by / April 14th, 2010 /

Music documentaries at the IFI Stranger than Fiction festival this weekend

This weekend at the Irish Film Institute in Temple Bar, Dublin sees the Stranger Than Fiction Documentary Film Festival take place from 15th-18th April. There’ll be film screenings and Q&As with Gilbert O’ Sullivan and the European premiere of Strange Powers: Stephin Merritt and the Magnetic Fields. Check out the programme:

Gilbert O’Sullivan – Out On His Own – Friday 16th April, 17.00
In the early 1970s, Waterford-born Gilbert O’Sullivan was top of the international pop charts. But in the mid-70s his career began to wane and by the time he came out of a long legal dispute with his manager Gordon Mills, he had drifted into relative obscurity. Yet the 62-year-old O’Sullivan is still touring, recording and songwriting, driven to achieve again the chart success he once had. A fascinating and witty portrait of an outspoken music man who refuses to retire. Includes extended Q&A with guests including Gilbert O’Sullivan and director Adrian McCarthy.

Downtown Calling – Friday 16th April, 18.45 – International Premiere
In the late 1970s New York City was teetering on the edge of total chaos. Yet out of the economic and social strife, a family of homegrown cultures began to emerge and thrive. Narrated by Debbie Harry, Downtown Calling documents the evolution of New York City’s fertile music and art sub-culture during this period, and how its collective output continues to play a prominent role in the international fashion, art and music industries today.

Strange Powers: Stephin Merritt and the Magnetic Fields – Saturday 17th April, 20.30 – European Premiere
A subtitle near the beginning of this wonderful film states that “to some, they’re an iconic band. To most, they’re completely unknown”. If your knowledge of Stephin Merritt and the Magnetic Fields puts you in the latter camp, this film will serve as a fantastic introduction to one of the most interesting and uniquely talented bands working today. Funny, touching and featuring some great live performances, filmmakers Kerthy Fix and Gail O’Hara have created one of the best music documentaries in recent years. Includes Q&A with co-director Kerthy Fix.