Face the music

Each year, Sound Unseen showcases the latest in music documentaries, from Sigur Ros’ “Inni” to Hole drummer Patty Schemel’s “Hit So Hard.”

Joseph Kleinschmidt

Jimmy Lindsey, otherwise known as Jay Reatard, died in his sleep Jan. 2010 due to cocaine and alcohol toxicity.

The rising Memphis punk musicianâÄôs death marks yet another talent lost in a long line of young artists. New York filmmakers Alex Hammond and Ian Markiewicz intended to profile the musician, but 2011âÄôs music documentary, âÄúBetter Than Something: Jay Reatard,âÄù serves as an eerie coda to LindseyâÄôs life.

A screening of the retrospective is a highlight of the 2011 Sound Unseen Festival, now in its 12th year. The film might represent a tired theme in rock, but the reality of LindseyâÄôs passing fascinates fans and moviegoers alike.

âÄúThe guy was a workaholic. He cared about music more than his own life. Performing, recording, interacting with fans and traveling âÄî thatâÄôs what he wanted out of life,âÄù Jim Brunzell, programming director of Sound Unseen, said.

Among the rare footage of Jay Reatard, Bruznell and the staff at Sound Unseen work to bring national independent films to explore sides to music the public rarely sees. Aging rock dads are the subjects of director Andrea NevinsâÄôs âÄúThe Other F Word.âÄù From Flea to Mark Mothersbaugh, Nevins portrays the ordinary pitfalls of fatherhood within the realm of rock and roll.

Rock âÄònâÄô roll

âÄúYouâÄôre [at a concert] to be entertained by the music, the vocals, and the guitar: everything that surrounds a concert. A lot of the time we forget that a lot of these musicians have families and young kids,âÄù Brunzell said.

âÄúBetter Than SomethingâÄù and âÄúThe Other F WordâÄù only represent two documentaries within Sound UnseenâÄôs vast array of screenings.

âÄúWeâÄôve screened everything from a world premiere of an R.E.M. documentary to a Feist documentary,âÄù Brunzell said. âÄúAnd that was the U.S. premiere last year.âÄù

Hole drummer Patty SchemelâÄôs story, portrayed in âÄúHit So Hard,âÄù follows her tumultuous heroin addiction during the bandâÄôs initial run in the âÄò90s.

Close friends with Kurt Cobain, she even refused to be a part of his drug intervention in 1994. After 1998âÄôs âÄúCelebrity Skin,âÄù Schemel left Courtney LoveâÄôs famed grunge band due to her increasing drug dependency.

In 2007, Schemel began digitizing her videotapes from her time in Hole. This led to director P. David EbersoleâÄôs involvement in editing the intimate footage of Hole members Love, Eric Erlandson, Melissa Auf Der Maur and the late Nirvana singer, Cobain.

âÄúI gave this very delicate material to a very close friend who could tell my story. All the difficult parts, thatâÄôs all part of it. I donâÄôt have any regrets. It is what it is,âÄù Schemel said.

During the grunge movementâÄôs peak in the early 1990s, Schemel even lived with Love and Cobain in Hollywood.

âÄúMaking music and writing and performing âÄî it was chaotic and amazing,âÄù Schemel said. âÄúIt was just an amazing moment in time. It was unpredictable and at times potentially dangerous.âÄù

SchemelâÄôs story follows her eventual recovery after a period of self-destruction just as countless other rockumentaries. What sets âÄúHit So HardâÄù apart may be its inspirational, albeit gentle, addendum to a turbulent life of drugs and excess.

âÄúItâÄôs been really amazing to reconnect with my bandmates, to reconnect as an adult. We were all kids,âÄù Schemel said. âÄúNow I can have adult relationships with them.âÄù

Whether Sound Unseen presents compelling tour footage from Sigur RosâÄô U.S. premiere of âÄúInniâÄù or HoleâÄôs controversy-ridden history, audiences see sides to musicians rarely revealed.

âÄú[With] a lot of music documentaries, you want to dig deep into the subject. You want to get to know about them as a person. Because thatâÄôs what they are first and foremost before they are a musician, group, or producer,âÄù Brunzell said. âÄúYou want to know what makes them tick.âÄù

Select Sound Unseen screenings:

âÄúBetter Than Something: Jay ReatardâÄù

Tonight, 7 p.m.

Trylon Microcinema, 3258 Minnehaha Ave. S,


Tonight, 9 p.m.

Ritz Theater, 345 13th Ave. NE, Minneapolis

âÄúHit So HardâÄù

(Q & A with Patty Schemel following screening)

Friday, 7 p.m. at Ritz Theater

âÄúThe Other F WordâÄù

Saturday, 7:30 p.m. at Ritz Theater

Visit soundunseen.com for complete list of screenings