20 Feet from Stardom playing at the GEM

On Tuesday, Nov. 19 Spotlight Films will be presenting 20 Feet From Stardom, an overdue and well-deserved homage to backup singers

They are the “shoop shoops,” the “wah wahs” and other back-up vocal bits in our generational anthems. They give substance, dimension, harmonious threads and consistency to our favourite tunes. They are the foundation. Lou Reed referred to them in his song Walk on the Wild Side, “and the coloured girls go doo d’ doo etc.” When Merry Clayton hits that incredible high note as she belts out “Rape, Murder!” on the Rolling Stones Gimme Shelter, if you listen closely to the recorded version you can hear Mick Jagger say “whoo….!” in response. On Tuesday, Nov. 19 Spotlight Films will be presenting 20 Feet From Stardom, an overdue and well-deserved homage to the backup singers behind some of the greatest legends of the 20th and 21st centuries. This film, directed by Morgan Neville (Johnny Cash’s America), features interviews with the likes of the Great Ray Charles, Sheryl Crow, David Bowie, etc. and is a glowing and fun tribute to the mostly black women, mostly talented gospel singers, who shone just beyond the spotlight. 20 Feet From Stardom was an audience favourite at film festivals from San Francisco to London and won four awards: HBO Audience Award at the 2013 Provincetown international Film Festival; Best Documentary at the 2013 San Francisco IFF, both awards were to Neville and Tremolo Productions. Neville was awarded best documentary Feature at the RiverRun IFF and best documentary at the Seattle IFF. The film was also nominated at the Sundance Festival in two categories, editing and grand jury prize for a documentary film.20 Feet From Stardom will be shown at the Gem Theatre at 7:30 p.m.Thanks to our sponsors and supporters, Maureen and Marius Paquet, Rotten Tomatoes, IMDB.