Yesterday, I got the opportunity to attend day one of the 2021 Nashville Film Festival. Even though I wasn’t able to watch everything I wanted, I did see two music documentaries, one about the creation of Christian band Colony House’s latest album, entitled Everybody Is Looking For Some Light and Leftover Feelings: A Studio B Revival, which is about what famous RCA Studio B, as well as a narrative feature about a couple reconnecting a decade-plus after their breakup, See You Then. I’ll have further thoughts in the manner of a full review once the films get closer to release, but here are my rough thoughts.
Everybody Is Looking For Some Light – C
Everybody Is Looking For Some Light is part concert film and part music adventure documentary, chronicling the creation of Christian band Colony House’s most recent album, Leave What’s Lost Behind. Unfortunately, that journey doesn’t feel properly depicted in its barely one-hour runtime. For a majority of its runtime, it’s stuck oscillating between the concert film and adventure documentary. When we see the concert film portion, the energy so neatly and accurately depicted through the use of handheld cinematography, crossfades, and frames within frames, it’s a revelation. It allows Colony House to speak for their album in their lyrics, not their words, which I feel always works better for chronicling the journey of an album. Instead, most of the documentary is narrated by frontman Caleb Chapman as they travel the country making music videos, which we see in their entirety. This would’ve been fine, but unlike their friend Switchfoot’s documentary, Fading West, they don’t have an hour and a half – they only have one hour. For these reasons, I think only the most devout Colony House fan should watch this, and the casual fans should stay far away, as there’s little or nothing to learn here about their creative process, the album, or anything else surrounding this journey.
Leftover Feelings: A Studio B Revival – B
RCA Studio B is one of the most historic music recording studios in Nashville, Tennessee. When John Hiatt & Jerry Douglas come back to Studio B for the creation of their album, Leftover Feelings, documentarians Lagan Sebert & Ted Roach follow the two around to talk about the legacy of the RCA Victor-owned studio. For the most part, this documentary works off that basic premise. We see interviews from the aftermentioned artists and other Nashville icons like Dolly Parton, Lyle Lovett, Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell, Molly Tuttle, and Jeff Hanna, among others. Sebert & Roach paint an illustrious picture of the legendary recording studio with all of this expert insight – even to someone who had no idea about Studio B before this week. The documentary does often drift into hero worship, but it’s spread out enough to where I feel it didn’t hurt the overall narrative. And unlike the Colony House documentary, I felt like I got a clearer picture of how Leftover Feelings came to be. We sit in on recording session after recording session of the album, with various members of The Jerry Douglas Band explaining every step of the recording sessions – all with great audio mixing to back it up. The only reservations I have about the film are that it sometimes feels like we’re hanging out with the band, rather than it feeling like a documentary, its breakneck pacing (likely due to the 1-hour runtime) and that it’s shot in black & white for no discernable reason.
See You Then – B+
I love these kinds of films – the kind where it takes a familiar situation and runs with it for the entirety of the film. See You Then is about a couple who reconnect a decade-plus after breaking up and talking things over. I’ve never been in that situation, but I think director/producer/co-writer/editor Mari Walker accurately depicts the push & pull of reconnecting after a breakup. Both parties are hurt, but it’s different for each party. There’s the one who got left and the one who left. The one who got left wants nothing more than to understand why the other person left, and the one who left is stuck apologizing for things they’ve moved on from or to talk about anything else than the breakup. Besides the fantastic throughline, this has truly wonderful cinematography, with locked-off shots for both actors, as well as a scene late in the film that involves colors that is probably the best-looking scene I’ve seen this year. I won’t say much more for fear of spoiling things, but don’t miss this one whenever it comes out. And if I can recommend a studio to pick this up, this would be a perfect IFC Midnight release.
Austin is a film critic at his website, Austin B Media, which he founded in May 2020. He is also a member of The Online Film & Television Association. You can find him on Twitter @AustinBMedia_.