Downtown Film Festival To Feature Lots of Music

(PR) Downtown Film Festival–Los Angeles and The GRAMMY Museum at L.A. LIVE announce the first-ever music film festival at the Museum, running seven consecutive nights during the film festival, Saturday, Aug. 15 through Friday, August 21.

Each night will present a different film in the Museum’s 200-seat Sound Stage auditorium, located near the corner of Figueroa and Olympic in downtown’s South Park district. Many of the film programs will include artist and filmmaker Q&As, live musical performances and after-screening parties. Ticket prices are $15 for single programs and $100 for the series.

“This film series perfectly reflects The GRAMMY Museum’s mission to celebrate the enduring legacies of all forms of music. From classic rock to rap, Latin jazz to new wave, the series has a film for virtually every musical taste,” said Museum Executive Director Bob Santelli.

“Music fans will love seeing their favorite artists in The GRAMMY Museum’s Sound Stage. It’s very intimate, more like being in someone’s living room but with state-of-the-art sound and great sight lines,” said Greg Ptacek, the film festival’s director.

The series begins with Oscar-winning filmmaker Barbara Kopple’s no-holds-barred look at the phenomenon of Woodstock in its various incarnations from the 1969 rock concert to its subsequent iterations. The film screening coincides with the 40th anniversary of the original concert and the Museum’s own Woodstock public programming.

Subsequent programs include an evening with Devo’s Jerry Casale (bass/keyboardist) and Devo-tee avant-garde filmmaker and music video pioneer Bruce Conner as they present Devonia 1976, 1978, 2009; and, the Los Angeles premieres of two critically-acclaimed documentary features, In Search of Beethoven and Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison.
Also screening are the Los Angeles premiere of Still Bill, documenting the celebrated singer-songwriter Bill Withers; Poncho At Montreux, showcasing the Latin jazz master, who will perform live following the screening, and the world premiere of Dirty: One Word Can Change The World, about one of the founding members of the influential rap group Wu-Tang Clan with members of Brooklyn Zu performing live afterward.

Additional live performances and celebrity artist appearances as well as after-screening parties will be announced up until the start of the series; check the festival website (www.dffla.com) for details. The complete program series follows:

Saturday, August 15, 7:30 pm
2000 USA 103 minutes
The definitive documentary of Woodstock '69,'94 and '99 concerts, including behind-the-scenes logistics and promotions planning, and the concert's effect on the residents of the host town of Saugerties, New York. A picture emerges of two generations acting in remarkably different ways, but expressing the same longing for togetherness in a world of uncertainty and violence.
Writer, Director, Producer: Barbara Koppel
Director: Tom Haneke
Producer: Michael Lang
Executive Producer: Allen Newman, Jeff Rowland
Cinematographer: Tom Hurwitz
Cast: Aerosmith, Joe Cocker, David Crosby, Sheryl Crow, Roger Daltrey, John Entwistle, Melissa Ethridge, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Michael Lang, Moby, Keith Moon, Graham Nash, Carlos Santana, John Sebastian, Steven Tyler, The Who

Sunday, August 16, 7:30 pm
1976, 1978, 2009 USA
Formed in Akron, Ohio, in 1974, Devo took its name from their concept of "de-evolution"—the idea that instead of evolving, mankind has actually regressed, as evidenced by the dysfunction and herd mentality of American society. Mark Mothersbaugh will be present to introduce Bruce Conner’s 4-minute experimental film with Devo, Mongoloid and two Devo music videos: The Complete Truth About De-Evolution and the premiere screening of Don’t Shoot (I’m a Man).

