensembles with such legends as Albert Ayler, Giuseppi Logan and Sonny Sharrock. He is a founding pioneer of avant-garde jazz, and he remains one of the most influential living figures in the evolution of the form. The film draws the viewer through the artist’s lush garden and ornate home, into the martial arts dojo in his backyard and the laboratory in his basement - all of this just blocks from where he grew up in the housing projects of South Jamaica, Queens.
MR. SOUL! - MINNESOTA PREMIERE
Directors: Melissa Haizlip, Samuel D. Pollard Country: USA, Running Time: 115 min
Before Oprah, before Arsenio, there was Mr. SOUL. On the heels of the Civil Rights Movement, one fearless black pioneer reconceived a Harlem Renaissance for a new era, ushering giants and rising stars of black American culture onto the national television stage. He was hip. He was smart. He was innovative, political, and gay. In his personal fight for social equality, the man ensured the Revolution would be televised. He was Ellis Haizlip. The Revolution was SOUL.
SAINTS REST MINNESOTA - PREMIERE
Director: Noga Ashkenazi Countries: Israel/USA, Running Time: 85 min
A drama set in small-town Iowa, SAINTS REST tells the story of two estranged sisters, who over the course of one summer, form a connection through their shared love of music as they grieve the recent death of their mother.
THE WEDDING SONG - MINNESOTA PREMIERE
Directors: Rex New, Thia Schuessler Country: USA, Running Time: 13 min
When bride-to-be Mae hits a wall writing a song for her future husband, she solicits the guidance of her musician friend Johnnie, who helps her find the inspiration she was lacking.
SHAKE SISTER SHAKE - MINNESOTA PREMIERE
Director: Lisa Eismen Countries: Australia/USA, Running Time: 82 min
SHAKE SISTER SHAKE is a groundbreaking film that reveals the truth surrounding the world’s love for blues and how few women are in this genre, dominated by men. The ladies reveal themselves through interviews and live performances featuring BB Queen, Lala Craig, Peaches Staten, Danielle Nicole, MZ Peaches, Pat Wilder, Laura Chaves and more. As we look into the windows of their souls, we see the struggle they endure in order to do what they love doing. We see the sisterhood that sets them apart from one another yet bonds them together.
SILVANA - MINNESOTA PREMIERE
Director: Mika Gustafson, Olivia Kasterbring, Christina Tsiobanelis Country: Sweden, Running Time: 91 min
Swedish rapper Silvana Imam quickly rose to fame with her blunt, uncompromising rhymes. In the span of just a year, she became a superstar. The world of hip-hop has long been male-dominated, which means she has to work even harder. Not only is she female, but also a lesbian feminist. Her politically charged anthems about destroying the patriarchy brought a whole new audience to rap. Huge crowds of young women came with fists in the air to sing along to her lyrics. The media began labeling her a hero for women and the LGBTQ+ community. The praise was nice, but the pressure of being a role model was hard to handle. She was also tired of journalists focusing only on her gender and sexuality, rather than on her musical talents. Everything started to take a toll on her mental health. But the story doesn’t end there.
SONIC YOUTH: 30 YEARS OF DAYDREAM NATION - MIDWEST PREMIERE
Directors: Lance Bangs, George Atlas Countries: Scotland/The Netherlands/USA, Running Time: 100 min
Program is comprised of three Sonic Youth/”Daydream Nation”-related films. Two are rarely-screened archival pieces from 1989 (PUT MORE BLOOD INTO THE MUSIC and On Rust, in brand new restorations. Lance Bangs will also present excerpts from his new concert film of the band performing the album in its entirety in Glasgow in 2007. A few unseen gems from the band’s archives will round out the bill.
TAKING OFF (1971)
Director: Milos Forman Country: USA, Running Time: 93 min
When Larry and Lynn Tyne realize their teenage daughter Jeannie has not come home, they assume she’s come into bad company deep in the mean streets of New York City. In actuality, Jeannie is immersed in a crowded audition for the new hot folk star (a great opportunity for Forman to line up an odd assortment of performers, plus Carly Simon, Kathy Bates, Ike & Tina Turner, etc.). The two worlds are smartly cut together, and we soon find the parents at the behest of one Vincent Schiavelli, learning to smoke marijuana along with other upper-middle class couples desperate to get inside the minds of their estranged children. Many antics ensue, and once Jeannie does casually show up at home, it becomes clear who in the family really needs help.
