ST. GEORGE – Andrew Bird: Fever Year topped off DocUtah’s film lineup for Saturday, Sept.8, at the Eccles Theater at Dixie State College of Utah. The film follows musician and songwriter Andrew Bird as he embarks on a rigorous year-long tour, and gives the viewer a look into the man’s mind and creative processes.
Known for his “precarious multi-instrumental looping techniques” and mixed style of indie folk, indie rock, folk rock and baroque pop, the audience is treated to Bird’s onstage performances from tour stops like Milwaukee’s Pabst Theater, to behind-the-scenes rehearsals and song creation at Bird’s studio at the family farm. The reason the film is titled “Fever Year,” is because Bird was sick and feverish throughout the tour.
“To me, it is the finest depiction of the creative process I’ve ever seen,” said Phil Tuckett, DocUtah’s artistic director.
Fever Year was directed by Xan Aranda, who is the only director to have consecutively submitted films annually to DocUtah since its inception in 2009. “She is an accomplished filmmaker,” Tuckett said.
Though neither Aranda nor Bird were able to attend DocUtah this year, Tuckett gave his opinion of Fever Year and took comments in a Q-and-A session following the film.
“You want to go to the internet and learn more about (Bird),” Tuckett said, and added it was a “sign of a great (documentary) filmmaker” that encouraged a yearning in the audience to learn more.
“What a treasure (Bird’s) left, and the filmmaker too,” he said.
Reviews from the audience were equally positive.
“The filmmaker didn’t get in the way of the film,” an audience member said. He explained that, to him, Aranda used a simplistic approach and didn’t over-explain the subject matter.
“By saying so little, it says so much,” Tuckett added.
Terry Borden, of Park City Television, said he enjoyed the film and that it was a “very unique look at the creative process.”
Tuckett was asked why DocUtah has picked Fever Year to be the “closing gala” film of the day, he said: “When we saw it, we knew it had to be in the festival. It was a cut above.”
At the conclusion of the Q-and-A session, the audience was led outside to the sculpture garden on the Eccles Building’s north side where blue sky lanterns were waiting. The lanterns were lit and released skyward, bringing the fourth day of the DocUtah International Documentary Film Festival to an official close.
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