WILMINGTON >> A project tying visuals with audio tells the tale of musicians from western Massachusetts as they travel the Bay State together.
Filmmaker Tim Bradley, who shoots corporate videos and documentary films, was approached by one of his best friends, Tory Hanna, a singer and songwriter who performed in the Whiskey Treaty Music Festival in Greenfield, Mass.
"They have been hosting this festival annually," said Bradley. "They decided to take it on the road."
The festival was created by Hanna's wife Susie as a way to highlight local talent. It was held for two years before participants decided to get in a bus and bring the show to other parts of the state.
The idea was to take the festival a step further and shoot music videos at historic and iconic locations in Massachusetts. Altogether, four shows and five music videos were filmed.
From there, Bradley put together a short documentary called "The Whiskey Treaty Roadshow." He said themes of the film involved collaboration, independent musicianship and "hat tipping" to the state where all the band members came from.
The 24-minute film was shown in several festivals around the United States, winning "Best Music Documentary Short" at the Annual Bare Bones International Independent Film, Arts and Music Festival in Oklahoma; "Best Regional Documentary" jury award and "Best Documentary Short" audience award at the SENE Film, Music and Arts Festival in Rhode Island; "Best Documentary" in the Annual Visionfest Film Festival in New York City; "Best Short Documentary" at the Woods Hole Film Festival in Cape Cod, Mass.; and "Best Documentary Short" in the Desert Rocks Film and Music Event in California. The film was shown at over a dozen other festivals and received several other nominations.
"It's just been really fun to screen these," Bradley said. "Another theme in the film is sense of community. It can really resonate anywhere we screen it."
On Saturday, May 21, at Memorial Hall in Wilmington, The Whiskey Treaty will perform after the film is shown and Bradley holds a question-and-answer session. Tickets are available at historicmemorialhall.com for $12 in advance and $15 at the door. The film is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m.
Hanna did not expect the tour to become what it did. He said Bradley had submitted the film to festivals with money out of his own pocket. Then the performers began following the festival circuit, becoming more and more like a band in the process.
The Tribecca Film Festival in New York City brought back particularly fond memories.
"Tim's (Bradley) film had a packed audience in the theater. They were all watching it silently, laughing at all the right moments," Hanna said. "We played in an after-hours party in the lounge afterwards. Little moments like that were just amazing."
After each screening, Hanna said the music was sounding better and better. And larger crowds were pouring into the venues.
"Now we're rocking and rolling. It's a full-on project. It's hard to keep up with," said Hanna, who is finishing up his studies at SIT Graduate Institute in Brattleboro this August.
He anticipates "a slew" of SIT students will be coming out for Saturday night's gig.
"It's really cool to screen the film then have the guys play," said Bradley. "It's almost like they're movie stars when they walk out and play for you."
He said the film gives the audience a greater appreciation of where the musicians are coming from.
The project piqued the interest of those who book acts at Memorial Hall.
"I basically saw an advertisement for the band playing at a festival somewhere," said Joe Levy, chairman of the Historic Memorial Hall Board. "I did a little research, found a movie trailer and got excited about the film. I thought it would be the perfect blend of film and live music. Combining those two art forms is neat."
Last fall, the group recorded a live album called "The Heart of the Run." The album marks their first. It can be found at thewhiskeytreaty.com. Bradley assisted in releasing music videos on a weekly basis.
Contact Chris Mays at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-254-2311, ext. 273.