Stars ace music producer Mark Hallman and his Austin, Texas recording studio. Everybody is talking about Spotify, Pandora, etc and the pros and cons of ‘free’ music and music streaming generally. Musician and filmmaker Rain Perry, in a striking debut film, confronts this fundamental issue, and what it means for music, head on by telling the story of The Congress House Studio and ‘The Shopkeeper’ aka ace musician and music producer Mark Hallman.
Mark’s Congress House Studio is the longest continuously operating recording studio in Austin, Texas. But this film shows Mark Hallman struggling to keep his studio open in the era of streaming. Times are tough for studios and producers. Yet it is producers, along with the recording studios where they work, that provide the vital spark for great music and very often a way of connecting musicians together. The studio is a hub for creative work and a centre of knowledge.
Funny, pertinent, insightful, intimate, with great music and interviews with Ani DiFranco, Eliza Gilkyson, Iain Matthews, Tom Russell and many more, plus wonderful archive footage, The Shopkeeper captures both the resolute spirit and the frustration felt by musicians today. And in many ways it tells and celebrates much of the story of music from back in the 1960s right up until today.
Rain Perry is the film’s remarkable director. She runs Precipitous Records, is an award-winning songwriter, a musician, an actress, playwright, event organiser and now film director-producer. Rain Perry on the film: “It seemed the right time to make this movie. This is a story that needs to be told. There’s something a music producer brings that you can’t bring yourself. That’s being lost. The style of the movie, I wanted to be in keeping with the subject and to embody the spirit of the independent musicians it’s about. At the same time, we deployed all of the resources available to ensure we have great music and great quality sound.”
“Beautiful film! I loved it!” – Mary Gauthier
- BBFC rating
- Running time
- 92 mins
- Rain Perry