The Full Frame Documentary Film Festival and American Tobacco‘s annual Movies on the Lawn series kicked off monthly outdoor screenings in July and will close out the series this month with a double feature: Under African Skies—rescheduled due to inclement weather—will begin at dusk (approximately 7:15 p.m.) followed by Shut Up and Play the Hits at around 9 p.m. The Movies on the Lawn series is free and open to the public. (See full series listings and trailers below.)
Andrew Bird: FEVER YEAR / Xan Aranda
Filmed during culminating months of the acclaimed singer-songwriter’s most rigorous year of touring, Andrew Bird crosses the December finish line in his hometown of Chicago – feverish and on crutches from an onstage injury. Is he suffering hazards from chasing the ghost of inspiration? Or merely transforming into a different kind of animal “perfectly adapted to the music hall?” FEVER YEAR is the first to capture Bird’s precarious multi-instrumental looping technique and features live performances with collaborators Martin Dosh, Annie Clark of St. Vincent, and others.
Standing in the Shadows of Motown / Paul Justman
This is the true story of the greatest musicians you’ve never heard of! The founder of Motown Records found a group of musicians who would come to call themselves the Funk Brothers and who would be the house band on all of its major hits. This band was the heartbeat of every song and this documentary, cut with archive footage, interviews and live performances finally gives them the credit that is long overdue.
Under African Skies / Joe Berlinger
Twenty-five years after Paul Simon’s masterpiece “Graceland” was released, director Joe Berlinger follows Simon back to South Africa to reunite with the musicians with whom he collaborated, and to candidly face criticism from locals who felt betrayed by his decision. Between electrifying performances and revealing interviews, the audience is left to determine whether or not great art can rise above the controversy it creates.
SHUT UP AND PLAY THE HITS / Dylan Southern and Will Lovelace
If it’s a funeral… let’s have the best funeral ever. On April 2nd, 2011, LCD SOUNDSYSTEM played its final show at Madison Square Garden. LCD frontman James Murphy had made the conscious decision to disband one of the most celebrated and influential bands of its generation at the peak of its popularity, ensuring that the band would go out on top with the biggest and most ambitious concert of its career. The instantly sold out, near four-hour extravaganza did just that, moving the thousands in attendance to tears of joy and grief, with New York Magazine calling the event “a marvel of pure craft” and TIME magazine lamenting “we may never dance again.” SHUT UP AND PLAY THE HITS is simultaneously a document of a once-in-a-lifetime performance and an intimate portrait of Murphy as he navigates both the personal and professional ramifications of his decision.