2014 Sundance Docs in Focus: LAMBERT & STAMP

lambert and stampEarlier this week, the Documentary Premieres was expanded to include the first film to be announced for Sundance London 2014: James D Cooper’s LAMBERT & STAMP, about the aspiring filmmakers who became the managers of The Who.

Sundance Program Description:

Raised in very different backgrounds, friends Chris Stamp and Kit Lambert quickly realized their destinies were intertwined. Inspired by the burgeoning youth culture of the early 1960s, these two British lads hatched a rather nontraditional plan to become the filmmakers they had always dreamed of being. They decided to find a young band, manage it, and then make a film about the band’s success. After discovering a group called High Numbers playing a raucous show at an overcrowded underground café, Lambert and Stamp immediately hired the four young musicians and began building their careers under a new name: The Who.

Through the ups and downs of business, friendship, success, failure, aging, and death, LAMBERT & STAMP captures the spirit and intoxication of two men inspired by the ethos of their time: “We are powerful and beautiful.” Using interviews from Roger Daltrey and Peter Townshend and evocative archival footage, filmmaker James D. Cooper takes us along on the surprising ride that created one of the most iconic bands in world music: its sound and look defined a generation.

Some Background:
This marks photographer Cooper’s directorial debut, whose earlier film credits including serving as cinematographer on past Sundance title BROTHER’S KEEPER (1992, audience award winner) by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky, as well as on Bruce Weber’s CHOP SUEY. Joining him as producer are fellow Sundance alum Douglas Graves, co-producer of the Oscar-nominated LALEE’S KIN: THE LEGACY OF COTTON (2001); and visual artist-turned-filmmaker Loretta Harms; with Pryor Cashman attorney W Wilder Knight II (whose Sundance producing credits include BUCK (2011)THE BETRAYAL (NERAKHOON) (2008), and LOVE COMES LATELY (2008)) serving as associate producer. The project’s editor, Christopher Tellefsen, previously cut Sundance alums THE YELLOW HANDKERCHIEF (2008), A GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING YOUR SAINTS (2006), BIRTHDAY GIRL (2002), DARKNESS IN TALLINN (1994), JUMPIN AT THE BONEYARD (1992), and METROPOLITAN (1990), as well as Larry Clark’s KIDS, Harmony Korine’s GUMMO, David O Russell’s FLIRTING WITH DISASTER, Milos Forman’s THE PEOPLE VS LARRY FLYNT, Bennett Miller’s CAPOTE and MONEYBALL (receiving an Oscar nomination for the latter), and several other notable titles.

Why You Should Watch:
Cooper tells a genuinely surprising story in this tale of the eponymous odd couple who concocted a wild scheme to establish their filmmaking careers – by identifying and cultivating the next big rock band, thereby gaining exclusive access to film them. Instead of becoming household names as documentary auteurs, they fostered the talent of The Who in the role of managers, and catapulted the band to worldwide fame, culminating in the rock opera TOMMY. Fascinating as a chronicle of rock history whether the viewer is a fan of The Who or not, the film impresses with a treasure trove of archival footage, candid interviews with several key figures, and the outside the box, entrepreneurial spirit of creatives attempting to make their mark.

More Info:
As they become available, I’ll link to the film’s website and to Cooper’s Meet the Artist Sundance video profile and Indiewire filmmaker interview. For screening dates and times at Sundance, click the link in the first paragraph.

To experience the festival through the eyes of this year’s filmmakers, follow my Sundance filmmaker class of 2014 Twitter list.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Sundance

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