image005Music Box Theatre and WBEZ Chicago’s Sound Opinions present the third annual Music Box Summer Music Film Festival with the best new documentary and concert films available about bands and music, both contemporary and classic. It’s five days and nights of great music movies, featuring everything from break dancing (Wild Style) and Detroit punk (A Band Called Death) to the most epic use of air guitar in cinematic history (Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure). Nearly a dozen features include the new documentary Downloaded, about the rise and fall of Napster, with director Alex Winter (co-star of Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure) scheduled to appear. Sound Opinions co-presents the 3rd annual Music Box Theatre Summer Music Film Festival June 28-July 2 at Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport Avenue. Single tickets are $8-$15 and festival passes are $70 at

image003Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot host the opening night kickoff at Music Box on Friday, June 28. Following a 6 p.m. reception, DeRogatis and Kot will introduce a screening of the highly anticipated new documentary Ain’t in it for My Health, an intimate portrait of the late rock legend Levon Helm. This is followed by a 9pm 35mm showing of 2003 classic Festival Express, with Janis Joplin, The Grateful Dead and Buddy Guy.


Friday, June 28th

  • 4:00pm: A Band Called Death
  • 7:00pm: Opening Night Presentation: Ain’t in it for My Health: A Film About Levon Helm
  • 9:00pm: Festival Express

Saturday, June 29th

  • 2:00pm: Wild Style
  • 4:00pm: Downtown 81
  • 6:00pm: Ain’t in it for My Health: A Film About Levon Helm
  • 8:00pm: A Band Called Death
  • 10:10pm: Big Easy Express

Sunday, June 30th

  • 5:00pm: Anton Corbijn Inside Out
  • 7:00pm: Downloaded
  • 9:15pm: Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure

Monday, July 1st

  • 7:15pm: Approximately Nels Cline/In Search of Blind Joe Death
  • 9:15pm: Wild Style

Tuesday, July 2nd

  • 4:30pm: Ain’t in it for My Health: A Film About Levon Helm
  • 6:30pm: Festival Express
  • 8:15pm: Big Easy Express
  • 9:45pm: A Band Called Death

Most Screenings $10; Select Double Features $15; WBEZ Member Discounts $2 off/ticket
Festival Passes $70.00


A Band Called Death (Mark Christopher Covino, Jeff Howlett, 2012)

Before Bad Brains, the Sex Pistols, or The Ramones, there was a band called Death. Punk before punk existed, three teenage brothers in the early ’70s formed a band, played a few local gigs and pressed a single in the hopes of getting signed. But record companies found Death’s music — and band name — too intimidating, and the group soon disbanded. Equal parts rockumentary and family love story, A Band Called Death chronicles the incredible journey of what happened three decades later, when a dusty 1974 demo tape made its way out of the attic and found an audience several generations younger. Shows Friday, June 28, 4pm; Saturday, June 29, 8pm; and Tuesday, July 2 at 9:45pm.

Ain’t in it for My Health: A Film About Levon Helm (Jacob Hatley, 2010)

As the drummer for The Band, Levon Helm created unique sounds famous in “Up on Cripple Creek.” This documentary finds Levon Helm at home in Woodstock, NY, in the midst of creating his first studio album in 25 years. Shot over the course of two+ years, this highly anticipated film focuses in on the four-time Grammy winner and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member after his 2007 comeback album, Dirt Farmer, brought him back to the spotlight. It’s a perfect pairing with Festival Express, where audiences get the chance to see virtually unknown performances by The Band. Shows Friday, June 28, 7pm; Saturday, June 29, 6pm; and Tuesday, July 2, 4:30pm

Festival Express (Bob Smeaton, Frank Cvitanovich, 2003)

Festival Express is a 2003 documentary film about the 1970 train tour of the same name across Canada taken by some of North America’s most popular rock bands, including The Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, The Band and Delaney & Bonnie & Friends. Shows Friday, June 28, 9pm; and Tuesday, July 2 at 6:30pm

Wild Style (Charlie Ahearn, 1983)

Regarded as the first hip hop motion picture, this film depicts several prominent figures from the early hip hop culture, engaging in activities such as MCing, turntablism, graffiti and B-boying. Shows Saturday, June 29 at 2pm; and Monday, July 1 at 9:15pm.

Downtown 81 (Edo Bertoglio, 1981)

This film — directed by Edo Bertoglio, written and produced by Glenn O’Brien with post-production in 1999-2000 by Maripol, and starring renowned artist Jean-Michel Basquiat — is a rare real-life snapshot of ultra-hip subculture of post-punk era Manhattan. Shows Saturday, June 29 at 4pm

Big Easy Express (Emmett Malloy, 2012)

Three bands, six cities, one train and thousands of miles of track…the Big Easy Express documents a cinematic musical journey. Directed by renowned filmmaker Emmett Malloy (The White Stripes Under Great White Northern Lights), this incredible new film captures nothing less than history in the making.

Indie folk heroes Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Tennessee’s Old Crow Medicine Show and Britain’s acclaimed Mumford & Sons climbed aboard a beautiful vintage train in California, setting out for New Orleans on a “tour of dreams.” The film resulting from the journey is nothing short of magical. Shows Saturday, June 29, 10:10pm; and Tuesday, July 2, 8:15pm

Anton Corbijn Inside Out (Klaartje Quirijns, 2012, English, Dutch with English subtitles)

Dutch photographer, music video director and film director Anton Corbin is best known as the creative director behind the visual output of Depeche Mode and U2. Director Klaartje Quirijns is able to create an extremely intimate and revealing portrait of this influential artist from the result of nearly four years of filming. Her personal relationship with Anton gave her unprecedented access to both the man and his work. Shows Sunday, June 30, 5pm

Downloaded (Alex Winter, 2013) *Director Alex Winter is scheduled to appear!

A feature documentary about the rise and fall of Napster that explores the downloading revolution, the kids who created it, the bands and the businesses that were affected by it, and its impact on the world at large. ShowsSunday, June 30, 7pm.

Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (Stephen Herek, 1989) *With Mr. Bill S. Preston Esq. (Alex Winter) scheduled to appear!

Two seemingly dumb teens (Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves) struggle to prepare a historical presentation with the help of a time machine. Shows Sunday, June 30, 9:15pm

Approximately Nels Cline (Steven Okazaki, 2011)

Approximately Nels Cline is Steven Okazaki’s first music documentary, featuring Nels Cline, best known as the lead guitarist of Wilco and one of the most brilliant and adventurous musicians on earth.

Produced in collaboration with Fantasy Studios, the film features Nels Cline Singers’ Scott Amendola and Devin Hoff, with special guests Carla Kihlstedt, Ron Miles, Yuka Honda, Ben Goldberg and Matthias Bossi. (On a double bill with In Search of Blind Joe Death.)

In Search of Blind Joe Death (James Cullingham, 2012)

In Search of Blind Joe Death is a feature documentary about the tremendously influential composer, guitarist, author and provocateur John Fahey (1939-2001). The film combines live action and archival footage with animation in a kinetic, musically charged tribute to a great artist. (On a double bill with Approximately Nels Cline.) Shows Monday, July 1, 7:15pm

About the Music Box Theatre: For nearly 30 years the Music Box Theatre has been the premier venue in Chicago for independent and foreign films, festivals and some of the greatest cinematic events in Chicago. It currently has the largest cinema space operated full time in the city. The Music Box Theatre is independently owned and operated by the Southport Music Box Corporation. SMBC, through its Music Box Films division, also distributes foreign and independent films in the theatrical, DVD and television markets throughout the United States. For additional information please visit . The entire Music Box Summer Summer Calendar is accessible at

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