13 Cool Music Docs For 2011

13 Cool Music Docs For 2011

Beyond the world of biopics is the land of music-centric documentaries, many of which are limited to film festival play before a DVD release. Several musical documentaries have already screened in theaters with more to come this summer. Here's a look at significant documentaries in the pipeline.

See Also: Music's Next Great Biopics

Pearl Jam
"Pearl Jam Twenty"

Directed by Cameron Crowe, who has said he set out to do for Pearl Jam what "The Kids Are Alright" did for the Who. It's scheduled for release in September, most likely while PJ is on the road, and will air on PBS Oct. 21. Columbia Records will release a soundtrack, and Simon & Schuster will publish a companion book.

George Harrison
"Living in the Material World"

Martin Scorsese developed the film with Harrison's widow, Olivia, beginning in 2007. The film was offered for sale at this year's Cannes Film Market with the intention of a 2011 release.

Bob Marley

Director Kevin Macdonald ("The Last King of Scotland") screened 15 minutes of teaser footage from the Tuff Gong/Shangri-La Entertainment film at Cannes to distributors. The movie is the first authorized use of material from the Marley family's private archives.

The Police
"Can't Stand Losing You: Surviving the Police"

Director Lauren Lazin chronicles the Police through the eyes of band guitarist Andy Summers. For sale in Cannes, its release is expected this year.

A Tribe Called Quest
"Beats, Rhymes & Life"

Actor Michael Rapaport's documentary on the revolutionary rap group debuted at the Sundance Film Festival this year. Sony Pictures Classics will start a platform release July 8, hitting 32 cities by the end of summer.

"The Weird World of Blowfly"

Having been screened at eight film festivals, Jonathan Furmanski's directorial debut covers the story of the '60s/'70s X-rated rapper, Clarence Reid. Variance Film is releasing the movie, starting with New York and Los Angeles on July 8.

Various Artists
"Rejoice and Shout"

Magnolia Pictures will release director Don McGlynn's "definitive history of gospel music" on June 17. The film-featuring interviews with Smokey Robinson, Mavis Staples, Ira Tucker and others, plus archival footage of such legends as Mahalia Jackson and Sister Rosetta Tharpe-played the festival circuit in 2010, including the Seattle and San Francisco international film fests and BAMcinemaFEST in Brooklyn.

Johnnie Johnson
"Johnnie Be Goode"

Art Holliday's documentary on the pianist who first hired Chuck Berry and then played on all his hits is nearing postproduction. The film, executive-produced by the late George Hickenlooper, will be heavy on interviews with such rockers as the Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton as it attempts to set straight the Berry-Johnson story.

Foo Fighters
"Back and Forth"

Screened at South by Southwest and in theaters across the United States and United Kingdom in early April, James Moll's film will be released on DVD June 13.

Phil Ochs
"There But for Fortune"

Kenneth Bower's documentary on the '60s folk singer pulled in $250,000 from exclusive theatrical runs between December and May. First Run Features will release it on DVD July 19.

The Swell Season
"The Swell Season"

The 90-minute black-and-white film directed by Nick August-Perna, Chris Dapkins and Carlo Mirabella-Davis made its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in April. The movie, which doesn't yet have distribution, captures the romance and breakup of Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova.

Dennis Lambert
"Of All the Things"

The chronicle of a '70s/'80s songwriter/producer rising from obscurity to perform in 2007 in the Philippines where his lone solo album had been a hit for three decades. Still without distribution after more than two years, Warner Bros. owns the rights to make a scripted version of the story.

Peter Green
"The Peter Green Story - Man of the World"

The story of the eccentric Fleetwood Mac co-founder-and one of rock's greatest guitarists-has been kicking around since 2009 and still isn't available in the United States. Aspect Films was selling the documentary at Cannes.


The Biz premium subscriber content has moved to Billboard.com/business.

To simplify subscriber access, we have temporarily disabled the password requirement.