Back in 2011, filmmakers Nickolas Rossi, JT Gurzi, and Kevin Barker launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund Heaven Adores You, an Elliott Smith documentary with unprecedented access into the late singer’s life. Three years, after surpassing their funding goal by $3,000, the movie will finally have its public unveiling on May 5 at the San Francisco International Film Festival.
Rossi, the director, said his goal was to look at the brighter sides of Smith’s life, not just his struggles and 2003 death. Encouraged by this approach, Smith’s friends and family members opened up to the filmmakers, sharing not only unreleased recordings, but never-before-seen video and photos of the artist. Jon Brion, Larry Crane, Neil Gust, Tony Lash, Brandt Peterson, and Rob Schnapf are among the participants, as is Smith’s sister Ashley.
In the trailer above, you can hear Smith’s friends, and the singer himself, discussing both his ability to win over a room and the fact that he felt he didn’t belong in the limelight (i.e. his legendary 1998 performance of “Miss Misery” at the Oscars). Watch the Heaven Adores You trailer above, and peruse this archive of 97 Smith concerts you can (still) download for free.