Independent filmmakers share a great deal in common with underground musicians: a DIY mindset, a dedication to their craft against the odds, an aesthetic compatible with their lack of resources. They also seem to share an audience, if the schedule of the third annual Philadelphia Independent Film Festival is any indication. Alongside political docs, quirky animation and serial killer horrors, this year’s lineup teems with films that aim their camera at non-superstar musicians of various stripes.
The line-up includes stories of artists who never quite broke through to the mainstream, from a Chicago blues guitarist persuaded to make a comeback after retiring to his family’s South Carolina farm (“Mac Arnold Returns to the Blues”) to 1970s British goth-punk Andi Sex Gang (“Bastard Art”) to Brazilian experimentalist Tom Ze (“Astronauta Libertado”).
Profiles of those who march to even different-er drummers include “Riot Acts: Flaunting Gender Deviance in Music Performance,” a thesis-titled doc about transgender musicians, and “Wheedle’s Groove,” starring almost-stars of the 1960s Seattle soul scene.