Monday, August 17, 7:30 pm
2009 UK 138 minutes
The first truly comprehensive feature length cinema documentary ever made about Beethoven features a who’s who of performers and experts, who reveal new insights into this legendary composer. Interviewees include Gianandrea Noseda, Sir Roger Norrington, Riccardo Chailly, Claudio Abbado, Fabio Luisi, Frans Brüggen, Ronald Brautigam, Hélène Grimaud, Vadim Repin, Janine Jansen, Paul Lewis, Lars Vogt, and Emanuel Ax. With over 60 live performances. The film is narrated by Juliet Stevenson and young RSC actor David Dawson.
Director, Producer: Phil Grabsky
Cast: Leif Ove Andsnes, Emanual Ax, Giovanni Biette, Jonathan Bliss, Ronald Brautigam, Riccardo Chailly, Sir Roger Norrington, Barry Cooper, Jonathan Del Mar, Louis Langree, Vadim Repin, Ilona Schmielm, Phil Grabsky

Tuesday, August 18, 7:30 pm
2008 USA 87 minutes
Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison remains one of the greatest live albums ever made, and the man himself one of America’s greatest troubadours. Cash also was a tireless and passionate advocate for prison reform. Forty years later, the album still resonates today with a rawness and authenticity that few recordings have ever achieved. This film will expose a lesser known “Man in Black” through an exciting, visually compelling examination of this historic concert.
Director, Producer, Cinematographer: Bestor Cram
Co-Producers: Peter Reichenbach, Louise Rosen
Writer: Michael Streissguth
Cinematographer: Miguelangel Aponte-Rios
Cast: Gene Beley, Jim Brown, John Carter Cash, Johnny Cash, Rosanne Cash, Merle Haggard, Jimmy Tittle

Wednesday, August 19, 7:30 pm
2009 USA 78 minutes
Best known for “Ain’t No Sunshine” and “Lean on Me,” Bill Withers topped the charts, and then stopped performing in 1985. The makers of Still Bill wanted to know why. Combining old performances and intense interviews with Withers, the film reveals how the artist started as a musician relatively late in life. After careers in the Navy and assembling airplane toilets, he eventually won three Grammys. But facing the pressure from record execs to promote himself, he retreated into his Hollywood mansion and stopped making music. Now, with his children grown, he is ready to begin again, on his own terms. Even at 70 years old, as he sits on his porch and describes his goals, it’s evident that Bill Withers is oblivious to fame and still happy about it.
Directors: Damani Baker, Alex Vlack
Producers: Damani Baker, John Fine, Alex Vlack
Executive Producers: Alex Vlack, Andrew Jackerman
Cinematographers: Damani Baker, Jon Fine, Ed Marritz
Cast: Bill Withers, Cornel West, Tavis Smiley, Jim James, Angelique Kidjo

Thursday, August 20, 7:30 pm
2004 USA 86 minutes
The Montreux Jazz Festival has seen an incredible array of performers take to the stage over the years. So when it came to celebrating the 30th anniversary of Concord Records, it seemed appropriate that one of their leading lights, Poncho Sanchez, should take to the stage at the festival. Bringing his own inimitable brand of Latin jazz to the festival, Sanchez delights the crowd with some of his signature tunes. A highly appropriate tribute to a label that has produced some historic music, Sanchez pours all his energy into his performance, working his way through songs such as "Watermelon Man," "One Mint Julep," "Conmigo," and many others.
Producer: John Burk
Cinematographer/Editor: Duane Conder
Cast: Poncho Sanchez, Edward James Olmos, Duane Conder

Friday, August 21, 7: 30 pm
2009 USA 55 minutes
This is a personal tribute by the filmmaker to one of the most enigmatic, controversial and tragic figures in hip-hop music history, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, or just ODB for those in the know. During his years with the legendary Wu-Tang Clan, he became famous for his slurred, half-sung, half-rapped delivery of bizarre lyrics, which personified the raw, unadulterated and innovative style of the group. His own solo career was at once celebrated and fraught with legal troubles and eventually, his death by overdose. Featuring members of the Wu-Tang Clan, the Brooklyn Zu and many others, this film celebrates the life of a genius madman who lived life without any breaks.

Director, Producer, Cinematographer: Rasion Allah
Cast: Ghostface, Meth, RZA, Raekwon, Masta Killa, ODB’s parents, Rasion Allah

The 2009 Downtown Film Festival will be held in venues throughout downtown L.A. More information at www.dffla.com. Rock ‘N Fish restaurant (www.rocknfishlalive.com) at L.A. LIVE will be hosting three after-screening parties during the series; details to be announced.

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