TORONTO FILM FEST Focus: Baring Your Soul Sells More Records!

By on 12 September, 2011

Credit: AP Photo/Evan Agostini


It’s well-known that, given the pre-requisite of a talented band with great songs, success in the music industry rests on clever use of advertising.


Increasing numbers of bands are using a soul-searching documentary as a way to cover all the advertising bases – getting column inches when the film is announced, completed and launched, free advertising for the band from film posters and not least a new audience for the bands’ songs in the cinema.

This week sees not one but three such “rockumentaries” launched at the 36th Annual Toronto Film Festival in Canada.

The U2 documentary ‘From The Sky Down‘ became the first non-fiction opener ever at the festival. The film covers the making of 1991 album Achtung Baby!often credited with reinventing the band after their 1988 album Rattle and Hum did not live up to the success of their first album The Joshua Tree.

90s rockers Pearl Jam have engaged Academy Award®-winning filmmaker and music journalist, Cameron Crowe to tell their story in ‘Pearl Jam Twenty‘ – the Twenty being a reference to the years elapsed since the band’s debut in 1991.

Neil Young is no stranger to the rockumentary, having already starred in ‘Heart of Gold‘ in 2006. Toronto this week sees the launch of a second installation ‘Neil Young Life‘, following the artist on his Le Noize solo tour: also the creation of filmmaker Jonathan Demme.

Previous film successes include:

The Story of Anvil‘ (2008) revived the career of a dying 80s metal band;

Some Kind of Monster‘ (2004) made us all glad it wasn’t us in Metallica;

In Flight 666‘ (2009), Iron Maiden touchingly showed how global rock fandom really is.


Article written for TOMORROW’S NEWS by Zoe Cunningham.




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