Sundance Rocks: New Music Docs From Beasties, Police, Neil Young, More

Film fest report: Music docs debut from Beasties, Police, Neil Young, Leonard Cohen

Mike Diamond, Adam Horovitz and Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys of the film 'Awesome: I F*ckin' Shot That!' poses for a portrait at the Getty Images Portrait Studio during the 2006 Sundance Film Festival on January 23th, 2006 in Park City, Utah. Credit: Mark Mainz/Getty

Rockers took Park City, Utah, by storm as a slew of music-related movies premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in late January. Metallica, who have a cameo in the black comedy The Darwin Awards, played a midnight set for sweaty celebs, and 1,200 fans packed into the local club Legacy Lodge to see the Beastie Boys. Spotted around town: the Edge, Tommy Lee, Neil Young and all three members of the famously fractious Police, who threw back some shots together. "It's an amazing festival," Beastie Boy Adam Yauch said during Sundance's final weekend, adding that bewildered locals were likely ready for all the excitement to end. "I met a hillbilly dude at the supermarket who was like, 'I can't wait till Monday.'"

Awesome: I Fuckin' Shot That!
Before a 2004 gig in New York, the Beastie Boys gave fifty Hi-8 video cameras to fans and mixed that footage with some from more high-end cameras to make this concert film. "Eighty-five to ninety percent of what we used was shot by the audience," says Yauch.

Everyone Stares: The Police Inside and Out
As the Police rose from punk oddities to rock juggernauts, drummer Stewart Copeland's Super-8 camera was rolling, documenting daily life and intraband dynamics. "I hope it shows that this thing about the Police fighting all the time is just not true," Copeland says.

Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man
This tribute to legendary singer-songwriter Cohen – curiously, produced by Mel Gibson – combines footage from a series of Cohen-themed concerts by Rufus Wainwright, Beth Orton, Jarvis Cocker and U2 alongside interviews with the man himself. "I'm just in awe of his discipline and creative stamina," says the Edge. "I thought we were dogged and relentless, but this guy is on another level."

Neil Young: Heart of Gold
Jonathan Demme captured Young's two-night stand at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium in August, a month before Young released Prairie Wind and five months after he underwent treatment for a brain aneurysm. "Many of these songs were written while Neil was waiting to do the corrective operation," says Demme. "This stuff comes from a unique place in his soul and in his life."

American Hardcore
Based on Steven Blush's book of the same name, this doc chronicles the early days of punk's louder, angrier offshoot, with live footage of early-Eighties shows and interviews with icons like Bad Brains and Black Flag. "Back then, if we weren't ignored by mainstream publications, we were reported about in a negative context," says the Circle Jerks' Greg Hetson. "Now everybody looks back to it as this great explosion of musical ideas."

This story is from the February 23rd, 2006 issue of Rolling Stone.