The compelling documentary 20 Feet From Stardom, from director Morgan Neville, shines a spotlight on the untold story of the back-up singers behind some of the greatest musical legends of the 21st century. Equal parts inspiring and heartbreaking, the film showcases the voices that shaped popular music, but rarely ever got credit for it. These gifted artists span a range of styles, genres and eras, each with their own unique and fascinating personal story of life spent in the shadows of superstardom.
At the film’s press day, filmmaker Morgan Neville spoke to Collider for this exclusive interview about how he got involved with this project, how researching back-up singers has made him listen to music differently now, the structure that he wanted to follow with the documentary, doing 10 months of editing, how the process compared to when he produced Pearl Jam Twenty, deciding which back-up singers to include, and the possibility of him branching out to do a narrative feature, in the future. Check out what he had to say after the jump.
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Seattle rockers Pearl Jam, Academy Award-winning filmmaker and music journalist Cameron Crowe has created a portrait of the seminal band that not only showcases his love for them, but also why so many fans from all over the world have found meaning in their music. Part concert film and part testimonial, the nearly 3,000 hours of footage that was combed through for Pearl Jam Twenty, clearly could have only been compiled by someone from their inner circle, which also makes the band interviews that much more personal. The film illustrates the freedom that allowed Pearl Jam a way to make music without losing sight of what mattered most to them — their fans and the music fans that they themselves had always been.
While at the PBS portion of the TCAs, Cameron Crowe talked about his personal friendship with Pearl Jam and what it took to compile their experiences into this film. Here are the most interesting points of the interview:
- Cameron Crowe’s first music documentary was on Tom Petty, and it was filled with so much illegal footage that it only aired once and had to be pulled.
- It took three years to go through close to 3,000 hours of footage, in putting this film together, and Crowe hopes that people see that there was no rule book for what Pearl Jam has done, and that they never stopped caring about the music or their fans.
- In making the film, Crowe had to balance being close enough to the band to get interviews that nobody else would get, while still being tough enough to give people the experience of the band.
- Crowe is currently editing his next film, We Bought a Zoo, starring Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson and Elle Fanning. Says Jónsi from Sigur Rós is doing the score.
- Say Anything is the only thing he’s written that he would ever consider doing a sequel for. Says,”It’s the only thing that I’ve written that I would consider doing that with. I’ve thought about it, from time to time, and talked about it with John Cusack once. I think there might be another chapter to that, at some point.”
Hit the jump for more:
The trailer for Cameron Crowe’s comprehensive documentary Pearl Jam Twenty has been released, along with some images and a poster. The film, made up of rare and unseen footage as well as new interviews with the band members, chronicles the formation and career of Pearl Jam’s twenty-year history. The trailer inexplicably opens with David Lynch interviewing frontman Eddie Vedder, then delves into a montage of behind-the-scenes and concert footage intercut with narration from the band members.
The film is set to premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival this September, followed by a limited release into select theaters on September 23rd and a U.S. television premiere on October 21st on PBS’ American Masters series. For superfans of the band, this trailer is sure to be goosebump-inducing. Hell, even for non-fans the prospect of Crowe documenting the life of one of the most successful American rock bands of all time is enticement enough. Hit the jump to check out the trailer, poster and images.
In my article yesterday about the Venice Film Festival, I made some predictions on which films would make their world premiere at this year’s Toronto Film Festival and not Venice. It turns out a few of my guesses were only the tip of the iceberg. Moneyball, 50/50, and The Descendants are all going to premiere at TIFF. But my lord, does Toronto have an incredible line-up this year. I’m praying my application gets approved because when you hit the jump and check out this line-up, you’ll understand my agony if I’m stuck in Atlanta while these films are premiering.
Hit the jump for the line-up of Galas and Premieres for this year’s festival. The 2011 Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 8th – 18th.
It’s been in the works for awhile, but now director Cameron Crowe (Almost Famous) will finally be releasing his documentary Pearl Jam Twenty, a portrait of the band from the filmmaker’s own perspective. Crafted from more than 1,200 hours of rare and never-before-seen footage, recent interviews with the band and live concert performances, the documentary offers an intimate glimpse in Pearl Jam’s journey from their formation to their launch into fame and topping the charts and their lives and work today. The film will have a limited theatrical release in September and hopefully a wider release shortly thereafter. But for those who won’t be able to catch it in theaters, it will air on PBS on Friday, October 21st at 9/8c as part of their American Masters series.
Crowe says, “When I set out to make this film, my mission was to assemble the best-of-the best from Pearl Jam’s past and present and give audiences a visceral feeling of what it is to love music and to feel it deeply—to be inside the journey of a band that has carved their own path. There is only one band of their generation for which a film like this could even be made, and I’m honored to be the one given the opportunity to make it.” As a big fan of Crowe and knowing his love for music and rock journalism (Almost Famous is based on Crowe’s real life), I just know this documetnary is going to be something special, and I can’t wait to check it out. See the first image of the film after the jump along with the full press release with more information.
After having not released a new film in six years, Cameron Crowe is having a very busy year. If all goes according to plan, the writer/director will release not one, but three new movies this year. He’s been working simultaneously on his adaptation of We Bought a Zoo starring Matt Damon (filming just wrapped), the Elton John/Leon Russell documentary The Union (which just premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival), and the Pearl Jam documentary Pearl Jam Twenty (set for release this fall).
The director recently discussed working on the three projects and the differences and similarities between his two music documentaries. Hit the jump to see what he had to say.