On Saturday evening, into the early hours of Sunday morning, the Oscars Outdoors Summer Series and Rooftop films presented a screening of the new RADiUS-TWC documentary “Twenty Feet From Stardom.” The event also featured a live performance from one of the film’s subjects Darlene Love.
An anonymous life in the blinding glare of the music industry spotlight is the central theme explored in Morgan Neville’s documentary, “Twenty Feet From Stardom.” The story of the female pop background singer was showcased in the this riveting film, which traces the history of the emergence of 1960’s black girl group pop music, headed by Phil Spector, and illuminating the critical intersections of these women and rock music icons.
One of the pioneering singers and the star of the film, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Darlene Love, was present at the evening of film, discourse, and performance. Held in New York City’s Lower East Side neighborhood, on the open rooftop of a school building, guests in attendance were treated to a screening of the film, a Q&A discussion, and a special performance.
The open space of the high school building’s rooftop saw guests seated in pre-arranged rows of chairs in front of a makeshift stage area. Cooled by the breeze of the summer air, the roof proved an ideal location, one which fostered authentic engagement between the spectator and the presentation. Offering a fresh approach to the moviegoer experience, the Rooftop Films summer series offers the audience a cool approach to innovative, diverse, and important films.
Film Synopsis: Millions know their voices, but no one knows their names. In his compelling new film, award-winning director Morgan Neville shines a spotlight on the untold true story of the backup singers behind some of the greatest musical legends of the 21st century. Triumphant and heartbreaking in equal measure, the film is both a tribute to the unsung voices who brought shape and style to popular music and a reflection on the conflicts, sacrifices and rewards of a career spent harmonizing with others. These gifted artists span a range of styles, genres and eras of popular music, but each has a uniquely fascinating and personal story to share of life spent in the shadows of superstardom. Along with rare archival footage and a peerless soundtrack, the film, boasts intimate interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Mick Jagger and Sting to name just a few. However, these world-famous figures take a backseat to the diverse array of backup singers whose lives and stories take center stage in the film.
Additional reporting by Moshe Alpert-Eschbach