20 Feet from Stardom

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USA | 2013 | 90 minutes | Morgan Neville

July 19 - August 22, 2013

An audience favorite and award winner for Best Documentary at SIFF 2013, this lively musical documentary shines a spotlight on the gifted backup singers living in the shadows of superstardom.

When you're singing along with the chorus of your favorite song, do you really know who you're singing with? Director Morgan Neville does, and his new film tracks the astounding careers, contributions, and sacrifices of pop music's most recognizable yet least known artists—the backup singers. Twenty Feet from Stardom focuses primarily on four singers — Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer, and Judith Hill — charting the rise of the modern pop vocal sound from its origins in the gospel tradition, through the demand for new, more impassioned sounds during the turbulent '60s, and into their declining options in the modern recording era. The film includes a wealth of celebrity interviews, including Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, and Mick Jagger, but this time the superstars take a backseat to the backup singers. Trust us—you'll never hear "Gimme Shelter" the same way once you've seen Jagger and Clayton describe the night she sang that song.

  • Director: Morgan Neville
  • Principal Cast: Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Judith Hill, Claudia Lennear, Lisa Fischer, Táta Vega
  • Country: USA
  • Year: 2013
  • Running Time: 90 minutes
  • Website: Film Website
  • Awards: Best Documentary: SIFF 2013 Golden Space Needle Awards
  • Language: English
  • Format: DCP
  • US Distributor: RadiusTWC