Bradley's Almanac

[It’s Here!] 2013 Independent Film Festival Boston: The Music Docs

Posted on April 24, 2013 at 9:58 am | 2 Comments

It has arrived: The opening night of the 11th annual Independent Film Festival Boston is this evening at the Somerville Theatre. Spending some quality time in a darkened theater, escaping into some well-made stories… well, that’s exactly what many of us could use right about now. The staff of IFFBoston has always taken meticulous care in selecting their lineup, so even if you ignored all the recommendations and film synopses and just picked a few random screenings, odds are you’d find something new to love.

As usual, there’s a strong showing for music-related documentaries among the nearly 100 films being shown during the 7 days and nights of this year’s fest. Here’s a quick rundown, along with a bunch of my personal non-music picks at the bottom…

directed by Alex Winter (in attendance)

AKA “The Napster Documentary”. An in-depth look at the creation of the true killer app – the one that started the total transformation of the music business – coded right here in Boston by Shawn Fanning in the dorms at Northeastern University. Interview subjects in the film include Henry Rollins, Billy Corgan, Mike D from the Beastie Boys, and Noel Gallagher. Director Alex Winter (yes, that Alex Winter – Bill from Bill & Ted) will be at the screening for a Q&A.

Screening at the Somerville Theatre on Friday, April 26th at 7:00 PM
Tickets / Facebook / FB Event page / IMDB / Trailer:


Muscle Shoals
directed by Greg Camalier

Muscle Shoals, Alabama is home to the legendary FAME Studios, where Rich Hall helped make the truly iconic recordings that came to define the “Muscle Shoals Sound”. The roster of those who recorded there is stacked: Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, and Etta James just to name. Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Percy Sledge, Gregg Allman, Bono, and Alicia Keys are among the interview subjects.

Screening at the Brattle Theatre on Sunday, April 28th at 6:00 PM
Tickets / Facebook / IMDB / Trailer:


The Punk Singer
directed by Sini Anderson

Kathleen Hanna. If you’re a fan, you’ve already clicked the link to buy tickets below. This is her story, from her days fronting Bikini Kill, helping define a grrl-powered movement, shifting gears into electro with Le Tigre and Julie Ruin, all the while remaining outspoken, always interesting, and always herself. Includes interviews with Carrie Brownstein, (husband) Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz, Kim Gordon, Joan Jett, Corin Tucker, and bandmate J.D. Samson.

Screening at the Somerville Theatre on Thursday, April 25th at 9:45 PM
Tickets / Facebook / Kickstarter / IMDB / Trailer:


Taken By Storm: The Art of Storm Thorgerson and Hipgnosis
directed by Roddy Bogawa

This profile of graphic designer Storm Thorgerson and his Hipgnosis studios takes on an added weight in the wake of his death just last week. While his work is mostly closely linked to Pink Floyd (he designed nearly all of their LP covers), his full discography is absolutely insane, and it’s a safe bet you have a Hipgnosis-designed cover in your music collection. Hell, I’m looking at a Catherine Wheel cover he designed sitting next to me right now. Given those credits, it’s no surprise that the list of interviews in the documentary is long and impressive: David Gilmour, Robert Plant, Peter Gabriel, Noel & Fergal from The Cranberries, Rob from Catherine Wheel, Dominic from Muse, and more.

Screening at the Brattle Theatre on Friday, April 26th at 9:30 PM
Tickets / Website / Facebook / IMDB / Trailer:


Twenty Feet From Stardom

Subtitled “The Untold Story of the Voices That Helped Shape Popular Music”, this one’s for the backup singers. The unheralded angels who have, for so many years, lent their voices to a litany of popular names while they themselves linger in relative obscurity. A few make it into the public eye (like subject Darlene Love), but most stay on the sidelines, and many are content to do so – to remain anonymous workhorses while others share the spotlight. This film turns that spotlight around for a moment.

