After a virtual installment last year and a Texas run in Austin two weeks ago, Sound Unseen is back where it started this week: in movie theaters in Minneapolis.
The 22nd annual film festival for music fans returns to in-person Twin Cities screenings starting Wednesday night with dueling documentaries on Alanis Morissette and Dinosaur Jr. at the Parkway Theater and Trylon Cinema, respectively.
Through the weekend, the fest will also screen new movies on cultishly loved acts such as Gwar, Skating Polly, Deadguy, Fanny, Teenage Head and, ahem, Kenny G. It is also showing films that chronicle fascinating hidden scenes such as Sioux Falls' punk community, Nashville lesbian musicians and even a Jehovah's Witness rock 'n' roll underground.
Sound Unseen is now operated in two segments on opposite ends of Interstate-35, after the festival's longtime director Jim Brunzell moved to Austin, Texas — which has a strong film community and almost as good a music scene as Minneapolis. Last year, he and his team maintained the festival via virtual screenings, many of which they are still offering this year alongside the in-person events.
See a full list of films and viewing options as well as ticket links via soundunseen.com. Here are five movies that especially caught our attention on the schedule:
Music lovers who weren't tuned to the radio and MTV in the 1990s might forget how massive and equally celebrated and harangued Alanis Morissette became at age 21 in 1995, following the release of her debut album "Jagged Little Pill." This new HBO doc is already earning raves — though not from Morissette herself — for its depiction of how the Canadian singer navigated that mega-fame. Director Allison Klayman and producer M. Jaye Callahan will be on hand for a Q&A at the screening. (7:30 p.m. Wed., Nov. 10, Parkway Theater, 4814 Chicago Av. S., Mpls., $12)
"FREAK SCENE: THE STORY OF DINOSAUR JR."
With their much-anticipated First Avenue show postponed until September 2022, J. Mascis and his roaring Boston trio are giving Minnesota fans a fix of their noisy bliss and uncharacteristically opening up on screen about their tumultuous 37-year run in this new German-made rock doc. (9:15 p.m. Wed., Trylon Cinema, 2820 E. 33rd St., Mpls., $12.)
One that can clearly be filed under the "Who Knew?" category, this documentary tells the unlikely story of a Jehovah's Witness punk, indie-rock and dance music scene that grew out of the Twin Cities via the record label Nuclear Gopher. Talk about musicians daring to be different. Director Scott Homan will be on hand for a Q&A. (6:30 p.m. Fri., Women's Club of Minneapolis, 410 Oak Grove St., $12.)
"FANNY: THE RIGHT TO ROCK"
Many of the best rock docs are about unsung pioneers, and the members of Fanny definitely fit that description. Led by two Filipino American sisters out of Sacramento, the heavy and hazy quartet is cited as the first all-female rock band to make a major-label album and has earned cult status in recent years. They're still around to tell their story and reunite on screen. (4 p.m. Sun., Parkway Theater, $12.)
"THE MATERIAL ISSUE STORY"
Chicago rock trio Material Issue blew up in the middle of grunge's early-'90s heyday with the fun and feisty pop hits "Valerie Loves Me" and "What Girls Want," but their impressive run came to an abrupt halt with frontman Jim Ellison's suicide. His bandmates Ted Ansani and Mike Zelenko help tell their story and will be on hand for a Q&A along with director Balin Schneider. (7 p.m. Sun., Parkway Theater, $12.)