Music documentaries have become a major trend in pop culture in recent years, so it’s fitting for DZI: The Voice to present some of the exceptional unscripted musical films as part of our “Best Music of 2014 (So Far)” week-long series. One of last year’s selections – 20 Feet From Stardom – won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, so let’s see if one of the five picks from the year’s class can take home a golden statue at the next Oscar ceremony.
Moving Music Docs
Director: Eric Green
Eric Green was able to successfully raise over $75,000 via a Kickstarter campaign to fund this in-depth look at shoegaze bands from the 1980’s and 90’s. No less than 50 people from the era were interviewed. Beautiful Noise includes reflections from My Bloody Valentine’s Kevin Shields, Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor, and The Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan.
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Director: Alex Gibney
Fela Kuti has become one of the most celebrated musicians to emerge from the African continent in the 20th century. The Nigerian Afrobeat artist and political activist was the subject of a Broadway play which eventually led Oscar winner Alex Gibney to chronicle the musical and explore Kuti’s fascinating life in Finding Fela!
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Heaven Adores You
Director: Nickolas Dylan Rossi
Elliot Smith joins the list of lost performers who leave the world asking “What if?” At the age of 34, the guitarist died from stab wounds suspected to be self-inflected. Nickolas Rossi’s picture uses Smith’s music, family members, friends, and collaborators to paint a portrait of a brilliant artist, yet conflicted soul.
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Our Vinyl Weighs A Ton: This Is Stones Throw Records
Director: Jeff Broadway
In the tradition of great Hip Hop docs like Style Wars, The Show, and Rhyme & Reason, comes Jeff Broadway’s Our Vinyl Weighs A Ton. The film archives the legacy of Stones Throw Records. The L.A. indie label has been home to underground rap visionaries such as J Dilla, Madlib, and MF Doom, and mainstream acts including Kanye West, Snoop Dogg, and Common were eager to offer their praises of the house that DJ Peanut Butter Wolf built.
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What Difference Does It Make? A Film About Making Music
Director: Ralf Schmerberg
Why do people embrace the art of making music as their lifelong passion? Ralf Schmerberg attempts to answer that question in the Red Bull Music Academy produced What Difference Does It Make? While Rakim, Erykah Badu, Q-Tip, Debbie Harry, and others share the reasons their lives would be incomplete without melody, harmony, and rhythm, New York City also appears in a vital starring role.
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