Crazy - Film Inspired by the Life of Guitar Legend Hank Garland
Crazy, an independent feature film inspired by the tragic life and groundbreaking music of legendary 1950s-era guitarist Hank Garland, is an official selection at the first annual Paso Robles Digital Film Festival in Paso Robles, CA - the heart of "Cowboy Wine Country." The theme for year one of what will be an annual festival exploring the film industry in the digital age is "Music In Film, " making PRDFF an ideal showcase for CRAZY. The award-winning film will be screened on Saturday, November 22 at 6PM at the Martin & Weyrich Winery Tasting Room (2610 Buena Vista Drive Paso Robles, 93446). CRAZY's associate producer Joel McDonell will introduce the film on behalf of director Rick Bieber, who is currently wrapping production on the forthcoming film The 5th Quarter (2009).
Waylon Payne, acclaimed for his debut role as Jerry Lee Lewis in the Oscar-winning Walk The Line, stars as Hank Garland in a performance that has drawn wide critical acclaim. In addition to acting, Payne is a country artist with deep musical roots. Named for his godfather, Waylon Jennings, he's the son of GRAMMY-winning country singer Sammi Smith and Jody Payne, longtime guitarist for Willie Nelson. When CRAZY was recently screened in Nashville at a special event hosted by the non-profit artists' rights organization Nashville Songwriters Association International, the Nashville City Paper praised his work as, "a sensational portrayal by Waylon Payne, " and called the film, "wonderful and inspiring."
Payne headlines CRAZY opposite Ali Larter (Heroes, Legally Blonde, etc), who plays Hank's beautiful but deeply troubled wife Evelyn Garland. Among the other cast members are: Lane Garrison as Billy Garland; Scott Michael Campbell as fellow guitar ace Billy Byrd; singer Stacy Earl, as country crooner Goldie Hill; Evans Forde as Nashville legend Chet Atkins; Ryan Cross, as jazz bassist Joe Benjamin; and Shawn Colvin and Katharine McPhee in cameo roles. CRAZY was directed by Rick Bieber, and produced by Ray Scherr and guitar hero Steve Vai (who also performs a cameo as Hank Williams) under the Favored Nations Films mantle.
Throughout the year, CRAZY has won major awards at many festivals, including Best Feature honors at Colorado's Breckenridge Festival of Film - where Payne also won for Best Actor - the Long Island International Film Festival, Big Island Film Festival and the Hoboken Film Festival, as well as the Jury Award for Best Feature at the Charleston International Film Festival. For Charleston's Post and Courier, Bill Thompson wrote, "CRAZY has a bedrock feel of authenticity ... a lively, emotionally resonant movie that is an uncommonly seamless meld of character study and period recreation."
Other awards include: the Daily News Award for Best Screenplay - for a script co-written by director Rick Bieber, Jason Ehlers and Brent Boyd - at the Method Fest in Calabasas, CA; Best Cinematography at the Boston Int'l Film Festival; Best of Show at NC's Real To Reel Int'l Film Festival; Audience Choice Award at the Sacramento Film & Music Festival; and Best Soundtrack at the Rhode Island Int'l Film Festival (CRAZY's music was produced by multiple- GRAMMY-winning producer Larry Klein). On an especially meaningful note, CRAZY won the top Vanguard Award at Florida's Jacksonville Int'l Film Festival. Hank Garland lived his last four decades near Jacksonville with his brother and manager Billy Garland and Billy's wife Amy, who attended the screening (Hank Garland consulted on CRAZY during the last months of his life)
CRAZY chronicles Hank Garland's rise to fame in Nashville, from playing on hits for some of country and early rock 'n' roll music's most famous and influential icons through his brief but influential solo career as a visionary jazz artist. It also explores his tempestuous marriage as well as his repeated clashes with the "Nashville Mob" - who then controlled the country music establishment - over artist's rights, civil rights and other issues. The car crash and electroshock treatments that eventually ended Garland's performing career and derailed his life are starkly portrayed, and the enormity of what was lost is deeply felt.
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