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Established 1995 filmfestivals.com serves and documents relentless the festivals community, offering 92.000 articles of news, free blog profiles and functions to enable festival matchmaking with filmmakers.

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Dig! Sundance docu winner

DiG!
A musician checks out a song on the radio and says the one word that adequately shows appreciation - “DIG!” It’s the expression we hear at the beginning of this engaging and insightful documentary that won the Documentary Grand Jury Prize at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival. DiG! follows two bands, The Dandy Warhols and the Brian Jonestown Massacre, over a period of 7 years. Director Ondi Timoner whittled down 1,500 hours of footage into a 2-hour collection of concerts, road trips, arrests, fights, parties, and drug trips. Along the way, she examines the shifting love/hate relationship between the two lead singers, Anton Newcombe (of the Brian Jonestown Massacre) and Courtney Taylor (of the Dandy Warhols). While both are fueled by a passion for music, each band heads in entirely different directions. Walking on eggshells through the recording industry, the Dandy Warhols go on to become European sensations with mega concerts and expensive music videos. At the same time, with the wildly brilliant Anton at the helm of creative chaos, the Brian Jonestown Massacre remains underground – even though they independently released 11 albums over the 10 years that they were together, until this film they have been absent from the mainstream. By the end of the film, we see that it’s the choices made between art and industry that separate the bands at the end of the seven years.

Needless to say, the music of both bands is so good it’s shocking – a pastiche of 60s revival with a postmodern edge. This is what you would get if you turned the Beatles and Dylan up to 11. The film is equally as interesting, with MTV montages and home video footage unified by the force of the story. Courtney Taylor narrates the film, unraveling the story and providing a grounded voice that makes the movie more about the bands than the director. Ondi Timoner’s camera brings the viewer to their concerts with breathtaking cinematography and sound, to present an omniscient perspective of their performances. She spends time off-stage with each band member, with fans, with agents, and with recording industry professionals. Her hand-held camera captures the fuel of creativity, of friendship, and reveals the grim face of obsession. It’s a balanced exposé that shows intelligence and compassion, which holds interest through the entire final credit sequence. Dig it, indeed.


By Christy Julin

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Chatelin Bruno
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