Screening at the Somerville Theatre on Sunday, April 28th at 3:30 PM
Tickets / Website / Facebook / IMDB / Trailer:



A few more movies that jump out at me from this year’s lineup. Click film titles for screening info…

  • The world premiere of Bobcat Goldthwait’s found-footage Bigfoot film “Willow Creek”, with the director himself in attendance. The IFFBoston has a long relationship with Bobcat, and I’m so glad it continues this year. Here’s a short interview with Bobcat about the film…


  • Joss Whedon’s “Much Ado About Nothing”. Joss and all his actor friends hang out and make a modern-day Shakespeare film with the classic dialogue. ‘Nuff said.

  • I’ve been a David Gordon Green fan since 2000’s personal indie “George Washington”, and have watched his forays into mainstream comedy with curiosity (“Pineapple Express”). His latest is “Prince Avalanche” – set in 1988 and starring Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch – promises to combine his comedic urges with his indie sensibility. I’m in.

  • A great cast bodes well for Zal Batmanglij’s thriller “The East”: Brit Marling, Alexander Skarsgard, Ellen Page, and Patricia Clarkson.

  • Ellen Page makes another festival appearance in Lynn Shelton’s “Touchy Feely”, which also stars Alison Janney, Josh Pais, and Rosemarie DeWitt.

  • I’m always up for a new Noah Baumbach film, so I’m hoping to check out “Frances Ha”, starring Greta Gerwig and Girls’ resident weirdo, Adam Driver.

  • I’m got a bit of a fascination with Sarah Polley, both as actress and director, and she does both in “The Stories We Tell”

  • The closing night of the fest at the Coolidge is always a blast, and this year has “In A World…” wrapping things up. Writer, director, and star Lake Bell (“Children’s Hospital”) will be in attendance to discuss the film, which also stars comedians Michaela Watkins, (former Bostonian and fest alum) Rob Corddry, and Demetri Martin.

  • Check out a dozen more recommendations over at Meet In The Lobby, including a couple other ones I’m psyched about: “Rewind This!” and “The Way, Way Back”.

    Passes and individual tickets for the 2013 Independent Film Festival Boston are available here. It starts tonight, April 24th, at the Somerville Theatre, and ends next Tuesday, April 30th at the Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline. In between it spreads to the Brattle Theatre in Harvard Square and new venues at UMass Boston and Theatre 1 at the Revere Hotel in Boston.

    For up-to-date info, follow IFFBoston on Facebook and Twitter. See you in the seats.


    2 Responses to “[It’s Here!] 2013 Independent Film Festival Boston: The Music Docs”

    1. Norm Schrager
      April 24th, 2013 @ 2:18 pm

      Fantastic stuff, Brad, thank you kindly for the shout-out! If you’re planning to be there Saturday night, let me know!

    2. LD
      May 24th, 2013 @ 2:51 pm

      Brad, thanks for compiling this rundown with all the links – some great stuff here.

    Leave a Reply

  • About the ‘Nac

    This is Bradley's Almanac. I'm your host, Brad. Barely holding it together since February 2000.

    "I love this song. It's so true. I wish this song was a whole day long. Man, I would have the best day that day."
    - The Kids In The Hall
  • Almanac Archives

  • Boston-Area Action

    Saturday, December 16th
    Bent Shapes (farewell show),
    Laika's Orbit, & Beware the
    Dangers of a Ghost Scorpion
    @ Great Scott

    Monday, December 18th
    Big Brave
    Child Bite
    @ Great Scott

    Thursday, December 21st
    @ Sonia

    Friday, December 22nd
    Love Love & Friends Xmas Show!
    with special guests Rick Berlin,
    Field Day, Bob Kendall,
    Anna Rae/Hemway, & Martha Marin
    @ the Midway Cafe

    Thursday, December 28th
    Cymbals Eat Guitars
    @ Great Scott

    Saturday & Sunday
    December 30th & 31st
    Deer Tick
    @ the Sinclair

    Sunday, December 31st
    Speedy Ortiz
    Wendy Eisenberg
    @ Great Scott

    Saturday, January 6th
    Fur Purse (LP Release Party!)
    with Whore Paint,
    Shepherdess, and Sister
    @ the Midway Cafe

