R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe has signed on to executive produce a documentary film about his longtime friend/singer-songwriter Vic Chesnutt. According to Realscreen, the film, tentatively titled Vic Chesnutt – It Is What It Is, will feature concert footage filmed in Canada during Chesnutt’s final tour. There is no release date, but the effort will be distributed by plan9films.
Collaborators and friends, Stipe produced Chesnutt’s first two albums, Little (1990) and West of Rome (1991). Stipe also helped further Chesnutt’s noterity when he and his R.E.M. bandmates covered Chesnutt’s song “Sponge” on the 1996 benefit album Sweet Relief II: Gravity of the Situation.
Speaking with NPR shortly after Chesnutt’s Christmas Eve death in 2009, Stipe said Chesnutt “was able to bring levity to very dark emotions and feelings, and he had a humor that was really quite unusual.” He then added, “I said recently that I thought he was one of our greatest songwriters, and one of our greatest voices.”
Update: Below, you can watch an unmixed excerpt from the documentary.