The Black Power Mixtape, 1967-1975 – Göran Olsson’s documentary compiles some amazing 16mm footage of Black Power activists and musicians filmed by Swedish TV in the 1960s and 1970s. The film is a moving exploration at the bonds between activists like Stokely Carmichael, Bobby Seale, Angela Davis, Eldridge Cleaver and other Black Panthers.
Orion, The Man Who Would Be King – In 1997 Elvis Presley died. Or did he? Sun Records knew the truth, that Presley had succumbed to a drug overdose, but the record company witnessed the grief of the King’s adoring fans and hatched a diabolical plan: what if they could find a man who sounded like Elvis and pass him off as the real thing? That’s exactly what they did to Jimmy Ellis, who happened to have a voice that made him Elvis’ doppelgänger.
Ain’t In It For My Health – Levon Helm was the legendary drummer of The Band who had a legendary feud with Robbie Robertson and then launched an incredible second career as a Grammy-winning solo artist. Jacob Hatley captured Helm’s renaissance in this documentary, which explores Helm’s comeback from throat cancer, the birth of his first grandchild, his return to music, and his weekly Midnight Ramble gigs (which included the likes of Billy Bob Thornton and Chris Robinson).
Muscle Shoals – Documentaries don’t get much better than Freddy Camalier’s Muscle Shoals, which details the birth and rise of the recording scene in in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. It’s incredible that so much life-changing music came from a humble small town.
Little Girl Blue – Amy Berg’s documentary manages to capture the story of Janis Joplin in a new way. Rather than gathering musicians and experts for talking head clips about the meaning of Joplin’s music, Berg lets her performances do the talking.
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