A conversation with 'Heaven Adores You' Director Nickolas Rossi

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Heaven Adores You Director Nickolas Rossi
'Heaven Adores You' Director Nickolas Rossi (provided photo)
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"Heaven Adores You": A Conversation with Director Nicholas Rossi
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The Sound Unseen film festival begins tonight at McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul, Minn. The festival opens with the documentary Heaven Adores You, a film described as "an intimate, meditative inquiry into the life and music of Elliott Smith."

Ahead of tonight's screening, Jill Riley spoke with Nickolas Rossi, the director of Heaven Adores You.

Asked why he wanted to do a documentary about Smith for his directorial debut, Rossi explains that he was living in Portland, Ore., at the time Elliott Smith's career was in full effect, including Smith's 1998 Oscar nomination for his song "Miss Misery" from the film Good Will Hunting. "There was this sort of musical force that was happening in the Pacific Northwest, post-grunge," Rossi says. "There was a Portland sound and it was unique and Elliot was part of that. He was playing in bands that became the soundtrack to my experience living there at that time."

That soundtrack made an indelible impression on Rossi. "The first time I heard [Elliott Smith's] solo stuff, it just didn't sound like anything I could reference," Rossi says. "It was just so raw and so unfiltered and [the] scratchy, four-track, analogue, sound of a guy with a guitar that just didn't sound like what was prior to that."

Listen to the complete interview to hear more about Rossi's process of making the film, including his research, his connection with fans and his interactions with Larry Crane, Elliott Smith's official archivist and Smith's business partner and co-founder of Jackpot! Recording Studio.

"Simply put, it's the story of an artist and his evolution," Rossi says of his film. "The music was what was most important to me about the story of Elliott Smith. His music is still so relevant 10 years after he passed away. That's what I really wanted to focus on."

Official Trailer:

Heaven Adores You screens Wednesday, Nov. 12, at 7 p.m., at McNally Smith College of Music, as part of the Sound Unseen Film Festival.

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1 Photos

  • Elliott Smith on on tour, circa 1998.
    Elliott Smith on on tour, circa 1998. (Heaven Adores You)

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