"Sometimes in life we get surprised.... Lucky for me
that happened this week. Through an odd twist of
events, childhood friends, and the stars alignment I
had the good fortune to find out about Miss Karla
Davis. She heads up "Smart! & Sexy!" Films, an Atlanta
based independent and Arthouse film collective. Her
most recent offering is "Rose Parade", a one/two punch
of an edgy documentary on the life and death of
Elliott Smith and a video homage to one of the
filmmakers favorite songs of Smiths'. I first went to
the movie and enjoyed a film adaptaion to the song
"Rose Parade" and then on to the documentary. What I
found was a great visual adaptation of many of the
emotions I felt after the "alleged" suicide of Elliott
There wasn't a lot of police reports or even newspaper
headlines, just the reaction of several music
afficianados in the greater Atlanta area. The
questions ranged from, "Where were you when you found
out?" to "Who is filling the void that their is in
music, now that Smith is gone?" the film touches on
every amazing song that the Portland Songwriter
penned, to the point where I've been listening to a
heavy rotation of Elliott Smith since watching. The
video homage has so many nods to previous work and
great symbolism through out. My favorite part
throughout the double disc opus is the reality of it.
Music fans and appreciators of this music would be
thrilled with "Rose Parade." Please do yourself a
favor and check out this website and pick up this
"hey karla, my sis and i watched the documentary last night and wow! it's really really good! i wasn't really sure what it was going to be like but it was really amazing.
first, the music video was really cool. there was one part that i thought was pure genius. it was where elliott just gets finished saying "won't you follow me down to the rose parade" and the girl takes the rose of the statues hand and it cuts back to another angel (i think) pointing upward. i don't know whether that was intentional but i think its really interesting that the angel would be pointing up after elliott says follow me down. it was really cool! i might have to make a hoodie like that girl was wearing. it was pretty sweet.
the documentary was done incredibly well. you had great people speaking in the interviews. they really were able to speak their feeling well and it really got the point across. i like the way that radio show was laced through out the movie. and then we even get to meet the people who work for it which is pretty cool. the whole think flowed so well! every cd was discussed and elaborated on in a really good way. it was so great to hear other people talk about elliott's work because like a couple of the people on the dvd, i don't know too many other elliott fans. i also liked how they talked about the authenticity of elliott's character. talking about how there is a difference between art and commerce. that was a great line. and one guy was talking about how alot of artists fake their emtions but with elliott it was his reality. its so true. i think thats what drew me towards when i first listened to him.
there were a couple parts that i was kinda trying to hold back tears. it was so sad when all the people were standing in front of the wall and the figure 8 song was playing. then one guy comes into the picture a little later than the others, which i thought was brilliant. there was another part too when they were discussing elliott's passing and the screen goes black for a second and twilight starts up. it was really touching. those people in the interviews really opened up about how hard that day was to handle. for me, unfortunately i wasn't as into him then as i have become. it was kinda like, i knew some of his stuff but never really took the time to get into it. i felt really weird though the day he passed. just empty like i had missed out of something. i found out while watching mtv news the following morning. then a friend of mine really encouraged me to sit down with his cds and ever since i've been ridiculously in love with elliott. his lyrics and voice and his crafty style of playing guitar continue to amaze me. its just so sad.
well, i'm super appreciative that you helped me out with the mailing situation. also that you were inspired to put something like this together. it was beautiful. probably next week i'm going to order another to send to my friend vadim who got me into elliott. he's been on tour with his band marigold for a while now and i don't think he's heard about this yet so that should nice. i would also like to ask you if you wouldn't checking out some song i posted on here. its all elliott inspired. i've been working on songs for another band i have in the works and a few month ago i started actively playing my acoustic guitar again. i came up with a couple songs with no vocals at moment while thinking and reflecting on elliott smith. they were initially rough drafts but i kinda like the rawness of them. while i haven't been a fan of his for as long as some people, he has become the biggest all around influence in my life. i'm hoping to get ES XO tattooed on my wrist soon. it will be my first one. i'm kinda scared but it will be worth it to me. here i go rambling! anyway, my songs are up at www.myspace.com/harrybenson. the link is on my page as well. i'd be more than happy to hear any feedback. again thank you so much for everything. my sis and i were up til about 4 am discussing the dvd and just talking about elliott. it was a great night! take care and stay positive!"
