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Sound Unseen 15th Annual Film + Music Festival

  • McNally Smith & Trylon microcinema (map)

The Twin Cities' most meticulously curated film festival is back this week, with a whole lotta local premieres. Sound Unseen, the annual program of musical performances and movies about music, kicks off Wednesday with "Heaven Adores You," a portrait of Oscar-nominated singer/songwriter Elliott Smith, whose profile has increased since his death in 2003. The opening night film will be followed by a pair of singers and appetizers at St. Paul's Hotel 340.

As always, the festival visits a variety of musical genres. Metal is represented by a documentary about Quiet Riot's drummer ("Well Now You're Here, There's No Way Back") and a film about a fictional young female "Metalhead. Punk films include a look at post-hardcore's Fugazi ("Instrument"), a doc about the mysterious life of Johnny Thunders ("Looking for Johnny") and "Salad Days," about the development of the influential punk scene in Washington, D.C.

There's also ska ("Legends of Ska"), jazz ("Lady Be Good: Instrumental Women in Jazz"), country ("Billy Mize and the Bakersfield Sound"), post-punk ("The Possibilities Are Endless," in which "A Girl Like You" singer Edwyn Collins struggles to recover from memory loss) and whatever you want to call the Grateful Dead ("The Other One: The Long, Strange Trip of Bob Weir").

There are also films about the theremin, shoegaze music, a blind multi-instrumentalist and a massively paranoid rock star (go figure), as well as new short films from award-winning Ondi Timoner ("Dig!") and it all ends, as all music events should, with a huge power ballad sing-along. 

What: Sound Unseen: Music and Art in Film
When: Wednesday-Sunday
Where: Various locations, including Bedlam Lowertown, St. Paul, and Trylon Microcinema, Minneapolis. Most films are at McNally Smith College of Music, 19 E. Exchange St., St. Paul
Tickets: $25-$10, visit

Later Event: November 20
MIA: Third Thursday | Italian Style