Last year was the year of the music film with the smash hits A STAR IS BORN and BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY. Music as portrayed on film has an illustrious history and this year’s HIFF Spring Showcase presented by Halekulani will present two music films— A thought long lost documentary of one of the most historic recording sessions from a then rising star Aretha Franklin and the classic told story with a unique twist of a Scottish single mother in Glasgow with dreams of moving to Nashville to become a country star.
In 1971, Aretha Franklin, the undisputed Queen of Soul, brought producer Jerry Wexler, her backup singers, and the legendary Atlantic Records rhythm section to The New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Watts to record an album of gospel music before an enthusiastic live audience. The result, "Amazing Grace," went on to become the top-selling gospel record of all time, the biggest album of Aretha Franklin’s career, and one of her most beloved works.
But even as the album gained fans around the world, few realized that those inspirational sessions had not only been recorded, they had been filmed by a camera crew led by Oscar winning filmmaker Sydney Pollack. Thought to be lost in legal wrangling. Almost 50 years later, the film is released and has been bringing sneak peek audiences jumping on their feet to see pure genius at the early start of her career.
World premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival with rave reviews, especially for the star-making performance of Scottish singer Jessie Buckley, WILD ROSE is a familiar story with a unique twist. Rose-Lynn Harlan (Buckley) has dreamt of becoming a country music star for as long as anyone can remember. But Glasgow isn't exactly Nashville, and, as a convicted criminal and single mother of two young children, Rose-Lynn is more country song than country starlet.
See these music films, when the 22nd annual HIFF Spring Showcase presented by Halekulani unspools 30 films from 13 countries from April 5-14 at the Regal Dole Cannery Stadium 18.