The Breckenridge Film Festival and the Backstage Theatre have partnered to bring two nights of music on film Thursday, May 8, and Friday, May 9, one short film and one inspiring documentary.
‘AKA Doc Pomus’
Brooklyn-born Jerome Felder reinvented himself first as an improbable blues singer inspired by Joe Turner — renaming himself Doc Pomus — and wound up a Brill Building songwriter who churned out more than 1,000 songs with a series of collaborators over the years. His classics include “Save the Last Dance for Me,” “This Magic Moment,” “Little Sister,” “A Teenager in Love,” “Viva Las Vegas” and hundreds of other hits.
This new documentary sheds light on the man behind the lyrics. Revered in the music community for his generosity and charity to the less fortunate, Pomus suffered from polio from an early age and through most of his life was confined to crutches and a wheelchair. Yet during his 65 years, he worked with the likes of Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, Ben E. King, Lou Reed and Dr. John.
“AKA Doc Pomus” brings to life the songwriter’s joyous, romantic, heartbreaking and extraordinarily eventful journey. In his later years, Pomus was a mentor to generations of younger songwriters and a fierce advocate for downtrodden rhythm and blues musicians. He wrote a thousand songs — including some of the most recorded songs in the history of popular music — but his most lasting gift may have been his uniquely generous spirit.
“If the music industry had a heart,” record producer Jerry Wexler said, “it would be Doc Pomus.”
Packed with incomparable music and rare archival imagery, “AKA Doc Pomus” features interviews with Doc’s collaborators and friends, including Dr. John, Ben E. King, Joan Osborne, Shawn Colvin, Dion, Leiber and Stoller and B.B. King. Pomus’ close friend Lou Reed reads passages from his private journals. Doc Pomus’ gripping life story makes for a powerful and lively film that introduces this unique American character to a new, much wider audience.
The short film “Duet” tells the story of a young oboist, Will, who keeps failing auditions due to his stage fright. The only thing that cheers him up is the duet though the window with an elderly violinist, Phil, who plays outside his apartment every day. They enjoy playing together without ever knowing each other. One day, the oboist finally decides to go outside and meet the violinist.
Up next for the series on Thursday, May 15, and Friday, May 16, is “Light Me Up” and “Lad: A Yorkshire Story.” The short film “Light Me Up” is the collaborative effort of a group of students at Chapman University who wanted to create something imaginative, offbeat, comedic and heartfelt. The story is of a family of light bulbs who live in the attic of an antique shop and who come out when the storeowner leaves for the night to discuss dreams and reality.
Based on a true story, “Lad” is about Tom Proctor following his father’s death, which rocks his world. His brother joins the army, his mother is threatened with eviction, and Tom gets intro trouble with the police. Tom’s life is turned around when he’s paired up with park ranger Al Thorpe in this enchanting coming-of-age story set in the stunning Yorkshire Dales.
These offerings are followed by some of the most interesting films from festivals past, scheduled every Thursday and Friday through early June. All films start at 7 p.m., and concessions are available for all film screenings, including Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, beer, wine and mixed drinks, which can be taken into the theater with you. For more information about the film series or to purchase tickets, visit www.backstagetheatre.org or call the box office at (970) 453-0199.