Elvis documentary filmmaker to speak at Ridgefield Playhouse on May 24

Thom Zimny

The director of one of the most celebrated HBO documentaries of the year will appear at the Ridgefield Playhouse to provide behind the scenes insights into his Elvis Presley documentary as well as the work he has done for Bruce Springsteen.

Thom Zimny, the acclaimed director and producer of the new HBO documentary Elvis Presley: The Searcher, will be at the Ridgefield Playhouse May 24 at 7 p.m.

Zimny will screen segments from the recently released documentary, punctuated by commentary and analysis from the filmmaker himself. The clips showed will be specially selected from the two-part, four-hour documentary, chosen as especially illustrative.

Previously, Zimny worked closely with Bruce Springsteen as the director of several documentaries about the legendary rocker and as his chief videographer. According to Forbes: Few people understand [Springsteen’s creative] process better than filmmaker Thom Zimny.” Springsteen himself summed up Zimny’s mastery of his craft simply, writing to him, “You and your crew bring it all.” Together, Zimny and Springsteen produced a litany of documentaries, starting with 2005’s Wings for Wheels: the Making of Born to Run, for which Zimny won a Grammy award. Building on that success, the duo went on to make The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town and Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band Houston ’78 Bootleg: House Cut in 2010, Bruce Springsteen: A Conversation with His Fans in 2011, Bruce Springsteen’s High Hopes in 2014, and The Ties That Bind and Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band: The River Tour, Tempe 1980 in 2015. In addition, Zimny has worked with Springsteen on several music videos. Before that, Zimny edited numerous episodes of the hit television series, The Wire.

Elvis Presley: The Searcher premiered April 14 on HBO and takes a nuanced look at a man who is often cast in severe termseither as a larger-than-life icon of the post-war idyllism or as a cultural pirate who lifted the rock-and-roll sound from Chuck Berry. Instead, Zimny, along with producers Jon Landau and Elvis’ ex-wife Priscilla Presley, carefully parses through the life of the King, meticulously collecting old footage, recordings, and interviews with friends and family to create a more complete picture of Elvis Presley, someone who was simultaneously a soaring legend and a troubled man. According to The New York Times, Zimny’s documentary “shows Presley’s passion and control, his visceral drama, his mastery.” This is done through the deep sourcing of the film; as Rolling Stone puts it, “[T]he story of Presley’s life is fleshed out by the voices of the people who knew him best and some of his most high-profile fans.”

The screening will be held in the Ridgefield Playhouse and hosted by the Ridgefield Independent Film Festival.

Tickets are for $15, and can be purchased at riffct.org/events

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