    Wednesday, January 10th
    Craig Finn & the
    Uptown Controllers
    with John K. Samson
    @ City Winery Boston

    Friday, January 12th
    Passion Pit
    @ House of Blues

    Saturday, January 13th
    40 musicians form 8 new
    bands & perform that night
    @ the Sinclair

    Saturday, January 13th
    Lana Del Rey
    Jhene Aiko
    @ TD Garden

    Saturday, January 13th
    Horse Jumper of Love
    Mini Dresses
    Strange Passage
    @ Great Scott

    Saturday, January 13th
    Camper Van Beethoven
    @ the Middle East Downstairs

    Thursday, January 18th
    Family Planning
    Olivia Neutron-John
    @ Brighton Music Hall

    Sunday, January 21st
    @ the Royale

    Wednesday, January 24th
    Sleigh Bells
    @ the Paradise

    Wednesday, January 24th
    Mega Bog
    @ the Sinclair

    Friday, January 26th
    The Posies
    @ City Winery Boston

    Wednesday, January 31st
    Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
    Night Beats
    @ the Royale

    Saturday, February 3rd
    Steve Earle
    @ City Winery Boston

    Friday, February 9th
    @ the Paradise

    Saturday, February 10th
    Weakened Friends
    @ Great Scott

    Saturday & Sunday
    February 10th & 11th
    Ian Hunter
    & the Rant Band
    @ City Winery Boston

    Friday, February 16th
    Steve Earle
    @ City Winery Boston

    Friday, February 16th
    Robert Plant
    @ the Orpheum

    Saturday, February 17th
    @ Brighton Music Hall

    Saturday, February 17th
    Noel Gallagher’s
    High Flying Birds
    @ the Boston Opera House

    Sunday, February 18th
    X Ambassadors
    Now, Now
    @ House of Blues

    Wednesday, February 21st
    Frightened Rabbit
    @ the Sinclair

    Thursday, March 1st
    French Vanilla
    @ Great Scott

    Tuesday, March 6th
    Jessica Lea Mayfield
    @ Great Scott

    Thursday, March 8th
    Godspeed You! Black Emperor
    @ the Sinclair

    Thursday, March 8th
    @ the Royale

    Friday, March 9th
    Godspeed You! Black Emperor
    @ Sanders Theatre, Harvard

    Friday, March 9th
    @ the House of Blues

    Saturday, March 10th
    Nada Surf celebrating the 15th
    anniversary of their "Let Go" LP
    @ Brighton Music Hall

    Friday, March 23rd
    Glen Hansard
    @ House of Blues Boston

    Saturday, March 31st
    S. Carey
    @ Great Scott

    Tuesday, April 3rd
    Yo La Tengo
    @ the Paradise

    Saturday, April 7th
    @ the Sinclair

    Tuesday, April 10th
    Franz Ferdinand
    @ House of Blues Boston

    Tuesday, April 17th
    Chelsea Wolfe
    @ the Royale

    Friday, April 20th
    Buffalo Tom
    @ the Paradise

    Sunday, April 22nd
    The Darkness
    @ the Royale

    Friday, April 27th
    They Might Be Giants
    @ the House of Blues

    Saturday, April 28th
    Peter Hook & the Light
    performing both of the
    "Substance" collections by
    Joy Division & New Order
    @ the Paradise

    Saturday & Sunday
    April 28th & 29th
    Camp Cope
    @ the Sinclair

    Friday, May 18th
    The Fratellis
    @ the Paradise

    Saturday, June 2nd
    Japanese Breakfast
    @ the Sinclair

    Wednesday, June 11th
    Jimmy Eat World
    Alex Lahey
    @ House of Blues

    Tuesday, July 17th
    @ Xfinity Center

    July 21st & 22nd
    Foo Fighters
    @ Fenway Park

    Friday, August 10th
    Pedro the Lion
    @ Brighton Music Hall