A Song For You: The Austin City Limits Story

This film is packed wall to wall with the greatest music from Texas and beyond — with performances from Willie Nelson, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Ray Charles, to name a few. Tracing its forty-year evolution, the film transcends the TV show and gives audiences a front-row seat and backstage pass to the greatest performances of the longest running music show in television history.

Real Boy

Bennett Wallace is a charismatic teenager navigating the ups and downs of gender transition. As he seeks his true voice — as a musician, a friend, a son, and a man — the boy is taken under the wing of his idol Joe Stevens, a celebrated transgender musician fighting his own demons. The film explores the complexity of addiction, the healing power of music, and the importance of family, both given and chosen.

Montage: Great Film Composers and the Piano

You recognize their work — but do you really know these composers? Williams, Newman, Giacchino, Broughton, Desplat, Davis. Find out what happens when celebrated pianist Gloria Cheng challenges the world’s greatest film composers to write original pieces for solo piano. No movie; no orchestra; just Gloria at the piano. Be a fly on the wall for these once-in-a-lifetime recording sessions and listen to original compositions these titans of film music; 73 Academy Award nominations and 9 wins among them.

Maya Angelou and Still I Rise

Distinctly referred to as “a redwood tree, with deep roots in American culture,” icon Maya Angelou gave people the freedom to think about their history in a way they never had before. From her upbringing in the Depression-era South, to her work with Malcolm X in Ghana, to her inaugural speech for President Bill Clinton, the film takes us on an incredible journey through the life of a true American icon.

The Groove Is Not Trivial

Master fiddler Alasdair Fraser’s personal journey in search of self-expression is a quest that has led him to dig deep into his Scottish musical roots. There, he finds a universal pulse — a groove, a through-line from the past that sparks hopeful possibilities for the future. The irrepressible Fraser proves that the groove in traditional music transcends toe-tapping fun — it can be a source of personal and political liberation.

Body and Soul: An American Bridge

Out of all the cross-cultural encounters that have resulted in the richness of American popular music, none has been so prominent or so fraught with fraternity and conflict as the relationships between African Americans and American Jews. Body and Soul: An American Bridge aims to tease out the strands of this cultural knot by focusing on the early performance history of the jazz standard, “Body and Soul,” one of the most recorded songs in the jazz repertoire.

Thrive

A short documentary about the prodigious talent and irrepressible spirit of a musically precocious 12-year-old blind boy who plays the piano. We follow Matt Whitaker as he takes the lead in his first onstage performance and we root for him when he applies to school for musically gifted children.

Rock in the Red Zone

“Rock in the Red Zone” is an intimate portrayal of life on the edge in the war-torn city of Sderot. Once known for its prolific rock scene that revolutionized Israeli music, for thirteen years the town has been the target of ongoing rocket fire from the Gaza strip. Through the personal lives and music of Sderot’s diverse musicians, and the personal narrative of the filmmaker, who ends up calling the town home, the film chronicles the town’s trauma and reveals its enduring spirit.

In English and Hebrew with English subtitles

Part of our “Women Filmmakers” special program.

Idil Biret: The Portrait of a Child Prodigy

Idil Biret was five years old when she played piano for the Turkish President. Two years later, the Congress passed “Idil’s Law” which allowed her to study in Paris. Away from her friends, in an alien city, Idil was now working under strict supervision. As Arthur Rubinstein later recalled, “the first time I heard her play she brought tears to my eyes”. Director Eytan Ipeker provides many wonderful musical interludes from one of the most prolific pianists of all time.

Timbuktoubab

Against the backdrop of Saharan dunes and the sandy streets of the legendary cultural crossroads of Timbuktu, Mali, West Africa, this award-winning music documentary follows songwriter Markus James and three legendary masters of traditional Malian music as they travel, live, create, and perform original music together at the source of the ancient roots of Blues music.