TEDDY PENDERGRASS: IF YOU DON’T KNOW ME - MIDWEST PREMIERE
Director: Olivia Lichtenstein Country: UK, Running Time: 106 min
Teddy Pendergrass rose to fame after landing a gig with Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes. Initially the group’s drummer, Teddy’s striking baritone voice, and undeniable presence quickly moved him to the group’s front man, responsible for such unforgettable hits like “Don’t Leave Me This Way,” “If You Don’t Know Me By Now,” “Love T.K.O,” and “Close the Door.” Striking out on his own, Teddy was an instant success, becoming one of the most in-demand performers in the world as well as the first male African American artist to record five consecutive platinum albums in the US. Poised to become the biggest R&B artist of all time, Teddy’s career was threatened when he suffered a tragic accident, leaving him paralyzed from the chest down and changing his life forever. Featuring interviews with Teddy’s family and friends, as well as industry legends including Stevie Wonder, Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, and rarely seen archival footage, the film is not only a tribute to the career and life of Teddy Pendergrass, but an affirmation of the power of perseverance, courage, and triumph over adversity.
TOMORROW NEVER KNOWS - MINNESOTA PREMIERE
Director: Adam Sekuler Country: USA, Running Time: 93 min
Music is beautifully woven into the fabric of this sensitively rendered documentary looking at the life and death of Shar Jones, a transgender person living with early onset Alzheimer’s Disease, and the difficult choice he and his wife Cynthia Vitale faced as the couple struggled to figure out how to proceed amidst his chaotic decline. Instead of letting his memory slip away and burdening Cynthia with years of care, the film highlights the couple’s journey as Shar pursues a conscious death. With an intimate visual style, Shar’s tale of gender identity gives his choice in death an especially telling element. Implicitly the right-to-die movement comes front and center, expanding on notions of authorship over our own lives.
UP TO SNUFF - MINNESOTA PREMIERE
Director: Mark Maxey Country: USA, Running Time: 80 min
Millions of people have been touched by his music, yet few know the journey, hardships and triumphs of American musician and composer W.G. Snuffy Walden. Friends and collaborators share personal stories, laughs and insights about this generous soul who overcame the excesses of rock and roll success to become one of the most beloved composers in television history. Infused with Snuffy’s music throughout, UP TO SNUFF includes scenes from The West Wing, Wonder Years, Sports Night and thirtysomething, and features Aaron Sorkin, Martin Sheen, Tom Arnold, Timothy Busfield, Fred Savage, Marshall Herskovitz, Steve Lukather, Eric Burdon, Snuffy Walden.
WAITING: THE VAN DUREN STORY - MIDWEST PREMIERE
Directors: Greg Carey, Wade Jackson Country: Australia, Running Time: 80 min
In the 1970’s, out of the Memphis-Big Star scene came Van Duren, who was tipped to be the next Paul McCartney but instead faded into obscurity. Forty years later, two Australian friends come across his record and set out to discover what went wrong.
WHAT IT TAKES: FILM EN DOUZE TABLEAUX - MINNESOTA PREMIERE
Director: Gorman Bechard Country: USA, Running Time: 78 min
An intimate glimpse at songwriting and the balancing of life versus passion as Sarah Shook and her band of seasoned virtuosos, The Disarmers, head into the studio to record their new album and prove they have what it takes to shake up country music.
SOUND UNSEEN SHORTS PROGRAM TRT: 89 min
AERSA - MIDWEST PREMIERE
Director: Aaron Alden Countries: Italy/United States, Running Time: 10 min
FEED THE WOLF
Director: Jason Ewert Country: USA, Running Time: 4 min
GAELYNN LEA - THE SONGS WE SING
Director: Mark Brown Country: USA, Running Time: 11 min
I AM NO BIRD
Director: Andrew Cagle Country: USA, Running Time: 20 min
I SEE THROUGH YOU - MIDWEST PREMIERE
Director: Lael Rogers Country: USA, Running Time: 5 min
JONES - ST. JAMES INFIRMARY - WORLD PREMIERE
Directors: Nick Rush, Martinez EB Country: USA, Running Time: 5 min
JAWJAW - SURVIVE THIS - MINNESOTA PREMIERE
Directors: Ian Roderick Gray Country: United Kingdom, Running Time: 6 min
THE TAMBO RAYS - WRONG TURN - MINNESOTA PREMIERE
Director: Derrek Horn Country: United States, Running Time: 6 min
HANNAH von der HOFF - TIME MACHINE - WORLD PREMIERE
Directors: Hannah von der Hoff, Paul Moehring Countries: Mexico/USA, Running Time: 5 min
UNHAPPY HOLIDAY - MINNESOTA PREMIERE
Director: Anna Haas Country: USA, Running Time: 5 min
THE VELVET UNDERGROUND PLAYED AT MY HIGH SCHOOL - MINNESOTA PREMIERE
Directors: Tony Jannelli, Robert Pietri Country: USA, Running Time: 8 min