In his new, $400,000 in-progress documentary, Parallax Sounds, Augusto Contento explores the influence of Chicago’s landscape on six musicians who started out in the ‘90s heyday of the city’s post-rock scene.
Parallax Sounds features MacArthur “genius” reed player Ken Vandermark, iconic producer Steve Albini (Nirvana, etc.), Azita Youssefi of the Scissor Girls, Damon Locks of the Eternals, David Grubbs of Gastr del Sol, and Ian Williams of Don Caballero.
“The film… takes post-rock as a starting point to discuss the relation between music and architecture in Chicago and to talk about a whole generation and its vision of the world and of the artist’s role in our society,” Contento says.
Vandermark and Grubbs are composing the score, which will include Albini, Locks’s Eternals bandmate Wayne Montana, John Herndon of Tortoise, Rob Mazurek, and Therry Ex. In his first time as a film composer, Vandermark scored Contento’s 2009 Amazon River documentary Roads of Water.
Contento and his producing partner, Giancarlo Grande at Paris-based Cine Parallax, were fans of post-rock as young men in Italy in the ‘90s. “These musicians gave me an approach to the world which is fantastic,” Grande says. “I feel very close to Chicago because of this music.”
Cine Parallax is financing the budget with seven Finnish, French, German and Italian production partners and funders, along with Chicago’s Ilko Davidov and Carmine Cervi of BulletProof Film. Davidov is a cofounder of the Chicago International Movies and Music Festival.
Contento says he’s interested in post-rock’s “tendency to abstract and deconstruct popular music’s classical genres, mixing them with experimental genres… A synthesis of the most radical genres in popular music… the frankness and the noisy rebellion of rock, postpunk and hardcore.”
Contento specializes in “land films” that investigate geography’s impact on culture. “The city is something that slowly makes its way inside us and that defines our outlines, our moves and our way of looking without our realizing it,” Contento says.
Assistant director and cowriter Kênya Zanatta is pre-interviewing the musicians for Parallax Sounds so the filmmakers can set each interview segment in a fitting location. They’ve been shooting since February and will continue through the summer.
They’re aiming for a 2012 premiere at a major international festival. They have theatrical deals with their German and Italian funders, and broadcast deals with their French and Finnish TV funders. French company Spider Games is also developing a companion video game.
This weekend, the Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, hosts two benefit shows for Parallax Sounds. On April 8, Tim Daisy and Vandermark play at 10 p.m., The Eternals at 11, followed by DJ Dan Mihail.
On April 9, Jeb Bishop, Daisy and Nate McBride play at 9 p.m., then Daisy, Devin Hoff and Vandermark at 10. Tickets are $10.
Grande, Locks, Montana, Youssefi, and Hideout owner Tim Tuten speak on the free CIMMfest panel “Post Rock on Film,” also featuring Parallax Sounds clips, April 17 at 3 p.m. at the Chicago Cultural Center GAR Annex, 76 E. Washington St.
See Parallax Sounds on facebook here.