-- Harry Benson III
Sprichst du Deutsch? I do but not in a "I'm bilingual" kind of way. Anyway, I was just writing to give you feedback on your film.
I'd ordered the DVD when I was on the demos site and saw the ad, had money in my paypal as a result of a deal gone sour (a deal for an Elliott poster of all things), and figured why not. I watched the film. I liked the film. Particularly the the takes with the statues and cemetary. The graffiti was great; there's actually this abandoned building like 40 yards from my house that has become somewhat of a mural. I look at it everyday and theres this one picture on it that would've fit so well. Its so elliott. I'm about to take a picture of it and send it to you because I can only hope and imagine you'd like it as much as I do. Nertheless, its dark outside and I'll stick to the film.
To be critical: the pacing was a bit to quick at the beginning and some of the shots were to literal for my taste and the end of the guy smoking seemed forced. Granted, its a music video but the "Miss Misery" vid comes to mind (f***ing amazing), as far as the song and the vid interact. I don't mean to sound disparaging but I thought I'd give my 2 cents. I only wish I could make somehting like that.
The films were a great example of the potential of indie films and make people like me feel even more like lazy failures as filmmakers. Maybe we can one day collab or unionize or something. Well I've got more to say but I'm still second guessing the destination of this letter so I'll await a response. Again, nice job on the moving-pic and it would make my day to hear more from you.
'be careful his bowtie is really a camera,'
A bit of an anecdote relating to the utter brilliance of elliott (and his fans): The package arrived when I was at work and my roomate had checked the mail. He asked 'what's this' and I opened it and remembered that I'd ordered it some nights ago. Things ensue as the always do and reading the letter: "wow XO, who's this?" Im like: its an album.
The letter was the best part for some reason. Like no 1 on my "things I hate" list is sell-outs. It was a great touch. Yeah, its 2:45 am in the morning (its not) and I'm writing a bit too much to someone or something I'm not even sure is there...
Hi. I've finally watched the DVD. The main 'rose parade' video and the documentary. the DVD had already arrived here on Monday, but I couldn't watch it. I dunno, it was like too much to take. I hope you don't laugh about me. I was like staring at this thing lying there all alone on my desk for days, and I just didn't have the guts to finally watch it.
And then yesterday I did. The video is awfully nice. tTe idea and the pictures and the song, it all matches so perfectly. But when i got to the documentary I was like blown away. I dunno, maybe because i don't know any other elliott smith fan here but me. Lately I was listening to 'either/or' while a friend of mine was at my place and she got really into it. Well it seemed like that, so I gave her everything I had so she could take her time and listen to it. But I dunno, it looks like the "fever" has already passed, which makes me a little sad. But whatever. At least I have my stuff back. I'm surprised how many poeple mentioned "Pitseleh" because I haven't even really noticed it on XO before I watched "Keeping the Faith." You know, that New York/Rabbi/Priest/Girl movie directed by Edward Norton. When I heard it playing I didn't even recognized it as 'Pitseleh', all I knew was "that's Elliott's voice!! That's his damn voice!", so I've searched the albums for this song and found it and loved it since.
I wanted to thank you for making this and sharing it. It's pretty lonely here when it comes to Elliott's music. I dunno. I thank god for the internet every single day. And I'm an atheist. =)
Thank you so much, again.
I am happy to inform you, that I have finally received my DVD. I watched it as soon as I got it... and let me tell you I was blown away. I enjoyed the fan-oriented documentary part of the DVD immensely. It was very interesting hearing the thoughts and opinions of fellow Elliott fans. I really related to them, especially the way they described their connection to the music. It's nice to see that other people have been affected by his music in the same way that I have. Elliott fans truly are die-hard; it really is almost cult-like.
