Hello, there! My name is Preston Barta, and I am the features editor of Fresh Fiction and senior film critic at the Denton Record-Chronicle. My cinematic love story began where I was born: off planet on the isolated desert world of the Jakku system. It's there I passed the time scavenging for loose parts with my good friend Rey. One day I found an old film projector and a dusty reel of the 1975 film JAWS. It rocked my world so much that I left my kinfolk in the rearview (I so miss their morning cups of green milk) to pursue my dreams of writing about film. It wasn't long until I met two gents who said they would give me a lift. I can't recall their names, but one was an older man who liked to point a lot and the other was a tall, hairy fella. They got me as far as one of Jupiter's moons where we crossed paths with the U.S.S. Enterprise. Some pointy-eared bastard said I was clear to come aboard. He saw that I was clutching my beloved shark movie and invited me to the "moving pictures room" where he was screening the 1993 film JURASSIC PARK to his crew. He said my life would be much more prosperous if I were familiar with more work by the god named Steven Spielberg. From there, my love for cinema blossomed. Once we reached planet Earth, everything changed. I found the small town of Denton, TX, and was welcomed into the Barta family. They showed me the writings of local film critic Boo Allen. He became my hero and caused me to chase a degree in film and journalism. After my studies at graduate of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, I met some film critics who showed me the ropes and got me into my first press screening: 2011's THE GREEN LANTERN. Don't worry; I recovered just fine. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD was only four years away.
It would seem as though a concert film would be a tough act to sell, especially when you’re Midlake and not Taylor Swift or Miley Cyrus. Doesn’t it make more sense to see concerts at venues and movies in theaters? While that may be the case, most of time we find ourselves looking more at the giant screen to the side of the stage than we do of the actual band. So why not pay to see a concert film? Luckily, the fun and immersive project MIDLAKE: LIVE IN DENTON, TX brings a refreshingly immersive experience to the concert film genre.
In the ever-changing landscape of Denton’s music scene, only a handful of live music venues remain as staples for the evolving sounds of the town. One of those locales is without a doubt Dan’s Silverleaf, where the concert film was captured while Midlake was promoting their fourth album, 2013’s Antiphon.
Visualists Jason Lee (actor in MY NAME IS EARL, ALMOST FAMOUS) and Eric Noren (WAY OUT EAST) joined forces with one of indie’s most dexterous folk-rock groups (Eric Pulido, McKenzie Smith, Paul Alexander, Eric Nichelson, Jesse Chandler and Joey McClellan) to create a raw motion picture event.
Instead of utilizing talking-heads and taking on a more “commercial” approach, co-directors Lee and Noren showcase Midlake’s performance with a stately exploration of the town that made them. Through a series of images, we see Denton’s downtown courthouse on the Square, Morrison’s Corn-Kits, the historical Oak Street estates, Frenchy’s iconic orange trucks, and inside Midlake’s bar (Paschall) among many other recognizable landmarks (if you’re a Dentonite).
Even if you’re not familiar with Midlake’s music or Denton, audiences will appreciate the organic touch and the impressive musicianship that is on display. MIDLAKE: LIVE IN DENTON, TX succeeds at being an enthralling and visceral concert film experience.
For the rest of the lineup for Thin Line Fest and ticket information, visit ThinLineFilmFest.com.
Thin Line Fest Trailer:
“Aurora Gone” Official Music Video, directed by Jason Lee
Feature Photo: Midlake frontman Eric Pulido, Jason Lee and Eric Noren at Thin Line Fest in Denton, TX. Photo by Preston Barta.