THE OTHER DOCUMENTARIES, DRAMAS AND DISPUTATIONS
HITTING A SCREEN NEAR YOU
1 MILES DAVIS: BIRTH OF THE COOL Director: Stanley Nelson
The director’s previous credits include The Black Panthers: Vanguard Of The Revolution and Freedom Riders. This long-form documentary, he says, aims to see past the myth-making and present the definitive biography of the Picasso of jazz. It will air on BBC2 and PBS’s American Masters.
They Say: “By unpacking his upbringing, his methodology, his relationships, and his demons, we begin to understand the man who would redefine the original American musical genre, jazz, and has influenced generations of musicians in rock, funk and hip hop.” (Stanley Nelson)
2 COUNTRY MUSIC Director: Ken Burns
In 2001, he made the remarkable series Jazz. Now the multi-part Country Music looks to one of America’s other central musical forms, examining it in all its variety, from Appalachian laments to good-time Western Swing, on to bluegrass and rockabilly’s part in the birth of rock’n’roll. Luminaries including Hank Williams, Loretta Lynn, Charley Pride, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton and Merle Haggard will feature. They Say: “Country Music will tell unforgettable stories – stories of the hardships and joys shared by everyday people… we’ll see how Nashville slowly became not just the mecca of country music, but ‘Music City USA.’” 3 WOODSTOCK
Director: Barak Goodman
Scheduled for screening on PBS’s series American Experience, this two-hour documentary, scripted by Goodman and Don Kleszy, will coincide with August’s 50th anniversary of the seismic festival. It will interview attendees and workers at the festival rather than performers, to give a ground level view of what really went on.
They Say: “For three days… the values of ‘peace and love’… were actually put to the test in the miserable conditions at Woodstock. For a surprising number of people, that brief encounter with sacrifice, cooperation and generosity changed their lives.” (Barak Goodman)
4 ROCKETMAN Director: Dexter Fletcher
With Fletcher fresh from his completion of Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, this portrait of Elton John stars Taron Egerton (Eddie The Eagle/Kingsmen) in the lead role (left), and Jamie Bell as Bernie Taupin. Surreal and all-dancing elements – the tagline reads “Based On A True Fantasy” – are expected, alongside biographical detail of origins, excess and triumph. Expect it in May.
They Say: “There are moments in a rock star’s life that define who he is… it’s going to be a wild ride.”
5 GOD SAID GIVE ’EM DRUM MACHINES: THE STORY OF DETROIT TECHNO Directors: Jennifer Washington and Kristian Hill
Featuring the founding fathers of techno – Juan Atkins, Derrick May, Kevin Saunderson (AKA the Belleville 3) and others – this documentary will portray how an underground dance scene in the Midwest of the early ’80s spread across the world, while its originators remained underground.
They Say: “[It] depicts Detroit’s 1980s unsung African-American community that created techno music, and how the business of music betrayed them.”