Hello documentary fans, how’s it going? Keeping it real, I suppose… This week, our nation’s capital hosts one of, if not the most prestigious documentary film festival in the US, or anywhere for that matter. Over seven days some of the most interesting and controversial subjects hit the big screen for an international audience, and the evenings may find you partying with the film’s directors or sitting in on intimate industry workshops. Monday night’s festival opener, an invite-only screening of The Swell Season, brought an overflow crowd into the AFI in Silver Spring, MD.
The film chronicles the story of Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, the stars of the indie hit Once, who embark on two-year musical tour that tests the limits of their talents, patience, and ultimately their relationships. The film is at once heartbreaking, delicate, frustrating, and beautiful, and the way we see these characters deal with unexpected fame says a lot about the celebrity status of indie musicians. Shot entirely in black and white, this stark portrait of a band and their travels (which was initially conceived by Mr. Hansard himself as a tour documentary) soon descends into the brutally honest and heartbreaking psyche of the star-crossed lovers.
Stay tuned over the next few days for some more SilverDocs coverage, including reactions to Semper Fi, Jiro Dreams of Sushi, Cafeteria Man, and an exclusive interview with award-winning cinematographer Ryan Hill (The Redemption of General Butt Naked). If you are in the D.C. area, come check out this great festival, if you aren’t, there are plenty of movies here that should arrive in your theaters in the near future.