Five New Music Films to Catch this Week at The Cleveland International Film Festival

The Cleveland International Film Festival runs March 19 through March 30, 2014 at Tower City Cinema. Now in it’s 38th year, the fest drew 93,235 admissions over 12 days last year, a 9% increase, bringing more than $4.2 million to the area. Ohio’s largest film festival, it has consistently grown over the past decade, and just yesterday set a new record for 7,885 attendees in a single day (the previous record was set in 2012 with 5,519 attendees). This year there are over 500 different events with more than 200 guest filmmakers from around the world with 186 feature films and 168 short subjects screening. Among these are several movies about music or musicians, the best of which are detailed below.

The complete schedule – along with logistical details (parking, tickets etc) – is here. Below are five new music films to catch at the festival:

Jingle Bell Rocks!

Christmas music junkie Mitchell Kezin hits the road to track down the musicians, DJs, critics and collectors behind his most cherished seasonal songs. In his “quest to unearth the stories behind 12 of the wildest, weirdest and most poignant Christmas songs you’ve likely never heard” he interviews Dr. Demento, Low, Run DMC’s Joseph “Rev Run” Simmons, El Vez, John Waters, Chicago rock promoter Andy Cirzan, New York hip hop archivist/ writer Bill Adler, Schoolhouse Rock creator (and Miles Davis’ “Blue Xmas” collaborator) Bob Dorough, Canadian radio legend David Wisdom, The Flaming Lips, and more. Equal parts social history, pop culture pilgrimage and revealing character study, Jingle Bell Rocks! makes is U.S. premiere at the Cleveland International Film Festival this weekend.

Also this weekend in Cleveland you can meet Mitchell at Blue Arrow Records’ “Christmas in March?” bash. Stop by to check out Mitchell’s cool, rare X-mas vinyl, or grab some goodies: CD copies of his annual Christmas CD comps, signed posters both large (marquee sized) and small and two pairs of free tickets to the CIFF screenings later that night and on Sunday!  The shindig will be DeeJayed by Cleveland’s resident Alt X-mas music master Uncle Bad Kitty and Akron author Joanna Wilson will be signing copies of her books on cool Christmas TV specials.

What better way to start this spring than with a Christmas party?

More details on the film have been posted here. Watch the trailer below:

Mistaken For Strangers

Matt Berninger is the lead singer for uber-acclaimed indie-rockers The National. His younger brother Tom is a metalhead slacker and failed horror movie director constantly in Matt’s shadow.  While touring behind High Violent in 2010 Matt asked Tom to join the road crew. Tom proceeded to mostly get wasted and annoy the band, but was also secretly making this film. What began as a rock documentary became something more: a comedicly blunt portrait of two siblings, and the struggle for Tom to distinguish himself amongst apart from his brother’s accomplishments.

The Winding Stream

Country, bluegrass, folk, gospel and some sides of rock music all flow from the same river source: the 1927 recordings of a family from Maces Spring, Virginia. A.P. Carter, his wife Sara and her cousin Maybelle were just playing the music they were raised on, but in the process they helped invent a new genre of music and influenced generations of musicians of numerous styles, including Johnny Cash, who went on to marry one of Maybelle’s three daughters, June Carter.

From the Original Carter Family to the Carter Sisters, and later June’s work with her legendary husband Johnny Cash, The Winding Stream tells the story of this American roots music dynasty with new insights of family members, rare old interviews and performances, and a soundtrack of Carter classics cover anew by Sheryl Crow, George Jones, Rosanne Cash, Kris Kristofferson and others.

3 Mile Limit

Richard Davis is a 23 year old journalist in New Zealand. It’s 1965. He wants to listen to rock n roll but the government controls the radio stations. Based on the true story of Radio Hauraki, 3 Mile Limits dramatizes the beginnings of Richard’s pirate station on a boat in international waters called the TIRI. Broadcasting from the Hauraki Gulf in Auckland, “a power struggle develops between the government and these free spirited individuals who set out to change a system that starved a nation of modern pop music.”

As The Palaces Burn

A documentary about Lamb Of God that doesn’t necessitate being a fan of of Lamb of God, As The Palaces Burn began as a tour film in 2012 but became a dramatic documentary when frontman Randy Blythe was arrested on charges of manslaughter in Prague for the accidental deaths of young fans in the Czech Republic two years before. The trial threatened to destroy the band but an outpouring of support from the metal community spun their situation in a different direction. Reviews have pegged the film as surprisingly heartwarming.

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