Coming to theatres tomorrow, Friday, June 24: BREAKING A MONSTER
Luke Meyer’s portrait of a teenage band’s breakout made its bow at SXSW last year. Its extensive fest circuit has also included Hot Docs, Sheffield, BAMcinemaFest, Sydney, Traverse City, Melbourne, Camden, Mill Valley, CPH:DOX, RIDM, Big Sky Doc, IndieLisboa, and Durban, among other events.
Unlocking the Truth is an aspiring heavy metal/speed punk band with a couple of key differences – first, despite the music genres’ usual demographics, the trio is African American; and second, they’re 7th graders. After they achieve acclaim via a viral video of a street performance in Times Square, Alec, Malcolm, and Jarad’s stars are on the rise. They land a $1.8 million deal with Sony, and take on a new manager, Alan Sacks, to usher them through the ins and outs of their newfound status as professional musicians. As Meyer’s largely observational film demonstrates, the reality of the record industry is not quite the fairy tale that aspiring musicians might dream of – the boys are shuttled from meeting to meeting, subjected to label demands around marketing and branding, with their frustration and confusion palpable at times. They make for a compelling contrast with Sacks, a 70-year-old entertainment industry veteran, and together provide an insightful, and troubling, look at an industry that seems to remain unable to adapt and instead continues to alienate artists.