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Saturday, March 2
The Indiana Daily Student


Bloomington premiere of 'Blaze' at the Wood Shop


Blaze Foley was a famous singer-songwriter who worked with the likes of Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson. He wrote songs such as “If Only I Could Fly” and “Clay Pigeons.” His website describes his music as thought-provoking, intense and humorous. He died in 1989, but for many of his supporters, his legacy still lives on.

The film “Blaze,” based off the life of Blaze Foley, will have its Bloomington premiere at 8 p.m. Friday at the Upland Brewing Co's Wood Shop.

The event was created by Cicada Cinema, a group that screens films in town that aren’t shown at places like the movie theaters. Their showings include older films, newer underrepresented films and local films. It is completely run by volunteers.

“Blaze Foley was a poet and ace finger picker, a walking contradiction, equal parts spiritual and troubled,” according to the website dedicated to Foley. “A genius and beautiful loser, but most importantly, he was a songwriter who poured his entire soul into his art.”

The film was based on the book “Living in the Woods in a Tree.” It was directed by Ethan Hawke, known for “The Hottest State,” and acting in films such as “The Magnificent Seven” and “Dead Poets Society.” "Blaze" won best narrative feature at the Lousiana International Film Festival. 

The book is written by Sybil Rosen, an old lover of Foley who had a solid relationship with him for two years. Rosen's character is played by Alia Shawkat, known for her role in "Arrested Development."

Brian Hettmansperger, the retail manager, said the Wood Shop is the production facility for Upland's wood-aged sours. 

“I think we all wanted to show a new film, something that hadn't been shown in Bloomington before,” said Nile Arena, a member of Cicada Cinema. “'Blaze also seemed to fit with the rustic aesthetic of the Wood Shop with its huge barrels of sour beer.”

“Blaze” includes Foley’s re-imagined highs, lows, loves and troubles on the big screen. The film stars Ben Dickey as Foley and was featured at the Sundance Film Festival this year. Dickey won a special jury prize at the festival for his acting in the film. 

“Blaze Foley's legacy could have been forgotten and lost to time, but this film is a beautiful tribute to the life and music of an artist that brought such beauty and complexity into this world,” Josh Brewer, another member of Cicada Cinema, said. “Whether or not you're a county music fan, it's a treat to see a film that paints a honest portrait of a truly unique soul.” 

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