Documentary focuses on 30-year history of Fishbone

Editor's note: This corrects where "Everday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone" premiered.

When Irvine filmmaker Lev Anderson set out to make a music documentary, he needed a band whose personality and story was as captivating as its music.

He found all of that and more in punk rock-fusion legends Fishbone. The resulting film, "Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone," named for one of their hits, will screen at the Newport Beach Film Festival on May 4. The film follows the eccentric band members' rise and plummet from the limelight.

"Chris Metzler, my co-director on this project, and I are attracted to stories about outsiders and people living on the fringes," Anderson said. "Fishbone is a band that fit everywhere and nowhere."

Nothing encapsulates this more than a clip from the documentary in which funk legend George Clinton described the band as "too white for black people and too black for white people."

Anderson and Metzler spent about three years with Fishbone, learning the early history of the band formed in 1979 as the tumultuous years of the '80s and '90s shaped the black community in Los Angeles and the band's music, he said.

What the filmmakers did not want to do in creating the documentary, Anderson said, was portray the film as "the last word on Fishbone."

The band, known for underground hits like "Party at Ground Zero," has lost members over its 30-year history, but it remains as optimistic and passionate about their music as in the early days, Anderson said.

"We wanted to treat the band as a living entity," Anderson said. "They're still out there playing today and dedicated to music as they've always been. It allows for this human element in the film that anyone can identify with, even if they haven't heard of Fishbone before."

The film has already won five awards since its premiere at the 2010 Los Angeles Film Festival, including the DocUtah 2010 award for Best Directing and Jury Award for Best Feature Documentary, and the San Francisco DocFest 2010 Audience Award for Best Feature Documentary.

Once Anderson has finished the festival circuit for "Everyday Sunshine," he plans to start on his next documentary, he said.

The documentary will focus on Irvine and present a "larger discussion about how we want to live in the changing economy and changing climate of the 21st century," he said.

Anderson is considering using archival footage in combination with live interviews from Irvine residents, he said.

While Anderson was not ready to release specific details just yet, he said that the film will be in production this year and may be complete in time for the Newport Beach Film Festival 2012.

"The project is still developing, but I'm really looking forward to getting out there and meeting folks and talking about Irvine," he said.

If You Go

What: "Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone" at the Newport Beach Film Festival

When: 7:30 p.m. May 4

Where: Starlight Triangle Square Cinemas, Theater 1


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