Bill Frisell, A Portrait

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Australia | 2017 | 114 minutes | Emma Franz

The normally reclusive Grammy-winning guitarist and Seattle native steps out of the shadows for a layered exploration of his life, work, and collaborative process, including how he developed a unique sonic voice that blends jazz with folk, rock, classical, and avant-garde.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

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SIFF Cinema Uptown

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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

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AMC Pacific Place

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Bill Frisell is not simply a universally admired guitarist and composer—and very possibly the world's nicest person, as Emma Franz's doc suggests—but a living embodiment of the inadequacy of the labels we attach to musical genres. He comes from the jazz world, but, especially in recent years, those who try to describe his output are as apt to mention country or Americana. Music that has germinated his abundantly imaginative improvisations includes the work of John Lennon, Aaron Copland, and Madonna; among his collaborators over the years have been Renee Fleming, Lucinda Williams, and the BBC Symphony—shown here in a generous amount of rehearsal footage for one of Frisell's compositions. Franz also visits him at his Bainbridge Island home, full of his recordings (when Frisell says he's made hundreds of albums, he's not kidding) and his guitars (each one has a story). The talking heads here wax rapturous about not only Frisell's versatility but, conversely, the personal, unmistakable style and sound he brings to everything he plays; fellow guitarist John Abercrombie perhaps sums it up best when he says "You hear the history of the guitar when he plays."

Director Biography

Australian filmmaker Emma Franz began her professional creative life as a jazz singer and composer, and moved into filmmaking inspired by her work and travels in six continents and thirty-five countries.

Sponsored by 4Culture, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, Washington State Arts Commission, National Endowment for the Arts, Encore City Arts, Seattle Weekly, KEXP 90.3 FM, MoPOP, Lux Pot Shop, Hardly Art Records

  • Director: Emma Franz
  • Principal Cast: Bill Frisell, Paul Motian, Jim Hall, Mike Gibbs, Jason Moran, Jim Woodring, Joey Baron, Tony Scherr, Kenny Wollesen, John Zorn
  • Premiere Status: Seattle
  • Country: Australia
  • Year: 2017
  • Running Time: 114 minutes
  • Producer: Emma Franz
  • Screenplay: Emma Franz
  • Cinematographers: Emma Franz
  • Editors: Emma Franz
  • Music: Bill Frisell
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Filmography: Intangible Asset No. 82 (2008)
  • Language: English
  • Format: DCP
  • US Distributor: Films Transit International
  • International Sales: Films Transit International