As happy as the director and cast of "The Music Never Stopped," and the Grateful Dead were to be at Friday's Sundance Salt Lake City Gala and Screening, nobody seemed happier than Utah Gov. Gary Herbert.
He was on hand to emphasize the point that Utah officially values the "cultural" and "significant financial impact" the festival makes each year. He might not have minded rubbing elbows with Dead guitarist Bob Weir and drummer Mickey Hart but he seemed pretty pleased to report some numbers too.
$62.7 million is the economic impact number that Herbert threw out from a University of Utah study. Add to that $18.5 million worth of Utah media coverage around the world from the 10-day event and its easy to see why Herbert was all smiles. But ultimately, even big, successful numbers can't compete with film.
Sundance's Director of Programming, Utahn Trevor Groth (Brighton High School, University of Utah) introduced the film based on Oliver Sacks' case study of a family divided by the culture clash of the 1960's then forced to face a brain injury to son Gabriel and how music played a part in both situations.
Director Jim Kohlberg received a standing ovation after the emotionally charged film that audience members were definitely buzzing about. He also brought out cast members J.K. Simmons, Lou Taylor Pucci, Julia Ormond and Mia Maestro along with Weir and Hart. During the Q&A, the audience made it clear it was delighted the film would be hitting theaters in March and then was clearly less delighted to hear Salt Lake City wasn't among the handful of cities to feature the release. Success in the first wave of release will determine if the film returns to Utah audiences.
Besides Greatful Dead music the film features songs from Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Buffalo Springfield and other contemporaries from that era. Music licensing for any film can be a cost prohibitive challenge but that level of big name music is unheard of for an independent film and in this case is absolutely essential to the story.
"I didn't think I would ever be able to make (the film)," Kohlberg said after the screening. "Dylan came aboard and then the Dead and we just went from there."
The film will seemingly earn a PG rating from the MPAA when it is released. For more information about the movie see: themusicneverstopped-movie.com/