Sept. 14--"All Is By My Side," the Jimi Hendrix biopic written and directed by Mequon native John Ridley, went to the Toronto International Film Festival looking for distribution and found it.
According to Anne Thompson of Indiewire, the film -- with an "utterly convincing" Andre Benjamin (Outkast) as the guitarist -- was picked up for distribution by Open Road.
Ridley went to the festival with two films, and could pick up an Oscar nomination for the other: "12 Years A Slave," for which he wrote the screenplay.
In a recent interview with the Journal Sentinel, Ridley said the Hendrix film is about "a particular year Jimi spent in London from 1966 to 1967." The compressed time period let him tell "a finite story" and presented an "opportunity to excavate a single year. To me, it makes more storytelling sense to mine those moments" rather than do a "cradle-to-grave" retrospective, he said.
It is the first film Ridley has directed since his 1997 debut "Cold Around the Heart." It took him 16 years to direct another film, he said, because doing so "is not an easy chore."
To do it again, he had to find "a story every aspect of which I was passionate about," since you are "basically taking two years out of your life" to make it.
"Ironically," he said, the Hendrix film came together "at the same time as '12 Years a Slave.'"
The Hendrix film likely won't be in theaters until next year. "12 Years A Slave" will be released in October.
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