Documentary about Tower Records debuts at SXSW festival

AP News
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Posted: Mar 17, 2015 7:03 PM
Documentary about Tower Records debuts at SXSW festival

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A documentary about the legacy of Tower Records, the retail store that dominated for decades before filing for bankruptcy in 2006, earned a standing ovation Tuesday at the South by Southwest festival.

"All Things Must Pass" had its world premiere at the ZACH Theatre in Austin, Texas. It explores the rise and fall of Tower Records, which launched in 1960 in a Sacramento drugstore and eventually opened 200 stores in 30 countries.

In 1999, it made $1 billion.

Colin Hanks, the Golden Globe and Emmy-nominated actor, directed the documentary, which is his first feature. He spent seven years working on the film and said he decided to make it because of his love for music.

"No one else had done it. No one else was doing it," said Hanks, who grew up in Sacramento. "I'm a big music fanatic."

Hanks launched a Kickstarter campaign in 2011 and raised $92,000 to fund the documentary.

Founder Russ Solomon told stories vivaciously throughout the "All Things Must Pass," which featured a number of former Tower employees, most of whom started as clerks and later became executives at the company after working there for 30-plus years. Former employees Heidi Cotler and Stan Goman were in the audience.

"As soon as we met (Russ), he immediately said, 'Really you should be talking to all of the other people because they're the ones that really made Tower special,'" Hanks said. "It took us a while ... to find out really what the heart of the story was, and what it was was the family that came together and did something incredibly special and unique."

Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, Dave Grohl and record executive David Geffen also made appearances in the film, telling stories of Tower's legacy and importance to musicians and the record industry.

Tower struggled in the 2000s when the Internet and piracy began to hit a high note in the music industry. The store also struck competition with discounters such as Best Buy and Wal-Mart, who undercut Tower's prices and hurt the chain's earnings.

Though Tower Records shut down in the United States, it still has locations throughout Japan.

Hanks, the son of Tom Hanks, has appeared in the TV series "Fargo" and "Dexter." He founded the production house Company Name with Sean Stuart, who produced "All Things Must Pass."

The music portion of SXSW kicked off Tuesday until Sunday. The film portion wraps Saturday.

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Online:

http://sxsw.com/