And the beat goes on

The Filmusic Festival will be in full swing at the M.V. Film Center.


“Music has always intrigued me,” says Richard Paradise, founder and executive director of the Martha’s Vineyard Film Society. The upcoming 10th Filmusic Festival celebrates the convergence of music, culture, and film: “It is such a dynamic part of a film. Even with silent ones, music was the way they conveyed emotions, plot, and action.”

Speaking about the festival from June 27 to 30, Paradise says, “We look at music and the soundtrack as an art form in itself. Of course, we have also been very much keyed into films that give musicians their day and audiences a deeper dive into a particular music or musician’s life, career, or creative process.”

A reception with live music from Leesa Sklover kicks off the celebration on Thursday, June 27, at 6:30 pm, preceding the narrative feature “Bob Marley: One Love” at 7:30. The film pays tribute to the life and music of a musical and cultural icon who inspired generations through his message of love and unity. It explores Marley’s powerful story of overcoming adversity and the journey behind his revolutionary music. “One Love” was produced in partnership with the Marley family, and stars Kingsley Ben-Adir as Marley and Lashana Lynch as his wife, Rita.

Friday, June 28, begins with “Mr. Jimmy” at 4 pm. The film tells the story of the lengths to which a fan will go to revere their musical idol. Japanese guitarist Akio Sakurai has devoted his life to honoring Jimmy Page. For 30 years, he recreated vintage Zeppelin concerts note-for-note in small Tokyo clubs, until the real Jimmy Page stopped by one night, and Sakurai’s life changed forever. Inspired by Page’s ovation, he quits his salaryman job, leaving behind his family to move to L.A. and join “Led Zepagain,” a Led Zeppelin tribute band. Soon cultures clash, and Sakurai’s idyllic vision of the U.S. meets reality. “Mr. Jimmy” received Led Zeppelin’s blessing to feature music from more than 25 of their songs. 

At 7:30 pm Friday evening is “The 9 Lives of Barbara Dane.” The film will be followed by a discussion via Zoom with the director and documentary filmmaker of 50 years, Maureen Gosling. “This is another unique and individual story about an early pioneer who commanded a broad spectrum of music genres,” Paradise reflects. In this exuberant dance of a documentary, familiar social movements from the 20th century get a high-energy shakeup from a powerhouse blues/jazz/folk singer, activist, feminist, record producer, and committed troublemaker.

Saturday, June 29, is devoted to film scoring, starting with a special live presentation, “Where Does the Music Come From?” at 4 pm. Composer and Vineyarder Jay Chattaway, who won an Emmy for the musical score for “Star Trek: Voyager” and also scored more than 200 “Star Trek” television episodes, will share clips and speak about his creative process for projects such as “Star Trek,” “National Geographic” films, Stephen King’s “Silver Bullet,” and more. The program will begin with a complimentary glass of wine and book signing at 3:15 by Terri Potts-Chattaway for her new biography of Chattaway, “Journey to the Inner Light: The Life and Musical Voyage of Jay Chattaway, ‘Star Trek,’ Jazz, and Film Composer.”

Saturday evening at 7:30 is “Ennio,” about one of the most famed Italian film composers best known for scoring Sergio Leone’s spaghetti Westerns. Giuseppe Tornatore, director of the beloved “Cinema Paradiso,” turns his camera on his longtime collaborator, Ennio Morricone (1928 – 2020), in a moving and comprehensive profile of the indefatigable composer. The documentary portrait covers the breadth of the maestro’s career, from his early Italian pop songs to the fistful of unforgettable film scores that he wrote, including “The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly,” “The Thing,” “Days of Heaven,” and hundreds of others. Packed with insightful commentary from Morricone’s collaborators and contemporaries, “Ennio” affords Tornatore one last chance to recount Morricone’s career and deconstruct his artistic process.

“Luther: Never Too Much” screens on Sunday, June 30, at 4 pm, followed by a conversation with the director and awardwinning documentary filmmaker Dawn Porter. This engrossing documentary dives deep into the story of vocal virtuoso Luther Vandross. Using a wealth of rarely-seen archives, Vandross tells his story with assistance from his closest friends and musical collaborators, including Mariah Carey, Dionne Warwick, Valerie Simpson, and Roberta Flack. Reliving many stunning moments of Vandross’ musical career, the film also explores his unrequited love life, health struggles, and a lifelong battle to earn the respect his music deserved.

“The last film is a little bit of a wild card,” says Paradise about “Cabin Music,” which closes out the festival at 7:30 pm, and includes a conversation with the filmmaker and pianist, James Carson. “It’s an amazing film. It’s a documentary, a memoir, and beautifully photographed. It’s a very spiritual, meditative film.” After walking away from the New England Conservatory in Boston, Carson spent two years backpacking and farming, from Spain to Japan. Paradise explains, “In all these places he went, he interacted and collaborated with local musicians.” After his return to Northern Alberta, Canada, he spent five years designing, building, and practicing in a remote straw-bale cabin. The musical result was multilayered, detailed, meditative, and harmonious. “I wanted to play the whole piano at once,” says Carson, “in the same way that a single breeze can cause the entire forest to dance and tremble in unison.”

“The Filmusic Festival has always been very popular,” Paradise notes, and this year is on track to be a resounding film music encore.

For information and tickets for the Filmusic Festival at the M.V. Film Center, visit