Elliott Smith is the focus of a new documentary film called Heaven Adores You. The first full-length feature of its kind to be allowed use of Smith’s music, it will receive its world premiere May 5th at the San Francisco International Film Festival.
Directed by Nickolas Rossi, the film is billed as “an intimate, meditative inquiry into the life and music of Elliott Smith.” It will feature unreleased songs, personal pictures, and rare footage in addition to interviews with Smith’s friends and collaborators. Among those appearing in the documentary are Smith’s sister Ashley, Joanna Bolme, Jon Brion, Neil Gust, Larry Crane, Rob Schnapf, and many more.
The documentary is set to cover much of Smith’s life from the beginnings of his music, to his excellent run of albums in the 90’s, to his 1998 Oscar Nomination for Good Will Hunting‘s, “Miss Misery”, his struggles with fame, and ultimately, his tragic death in 2003. In a statement, Rossi further explained the project’s all-encompassing focus:
Heaven Adores You came about over many years. I wanted to build on the love that the fans had for Elliott. I wanted to do something that honored his contributions to the music scene, to the global community, and to my own personal journey. The circumstances around Elliott’s death created a very tight circle amongst his friends. Everyone else seemed to want to pry into the sensational darkness surrounding his death.
What if we could make something about the life and music of Elliott Smith, instead of just focusing on his death? If we could make something that looked at his incredible talent as an accomplished musician and poet, instead of his struggles exacerbated by well-deserved fame? What if we could make something where Elliott was able to narrate the journey of his life and have his friends support his incredible story?
Heaven Adores You aims to be just that: A visual, melodic love letter of sorts to a musical genius, in the environments that he knew best: Portland, New York, and Los Angeles. By having Elliott guide us himself, via recorded conversations and interviews, I am hopeful that he can tell his own story once and for all, surrounded by the people who loved him dearly.
Watch an early trailer for Heaven Adores You below via its Kickstarter.