Hot Docs 2014: American Interior

American_Interior Welsh musician Gruff Rhys is the distant relative of 18th century explorer John Evans.  Evans left Wales for America in 1792, hoping to find a fabled tribe of Welsh-speaking Native Americans.  Along the way, Evans was responsible for doing much of the early mapping of the American interior.  Hoping to find the location of John Evans’ gravesite, Rhys decides to go on a Investigative Concert Tour™, where he follows Evans’ route across America.  Along the way, he writes and performs songs about Evans, while telling his story via a PowerPoint presentation and puppet replica. The documentary American Interior is part of a full multimedia package Gruff Rhys has put together about John Evans, which also includes his latest album, a book, and a mobile app.  The film follows Rhys on his tour of the American interior, as his visits the same places visited by John Evans more than 200 years ago.  The film is also partially a musical, with Rhys shown performing a number of songs he wrote about John Evans’ journey.  This includes the quite catchy title track, which repeats multiple times throughout the film. The film is primarily shot in black and white, though it would occasionally include a splash of colour, most notably Rhys’ purple umbrella.  Rhys’ on stage presentation features re-enactments performed by a puppet replica of John Evans, some of which are quite humorous.  While I admit to not being previously familiar with Gruff Rhys, I have to say that I got a bit of Flight of the Conchords vibe while watching American Interior and the film as a whole ends up being a very interesting and entertaining musical history lesson.  8 | LIKED IT Screenings:

  • Fri, April 25, 4:00 PM – Scotiabank Theatre 3
  • Sat, April 26, 7:00 PM – Royal Cinema
  • Sat, May 3, 11:30 PM – Bloor Hot Docs Cinema
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Sean Kelly Author

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).