Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Talihina Sky: The Story of the Kings of Leon

The Kings of Leon are an American rock band from Tennessee formed in 1999 and consisting of three brothers Caleb, Nathan and Jared Followill and their cousin Matthew Followill.  Over a span of five albums they have become one of the worlds most successful bands playing to gigantic arenas and selling millions of albums and singles.

This year Edinburgh International Film Festival was host to the European premier of Talihina Sky: The Story of the Kings of Leon (2011) an 87minute film directed by Stephen Mitchell documenting the bands lives. Mitchell is an old friend of the band having known them since their formation and this was his directorial debut. The film highlights the poverty and how they lived in the back of an Oldsmobile while travelling around from church to church in the Bible Belt with the brothers father, a Pentecostal preacher, while their mother gave the boys what education she could considering their nomadic God-fearing gypsy lifestyle. The boys eventually rebelled and turned to secular music coupled with drug and alcohol trimmings. The documentary is centred around a family reunion in the backwoods of Talihina, their home turf, it highlight’s, with a great deal of humour, various members of this large extended backwoods family: think Winters Bone (2009) This captivating movie was streamed from the Festival Theatre Edinburgh to 150 UK Cinemas for a one night only event.

The Kings of Leon.
A Q&A followed the documentary with all four members of the band, the director and the producer in attendance. The so-called master of ceremonies was one Vic Galloway who I’m told is a DJ on BBC Radio Scotland and Radio 1, and presents the BBC’s television coverage of T in the Park so you think he would have made a good fist of the Q&A but alas he was hopeless, I’ve seen a lot better at the RBC Film Theatre! But it was an entertaining 30 or so minutes with our southern gentlemen taking control of the proceedings.

The documentary was not quite up to the high standard of Julien Temples Oil City Confidential (2009) but it was an enjoyable, honest, warts and all portrayal of this famous group and their kin. There will probable only be a minimal cinema release but it should be out on DVD shortly, hopefully including the Q&A!!!

Caleb takes the Q&A!

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