Saturday, April 20, 2013

Twenty Feet from Stardom

Thursday morning I saw a press preview of Twenty Feet from Stardom, a documentary about backup vocalists that will play at the San Francisco International Film Festival. The film cuts restlessly between interviews, archival footage, recording sessions & performances & gives us fragmented yet adoring portraits of a handful of top backup singers, predominately African-American women with Gospel backgrounds. The most frequent glimpses are of 5 performers: Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer (pictured), Táta Vega, & Judith Hill. We learn a bit about their careers & how they deal with not being solo artists. Lisa Fischer's voice is particularly beautiful & versatile, & the joy she experiences in singing is potent. The film also contains starstruck interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Bette Midler, Stevie Wonder, Mick Jagger, & Chris Botti.

Twenty Feet from Stardom plays at the SF International Film Festival April 26 at 9:00 pm & April 28 at 3:45 pm, at the Kabuki Cinema. Director Morgan Neville will be at both screenings. Darlene Love & Táta Vega will attend the April 26th screening & sing after the movie.

§ Twenty Feet from Stardom
Directed by Morgan Neville
2012, USA, 90 min.

The 56th Annual San Francisco International Film Festival
Fri April 26, 9:00 pm, Kabuki
Sun April 28, 3:45 pm, Kabuki