IFH 134: Chasing Sly and the Family Stone Documentary for 12 years with Michael Rubenstone

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SPECIAL SUNDANCE EDITION of the Indie Film Hustle Podcast

We all hear stories of filmmakers working on films for years and years. Well, I don’t know about you but I’ve never met one until now. In my journeys at Sundance and Slamdance, I met one of these crazy and passionate filmmakers, his name is Michael Rubenstone. Michael the director of the documentary On the Sly: In Search of the Family Stone, which premiered at this year’s Slamdance Film Festival. 

When I heard his crazy story I had to have him on the show. Michael has been chasing Sly from Sly and the Family Stones for over 12 years. The stories he told us in the interview were insane. Talk about passion. We can all learn something about dedication, persistence and just plain nuts.

Here’s a bit about the film: Director and super-fan Michael Rubenstone sets out in search of long-time reclusive funk legend, Sly Stone. Along the way, he meets with some success but finds countless more failures in trying to capture a man who refuses to be contained.

Have you ever sat in your parked car for several minutes, just to hear the end of a song on the radio or savor the feeling that such a song gave you? In On the Sly, a music fan’s archival fervor and optimistic investigation take us beyond a sensationalized or simplified history of Sly and the Family Stone and bring us into a world where it is unthinkable to turn off the radio before the song is through.

The elusiveness of frontman Sly prompts both filmmaker and viewer to consider how much we project onto our heroes, and how their continued inaccessibility is, despite our frustration, often vital to continuing the work of discovering ourselves and how we use music and art to bond with one another beyond simply moving our bodies to the beat. – Beth Prouty, Slamdance Programmer

Sit back and enjoy the amazing conversation I and my co-host Teri Gamble had with director Michael Rubenstone.

All of these Sundance Series episodes are co-produced by Sebastian Twardosz from Circus Road Films and Media Circus.

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