Documentarian and long time fan and admirer of the Grateful Dead Amir Bar-Lev knows that the idea of a four hour documentary chronicling the lucrative, beloved, and artistically forward American rock band sounds daunting and overwhelming to the uninitiated. The culture that surrounded the Grateful Dead at the peak of their popularity – as well as the psychedelic, bluesy tunes they cranked out every night on their seemingly never ending tours – are like doctorate level classes in musical theory, appreciation, and history. There might not have been a more truly and uniquely American rock band than the Grateful Dead, but “getting into” their extensive catalogue comes with a huge learning curve.
Long Strange Trip
The votes for the Audience Awards at this year’s Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival have been coming in, and six of the top ten vote-getters so far this year have been some of our top picks. Here are five more from today’s day four line-up that we hope are destined for similar critical and audience acclaim.