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Sundance: Films about music

Published January 13, 2012 11:40 am

Sundance • Documentaries about Paul Simon and rap among highlights of this year's music films.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The 2012 Sundance Film Festival will screen many films that consider the transformative power of music. Like film, music can build tension, introduce thematic threads, and, above all, tell stories through notes and words. While most, if not all, films feature a score, we have highlighted just some of the films that feature music as Best Supporting Actors, with descriptions provided by the Sundance Film Festival.

"Shut Up and Play the Hits" (Park City at Midnight) • Directors Dylan Southern and Will Lovelace follow James Murphy, frontman of the band LCD Soundsystem, for 48 hours — including the band's final gig in Madison Square Garden.

"I Am Not a Hipster"(Next) • Love, loss and creativity in the indie music and art scene. Writer-director Destin Daniel Cretton's short "Short Term 12" won the top prize at the 2008 festival.

"whiteonwhite:algorithmic-noir" (New Frontier) • This "generative noir mystery film" is assembled live as a computer program assembles raw elements of music, dialogue, sound and footage shot in Kazakhstan. Directed by Eve Sussman and her team, Rufus Corporation; written by Sussman, Kevin Messman and Jeff Wood.

"Filly Brown" (U.S. Dramatic competition) • A hip-hop influenced drama about a Mexican girl who rises to fame and consciousness as she copes — through music — with the incarceration of her mother. Cast includes Lou Diamond Phillips and Edward James Olmos; screenwriter/director: Youssef Delara; co-director: Michael D. Olmos.

"For Ellen" (U.S. Dramatic competition) • A struggling musician takes an overnight long-distance drive in order to fight his estranged wife for custody of their young daughter. Cast includes Paul Dano, Jon Heder and Jena Malone.

"Smashed" (U.S. Dramatic competition ) • The story of a young couple whose bond is built on a mutual love of music, laughter and drinking. When Kate chooses sobriety, her new lifestyle brings troubling issues to the surface. Cast includes: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Octavia Spencer and Megan Mullally.

"The Last Elvis" (World Cinema dramatic competition) • A Buenos Aires Elvis impersonator struggles to shake free from reality and live his musical dream.

"Violeta Went to Heaven (World Cinema Dramatic competition) • A portrait of famed Chilean singer and folklorist Violeta Parra.

"Gypsy Davy" (World Cinema documentary competition) • The question of how a white boy with Alabama roots become a Flamenco guitarist in Andalusian boots, becomes a story of self-invention.

"Searching for Sugar Man" (World Cinema documentary competition) • Rodriguez, the greatest '70s American rock icon who never was, has disappeared into oblivion, until he rose again in a different context, miles away.

"Under African Skies" (Documentary premieres) • Paul Simon returns to South Africa to consider the legacy of his historic Graceland album, including the political backlash.

"Something From Nothing: The Art Of Rap" (Documentary premieres) • Ice-T considers the creative process and the roots of rap through conversations with Chuck D, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Eminem, MC Lyte, Mos Def, and Kanye West.








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