Tuesday, February 15, 2011

In musical offerings, Macon Film Festival moves to its own beat

The beauty of any film festival, and thankfully the one that opens Thursday here in Macon, is the opportunity to see a variety of things you've never experienced before.

And, appropriately enough for this city with a rich musical past and present, the Macon Film Festival has sprinkled through its many offerings some musical documentaries that will expose you to some genuine characters. Here are three that should be well worth checking out.

If you were to tell me a "rappin' cowboy" was performing on stage, I'd probably run in the opposite direction, but a movie about the life of one? I'm in.

Director Elizabeth Lawrence's "Roll Out Cowboy" spends some time on tour with Chris "Sandman" Sand, who, according to the movie Web site's own description, "looks like Woody Guthrie but sings like LL Cool J." Again, not my thing in the least, but the fun in this should come in seeing what the audience thinks of this in his ultra-small town of Dunn Center, N.D., and elsewhere as Lawrence and her crew follow him on tour in 2008. You can check out the trailer below and the movie itself Friday at noon at the Cox Capitol Theatre.

Roll Out Cowboy from Roll Out, Cowboy on Vimeo.

Later Friday and also at the Cox (at 6 p.m.) comes something about as different from that as you can get, "Beijing Punk." And with the tagline, "What happens when 1.3 billion Chinese discover punk?", how can you not want to find out?

Director Shaun Jefford dives into this odd scene in 2008, the year of the Beijing Olympics, and as you'll see from the trailer below, it's the definition of chaos, but if your ears can take it, I'm betting on a lot of fun, too.

And finally, "Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone," is the one movie I'm most looking forward to at this year's Macon Film Festival.

The word "unique" is thrown around far too often in both movies and music, but with Fishbone, it actually applies. A band of black musicians who played an intoxicating mix of funk, punk and ska, no one really knew what to do with them when they first appeared in the late '80s, and as you'll see from the movie, they really don't know what to do with each other, either.

With members who are genuinely crazy, and one who was charged with kidnapping after trying to rescue another from what he considered a "cult" (yes, really), this really should be an oddly inspiring portrait of failure, and with great music to boot. Directors Lev Anderson and Chris Metzler chart the band's rise, fall and attempt to rise again, with narration by Laurence Fishburne. Check out the trailer below, and the movie itself at 4:30 p.m. Sunday at the Douglass Theatre.

And of course, those are just three of the many offerings. Look for a more complete schedule at the festival's Web site, and please, go see at least one Macon Film Festival movie.

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