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Documentary

Director Eva Michon made a feature-length documentary film about Death from Above 1979. It’s comprised of many years’ worth of footage and I got to swoop in towards the end of production and do a bunch of shooting with her last summer in New York and Toronto. Featured in the film are members of Sloan, The Strokes, Fucked Up and of course DFA 1979 themselves. It’s currently up on Vimeo On Demand and Eva is touring the film theatrically throughout Canada and the US right now. So check it out!

Screen shot 2014-11-04 at 4.14.16 PM

Click the image to see the trailer

It’s with great excitement that I announce that the feature length documentary/musical MY PRAIRIE HOME has been selected to compete at Sundance next month in the World Cinema Documentary program.

Many thanks to director Chelsea McMullan, co-DPs Derek Howard and Alejandro Coronado who were also on our various travels since 2010, our producer Lea Marin and everyone at the NFB and of course to Rae Spoon, whose courage to put their story on camera pushed me every day to do my very best.

 

Tomorrow marks the Calgary debut of My Prairie Home – significant because so much of the story takes place in the city. Chelsea and I will be in town to attend so come say hi!

The film also opens theatrically on Nov. 29 in Calgary at the Globe Theatre.

James Wilt of Fast Forward Weekly had this to say about the film, which screens tomorrow, November 22, at 7pm:

It’s tough to shake the creeping fear that My Prairie Home might only be viewed by fans of Rae Spoon; it is, after all, an odd biographical-ish film, complete with narration from the subject and returns to old haunts for some b-roll. It’d be a shame if the film didn’t find a wider audience, however, as it is about so very much more than a simple biography. My Prairie Home is, ultimately, what would happen if Wes Anderson made a trippy musical about a transgender folk/electronic/country singer who grew up in an abusive home environment with parents who fervently believe in the Rapture.
While featuring occasional conventions of the documentary genre — interview clips of Spoon sitting on a hotel bed somewhere on tour, for example — it’s far more often occupied by Guy Maddin-esque creations, blending fact and fiction to create something visually, sonically and intellectually enthralling.
In fact, Guy Maddin’s My Winnipeg is an apt comparison. Both films are entirely about origin: bizarre, fragmented histories, but ones — through clever, gorgeous cinematography — that can speak to the most average of lives. Maddin and Spoon (via the talented Chelsea McMullan and ever-impressive National Film Board crew) tell some of the most universal of prairie tales. Especially the one of Spoon playing “This Used to Be the Bottom of an Ocean” on ukulele amidst dinosaur skeletons at the Royal Tyrrell Museum. That segment alone makes the film worthwhile.
-JAMES WILT

MPH-POSTER

Last year I had the opportunity to work again with the National Film Board and my good friend, director Chelsea McMullan, on her upcoming feature length documentary MY PRAIRIE HOME. The film chronicles musician Rae Spoon‘s tour through the Canadian prairies, and with a beautifully meditative tempo explores themes of adolescence, coming out, family, god vs. the prehistoric, and the friendships that save our souls. Like Rae’s upcoming album of the same name, the film “explores the meaning of home when it is no longer a place one can return to”. I’ll leave it up to this recent Exclaim article to tell you a bit more about the project, but for now I will say that shooting MPH and traveling the country with Rae and Chelsea over the past few years has accounted for some of the greatest experiences I’ve had with a camera thus far. I must also add that it was a real honour being joined in Calgary with our old friends who traveled all the way from Berlin for the project, the immensely talented Derek Howard and production designer Leanne MacKay.

Yesterday the Globe & Mail Arts section launched the first music video excerpt from MPH, which we created in Montreal earlier this year:

Globe & Mail Feature

So for now keep your eyes and ears peeled for both the film and the album, both coming real soon…

Rae with Jesus Single

Hotel

set list

Rae and Uk

2010