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Film Festival Today

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Jonathan’s Demme’s Neil Young Connection

Written by: FFT Webmaster | September 16th, 2011

NEIL YOUNG’S JOURNEY, a concert film by Jonathan Demme that has its world premiere this week at the Toronto International Film Festival, is the fourth collaboration between the veteran singer/songwriter and the Oscar winning film director. The long-time friends have joined forces for three concert films, including the earlier NEIL YOUNG: HEART OF GOLD and NEIL YOUNG TRUNK SHOW, which all played here in Toronto. However, at, Monday night’s premiere screening, Demme shared that their first collaboration was his use of a Neil Young classic rock tune for his landmark film PHILADELPHIA in 1993. “I had decided to use Neil’s song “Southern Man” under the film’s opening credits as an attempt to reach out to homophobic young men”, Demme shared. “We didn’t want to preach to the choir with this thing,” he said of the Tom Hanks-starrer about a lawyer dying of AIDS. “I wanted to reassure the guys that Neil thinks this is okay,” he recalled. However, Young had written a new song, titled “Philadelphia”, which eventually was used in the film’s closing credits. At the same time, rocker Bruce Springsteen, who also wanted in on the project, wrote the haunting “Streets Of Philadelphia”, which was used as the film’s opening credit sequence and went on to win an Oscar as Best Song.

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