One of the Twin Cities’ most popular film festivals — and quite a popular music event, too — Sound Unseen will live on as a virtual marathon in 2020 led by movies about famous dead musicians, including David Bowie, Frank Zappa and the Bee Gees.
Organizers announced their Nov. 11-15 lineup on Wednesday with the Frank Marshall-directed documentary “The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart” as its centerpiece. The veteran Hollywood producer directed the movie in collaboration with Barry Gibb, the sibling trio’s lone survivor. It will screen Nov. 13.
Alex Winter’s rock doc “Zappa,” the festival’s closing-night film on Nov. 15, was similarly made with input from Zappa’s family. Other documentaries will be shown on Doc Severinson, Jose Feliciano, the Thunder Bay, Ontario, nightclub Crocks N’ Rolls and San Francisco band the Matches.
The Bowie biopic “Stardust” — which chronicles the creation/transformation of Ziggy Stardust — is one of several feature films in the lineup. Others include the Toronto Film Fest hit “Sound of Metal,” about a heroin-battling drummer, and “Queens of the Revolution,” about drag-show stars who fought for LGBTQ+ rights in Cuba.
Since all the events are happening virtually this year, Sound Unseen is being made into an interstate affair with involvement from Austin, Texas, which has a better film scene and almost as good a music scene as the Twin Cities. Sound Unseen director Jim Brunzell moved there several years ago to head up the All Genders, Lifestyles and Identities Film Festival (aGLIFF).
Austin music hero Kathy Valentine of the Go-Go’s has thus been lined up for one of Sound Unseen’s virtual discussions. Other talks will include Twin Cities music scribes Jim Walsh and Steven Hyden, plus director Allan Moyle and actress Samantha Morton to mark the 30th anniversary of "Pump Up the Volume."
The full schedule and list of films for Sound Unseen 2020 are up now on the festival’s website. A festival badge to see all the programming costs $50, and tickets for individual screenings will also be available starting Nov. 4.