And I had no idea you were the writer/director! Congratulations, on en excellent feature. It was beautifully written and filmed. I especially like the album cover reproductions... that was a really cool idea. And just the motion throughout the film really complemented the song. You can just imagine Elliott going on one of his walks. So yeah, I really enjoyed your visual interpretation of the Rose Parade.
Thank you so much for putting this DVD together; it's really a really beautiful tribute.
João Ricardo Ramos
I just got the DVD in the mail today and finished watching it. First off, I wanna know WTF was up with the dudes in the dress'? LOL they were friggin funny. But anyway, I was so blown away when I watched the Rose Parade movie, I really dont know what to say here because I'm not a film critic but I thought it was one of the BEST musical pieces I have ever seen. I loved how when the girl found a flower it was in color but the rest of the shot was black and white, that was a great touch, and I have NO clue how you did that with the editing :) I really cant say enough about it, and i cant get my words out in this email, buy my God it was good.
The documentary was so well done. Its crazy to hear those people talk about all the songs and albums that i have been listening to for the last few months ( yes i am new to Elliott Smith's music), I loved hearing thier opinions on which albums were their favorites. I laughed so hard at the begining when they were asking where they should look. There really where some caracters in the movie, my favorites had to be the 2 guys that were smoking the whole time, they were hilarious. After watching the movie it really makes me think of how much we all have lost from Elliott's death, I mean it sucks to think such a talented artist is gone. I wish I could of seen him in concert atleast once, even though I guess he wasn't that great live.
Hmmm.... I really dont know what else to say except THANK YOU for making this film. It's really made me think about how much we all lost with his passing.
At least we have his music.
Let me say, you're a great great director. I've seen all of your movies and I found them among the extraordinary - the Rose Parade tribute to Elliott Smith - and the trascendental - the pure masterpiece Nosferatu the Friendly Vampire.
Well, anyway, who am I?
As you, I'm a young Italian screenplay writer/director, dear friend of Stefano that I think he already contacted you (he suggested me your shorts, besides), and, of course, Elliott Smith lover as well.
The coincidence is that when I watched your version of Nosferatu, it seemed to me close, for general mood and some shots, to a short of mine, entitled "Superheroes", a story of a "happy and naif loser", solved with a surrealistic and melhancolic mood, as I intended your short-movie. So far, my congratulations!! and, if you want, stay in touch
Speak to you soon,
I watched Rose Parade on Underground Film. It' s great! I was close to tears, during the vision.
I'm a great fan of Elliott Smith, I need his music, but here in my town (Florence) I can't find anyone who feels the same. It's incredible. A stranger, he's a stranger here.
Many times I thought to organize a tribute event, but I feel Elliott Smith like something to protect from outside. whenever i try to make someone listen to him, there is indifference. for me is like hearing beatles in the sixties!!!! The first time was like a shock.
But....I just wrote you to tell you you've been directed a very beautiful video. I'm a filmaker (there is my profile on Underground Film, soon a super8 shortmovie), i usually film in super 8, and I'm happy when I find something so similar to what I'd like to do, like your video.
I'd like to watch Nosferatu. good luck with everything.
ps: italian tour? why? I'll show your video to everyone I know!!!
Thank you so much for the Rose Parade DVD. I received it today! I am a graduated musicologist and my exploratory focus is popular music, music scenes and the culture of memory. After my graduation I have planned my dissertation about Elliott and the posthumous memory surrounding him. Because of several reasons, I had to quit my plan. Now, as an associate lecturer at university I am able to manage a course on memory and the posthumous careers of Music-Stars. Elliott is one of them:-) I am very glad to combine my personal music taste with my scientific work. It's also a kind of mission: I want to bring Elliott in the hearts of my students. Thank you for Rose Parade, I think its very useful for me and my course.