“Twenty Feet From Stardom” director Morgan Neville admitted he was nearly in tears seeing the subjects of his documentary on back-up singers gathered at the Sundance Film Festival on Sunday night. Seeing the singers — Merry Clayton, Darlene Love, Lisa Fischer, Tata Vega and Judith Hill — in one room was “a mindblower” he said, made all the important since the December death of the film’s producer, Gil Friesen.
“Twenty Feet” is one of the festival’s most talked-about and well-liked films, evidenced by it wrapping a domestic and a foreign deal since it premiered Jan. 17. (The Weinstein Co. has the U.S.; Wild Bunch will be selling it internationally).
The singers were the centerpiece of the Sundance Institute Film Music Program’s annual Celebration of Music in Film, held at the Kimball Art Center on Jan. 20. The Fray opened the evening, performing their own work and, as a nod to the film world, a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s Oscar-winner “Streets of Philadelphia.” Peter Golub, director of the Sundance Institute Film Music Program, and Tracy McKnight, the head of music at Lionsgate, produced the event.