SMART STUDIOS STORY

USA | Wendy Schneider | 90 minutes | Wed 4/27 @9pm | Scruffy City Hall

The post-70’s explosion of independent music in America has many traceable roots, each with a compelling story. One of its most significant has never been told until now. Drawing on never-before-seen archival footage, in-depth-interviews with musicians and producers, and a mighty soundtrack, THE SMART STUDIOS STORY reveals the pivotal Midwest link to the global rise of 1990’s Alternative Rock and the unassuming Madison, Wisconsin recording studio at its center. If you’ve ever been touched by the music of Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Garbage, L7 or their peers, you’ve been touched by the music created at Smart Studios, the legendary recording facility founded by Butch Vig and Steve Marker.

After the film there will be a short Q&A with director Wendy Schneider and a Skype call with Butch Vig and Steve Marker .

IN PURSUIT OF SILENCE

USA | Patrick Shen | 81 minutes | Thr 4/28 @7pm | Regal Cinemas Downtown West

In our race towards modernity, amidst all the technological innovation and the rapid growth of our cities, silence is now quickly passing into legend. Beginning with an ode to John Cage’s seminal silent composition 4’33”, the sights and sounds of this film delicately interweave with silence to create a contemplative and cinematic experience that works its way through frantic minds and into the quiet spaces of hearts. As much a work of devotion as it is a documentary, IN PURSUIT OF SILENCE is a meditative exploration of our relationship with silence, with sound, and the impact of noise on our lives.

Review from Huffington Post

PRESENTING PRINCESS SHAW

Israel |Ido Haar | 80 minutes |Thr 4/28 @9pm | Regal Cinemas Downtown West

The true story of the incredible Princess Shaw and the enigmatic composer Kutiman, who discovers her from the other side of the world.

By day, Samantha Montgomery cares for the elderly in one of New Orleans’s toughest neighborhoods. By night, she writes and sings her own songs as Princess Shaw on her confessional YouTube channel. Raw and vulnerable, her voice is a diamond in the rough.

Across the globe, Ophir Kutiel creates video mash ups of amateur Youtube performers. Known as Kutiman, he is a composer, a musician, and a pioneering video artist embraced by the world of fine art. Kutiman “transforms sampling into a multimedia art”, whether at his home on a kibbutz in Israel or at a live performance at the Guggenheim in New York.

Two strangers, almost 7,000 miles apart, begin to build a song. The film unfolds as Kutiman pairs Princess Shaw’s emotional performances in a beautiful expression of generosity and compassion, revealing the bonafide star underneath and her fight to never give up on her dreams.

THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS

UK | James Hall & Edward Lovelace | 83 minutes |Fri 4/29 @7pm | Regal Cinemas Downtown West

The celebrated lyricist, Edwyn Collins could only say two phrases after waking up: ‘Grace Maxwell’ and ‘The Possibilities Are Endless’. This is the incredible story of Collins, a songwriter who had the contents of his mind effectively deleted after experiencing a stroke. Placed inside Edwyn’s mind, we embark on a remarkable journey from the brink of death back to language, music, life and love. With the help of his wife Grace, Edwyn submerges himself in a landscape of memories, as he tries to unlock the story of his past. More than a story of determination against all odds; it is an intimate and life-affirming tale of rediscovery.

BORN TO BE BLUE

USA | Robert Budreau | 97 minutes | Fri 4/29 @9pm | Regal Cinemas Downtown West

Ethan Hawke lights up the screen as jazz legend Chet Baker, whose tumultuous life is thrillingly reimagined with wit, verve, and style to burn. In the 1950s, Baker was one of the most famous trumpeters in the world, renowned as both a pioneer of the West Coast jazz scene and an icon of cool. By the 1960s, he was all but washed up, his career and personal life in shambles due to years of heroin addiction. 

In his innovative anti-biopic, director Robert Budreau zeroes in on Baker’s life at a key moment in the 1960s, just as the musician attempts to stage a hard-fought comeback, spurred in part by a passionate romance with a new flame (Carmen Ejogo). Creatively blending fact with fiction and driven by Hawke’s virtuoso performance, Born to Be Blue unfolds with all the stylistic brio and improvisatory genius of great jazz.

WEST OF HER

USA | Ethan Warren | 87 minutes| Sat 4/30 @7pm

WORLD PREMIERE

Alone and adrift in life, Dan signs on with a mysterious organization, agreeing to roam the country with an enigmatic stranger named Jane, working by night, laying small linoleum tiles in the streets of towns across America, each bearing the same cryptic message.

Dan feels like a jigsaw piece from the wrong puzzle, that the tiles represent something bigger, and that their mysterious employers know vital secrets, while Jane sees their task as a whimsical lark. Though Dan is an open book, Jane refuses to reveal anything about her life, or what she might know of their employers, who communicate only with her.

As they travel, growing closer even as they butt heads, Dan’s sincerity softens Jane’s cynical exterior. Their contentious relationship grows and deepens, changing both of their beliefs about what they’re doing, until they’re forced to choose between their work and the possibility of a future together.

Filmed across ten states in iconic American locations from the sweeping midwest plains to the majestic Rocky Mountains, the stark southwest desert to the busy streets of Memphis, West of Her is a film for anyone who’s ever longed for adventure, romance, and a life of meaning.

A SONG FOR YOU: AUSTIN CITY LIMITS STORY

USA | Keith Maitland | 97 minutes | Sun 5/1 @7pm | Scruffy City Hall

From Willie Nelson to Wilco, Ray Charles to Radiohead, A SONG FOR YOU: THE AUSTIN CITY LIMITS STORY offers the ultimate backstage pass to 40 years of incredible live music – see how long-time producers and loyal fans have made ACL the longest running music show in television history.