The Mill Valley Film Festival taking place October 6 to 16, 2016, revealed its first film selection today, the California premiere of the music documentary BANG! THE BERT BERNS STORY.
Filmmakers Bob Sarles and Brett Berns are expected to attend and the film’s screening will be accompanied by a live music celebration of Bert Berns’ hits.
You may have never heard of Bert Berns, but you know the enduring songs he’s written and produced: Twist & Shout, Cry to Me, Tell Him, Piece of My Heart, Brown-Eyed Girl, Hang On Sloopy, Everybody Needs Somebody to Love – Berns’ career IS Rock ’n’ Roll. Berns sessions made legends of Solomon Burke, The Isley Brothers, The Drifters, Ben E. King, Wilson Pickett, Van Morrison, and Neil Diamond, and his songs became chart-topping covers for the likes of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Animals and Janis Joplin. His premature death at 38 cut short a seven-year streak of hits, rooted in his early Brill Building days, through his tenure at Atlantic Records to the formation and success of his own labels Bang Records and Shout Records. This exhilarating documentary beats a peripatetic pace through the history of 60’s R&B-fueled rock as driven by the man who propelled the most emotive, dynamic and sublime soundtrack of the era.
Co-directed by Bay Area filmmaker Bob Sarles (MVFF36, Sweet Blues: The Mike Bloomfield Story) and Berns’ son Brett Berns, BANG! premiered at SXSW 2016 and features narration by Steven Van Zandt and interviews with Van Morrison, Paul McCartney, Solomon Burke, Ronald Isley, Brenda Reid, Ben E. King, members of the Berns family and many more. Both filmmakers are expected to attend festival screenings. A live musical performance at the Sweetwater Music Hall honoring Berns’ music will be programmed in conjunction with the film as part of the MVFF Music Series.
On April 8th, 2016, Berns was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, with the Ahmet Ertegun Lifetime Achievement Award. The ceremony’s first broadcast will air on HBO, Saturday, April 30th.