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Project of the Day: Story of Under-the-Radar Soul Singer Syl Johnson

By Indiewire | Indiewire July 29, 2013 at 3:44PM

Here's your daily dose of an indie film in progress; at the end of the week, you'll have the chance to vote for your favorite. In the meantime: Is this a movie you’d want to see? Tell us in the comments. "Syl Johnson: Any Way The Wind Blows" Tweetable Logline:
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Syl Johnson

Here's your daily dose of an indie film in progress; at the end of the week, you'll have the chance to vote for your favorite.

In the meantime: Is this a movie you’d want to see? Tell us in the comments.

"Syl Johnson: Any Way The Wind Blows"

Tweetable Logline:

A documentary about the best soul singer you’ve ever heard–even if you've never heard of him.


Elevator Pitch:

In this documentary we invite you into the world of a man who might be the best soul singer you’ve never heard of. But you have heard his music already, even though you might not realize it.

Syl Johnson had effectively left his music career behind him by the early 90s when he learned that many hip-hop artists were sampling his songs. Now—at nearly 80—Syl’s back on stage, Grammy-nominated, and not shy about getting his credit where it’s due.

Our film follows Syl’s life from 2009 through today, incorporating interviews, animation and archival material to illuminate his life and music.

Production Team:

Rob Hatch-Miller (Director) - Rob's short films Republican Dad and A Man Named Magick have screened at Rooftop Films, the Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival and New York’s Anthology Film Archives and are available online from Snag Films. He's also worked on award-winning documentary features such as The Oath, The House I Live In and André Gregory: Before And After Dinner. Since 2010 Rob has worked with writer/director Tom Scharpling as a producer and editor on music videos for Aimee Mann, Wild Flag, Titus Andronicus, The New Pornographers and many others.

Puloma Basu (Producer) - Puloma's first job in the film industry was on Mira Nair’s film The Namesake. Since then she’s worked on numerous TV shows including Bored To Death and Flight Of The Conchords and feature films such as Brooklyn’s Finest, Arbitrage and Kill Your Darlings. She works with Rob as a producer on music videos by Tom Scharpling (host of The Best Show On WFMU).

Michael Slaboch (Producer) - Michael's work at the Chicago reissue label The Numero Group has given him the tremendous opportunity to share rediscovered artists, music, films, and photographs with new audiences around the world. He's also a historical judge for the national chapter of the Grammys and an adjunct faculty member at Columbia College Chicago in their recording arts and documentary film programs.

About the Production:

"Learning about Syl’s life creates a unique opportunity for people to consider the history of race in America, the complexities of the music business, and issues of creative ownership and compensation. This is more than just the story of a forgotten musician finding success late in life. Syl is a deeply complex person and an ideal subject for a documentary. He is, in turns, charming and combative, playful and arrogant, paranoid and wise. We want to make a film that explores Syl Johnson’s story with depth and honesty, while also introducing his music to a wider audience." -- Rob Hatch-Miller

Current Status:

Post-production.

For more information and to support this project:

Production Company Website

Kickstarter Campaign

Be sure to check out our curated Kickstarter page for more information on projects we think you should check out.

If you have an in-the-works project and you'd like to be profiled in an upcoming iW Project of the Day column, submit yourself by filling out this form!

This article is related to: Project of the Day





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