When the 2008 schedule was announced, I was very psyched to see that the IFFB has continued and expanded upon their inclusion of films for music-lovers. Here's a quick run down of what's in store for us this week...
Foremost on my mind is Grant Gee's Joy Division documentary, which screens at the Somerville Theatre on Thursday at 9:15 and midnight Friday at the Coolidge Corner Theatre. It should be the perfect companion piece to last year's "Control", the dramatization of the life and death of lead singer Ian Curtis. This was the only film I specifically wished would be showing at this year's IFFB, and my wishes were granted. Hit up the official UK site and view the trailer to prepare. Get your tickets here.
Another welcome artist documentary is Public Enemy: Welcome To The Terrordome, focusing on the only rap act that I've ever obsessed over. For me, P.E. was the be-all-end-all of politically-charged, socially-conscious hip-hop... no one did it better, and no one's done it better since. There's never been two frontmen who more perfectly complimented each other than Chuck D and Flavor Flav, and their wordplay, rhymes, and backing tracks were truly inventive. Featuring appearances by the Beastie Boys, Talib Kweli, Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello, Henry Rollins, and Korn's Jonathan Davis, the doc was directed by Roxbury's own Robert Patton-Spruill, and he'll be at the one and only screening: 11 o'clock on Saturday night, April 26th at the Somerville Theatre. Here's the official site, trailer, and ticket link.
There are a couple different documentaries about relatively new genres of music, and one of them is "Nerdcore Rising". For those of you who like a dash of nerdery in your hip-hop, this film introduces you (or more familiarizes you with) MC Frontalot, aka Damian Hess, the so-called Godfather of a genre that the documentary even debates the existence of. Fans and bystanders offer up their input, including hip-hop artist/producer Prince Paul, Jello Biafra, comedian Brian Posehn, J. Live, Tycho & Gabe of Penny Arcade, and Weird Al. The film screens twice: A midnight showing on Friday, April 25th at the Somerville (tix), and again at 5pm on Sunday at the Brattle (tix). Here's the official site and trailer. Added bonus: MC Frontalot, in addition to appearing at the screening with director Negin Farsad, will be performing at Sunday night's IFFB Awards party along with Price Paul.
Another documentary in which music obviously plays a huge role is "Life. Support. Music.", which tells the inspiring story of NYC (and now Cambridge-based) guitarist Jason Crigler, who suffered an on-stage brain hemorrhage in 2004. Norah Jones and Marshall Crenshaw play a part in his recovery, and director Eric Daniel Metzgar will be on hand at the screenings: Sunday, Apr 27th at 4:45 PM at the Coolidge (tix) and on Monday night at 5pm at the Somerville (tix). Have a look at the official site and the trailer.
Another tale of recovery is told through the tragic love story of "Song Sung Blue", a documentary about Milwaukee-based tribute band "Lightning & Thunder", a husband and wife team who sing the songs of Neil Diamond and Patsy Cline. The film won both the Slamdance 2008 Film Festival's Audience Award and Grand Jury Award, and somehow weaves in an appearance by Eddie Vedder. Have a look at the trailer and official site, and grab tickets to either the Saturday 9:45 PM screening here, or the Sunday 7:15pm screening here. Both take place at the Somerville Theatre.
Moving on to films that aren't necessarily about music, but instead feature the sounds of some damn good musicians: Harmony Korine's latest directorial effort is "Mister Lonely", and the film's soundtrack (released this week on Drag City Records) is composed by none other than Jason Pierce, aka J. Spaceman of Spiritualized and Spacemen 3, alongside instrumentals from Sun City Girls. The fictional film itself is about a misfit troop of celebrity impersonators (including Diego Luna as Michael Jackson and the wonderful Samantha Morton as Marilyn Monroe), and director Korine (who wrote "Kids", and helmed "Gummo") will be present for the Thursday night, April 24th screening at the Somerville Theatre (tix).
The Tracey Fragments is the latest film from Juno star Ellen Page (although it was filmed first), and was soundtracked by her fellow Canadians Broken Social Scene. Five of the collective's songs turn up on the soundtrack, which comes out next week, including a cover of Patti Smith's "Horses", which you can preview on this MySpace page. Another personal fave makes an aural appearance in the film: Rose Melberg (Softies/Tiger Trap) doing her solo song "Each New Day". Have a look at the film's official site, trailer, and for more details on the soundtrack, hit up The Playlist.
The whole 2008 Independent Film Festival of Boston she-bang kicks off tomorrow night with a screening of Brad Anderson's "Transsiberrian", and along with the finely-named directory, Sir Ben Kingsley will be, as they say, in the house. Tickets will be gone by showtime, so head here to grab one of your own. And keep an eye on the IFFB 2008 Blog for updated info and film spotlights as tomorrow gets closer and the week rolls on.