The estate of Tom Petty will screen Tom Petty, Somewhere You Feel Free: The Making of ‘Wildflowers’ in theaters on Oct. 20, which would have been Petty’s 71st birthday. The film debuted last March as an Official SXSW 2021 Selection and won Best Documentary Film at the Boulder Film Festival earlier this year.
The documentary focuses on the years 1993-95, when Petty wrote the majority of his critically acclaimed 1994 solo album, Wildflowers, and uses footage shot on 16mm film. Somewhere You Feel Free includes new interviews with the album’s coproducer, Rick Rubin, and Heartbreakers Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench.
“Back in 1994, I was a young associate producer at VH1 when I got to work on a documentary about Tom Petty at the time that he was releasing Wildflowers,” director Mary Wharton wrote in a statement. “The interview shoot was in Los Angeles, and that was the first time I’d ever been to California. It rained so hard the entire time that I never got to see the California sun. But I got to meet Tom Petty and work with an early mentor, Tom Kaniewski, who taught me how music docs are made. The last words spoken in Somewhere You Feel Free come from that 1994 interview, and if you listen closely, you can hear the rain in the background. ‘Everybody’s been knocked around a little bit,’ Petty reminds us in the clip, ‘but you’ve got to keep some faith in yourself, and you’ll probably be all right.'”
You can see a clip from Tom Petty, Somewhere You Feel Free: The Making of ‘Wildflowers’ below.
Wharton – whose credits include Jimmy Carter: Rock and Roll President, Sam Cooke: Legend and Elvis Lives! – said “the lesson of Wildflowers is that we all belong somewhere we feel free. I’ll be forever grateful that Tom Petty came into my life to teach me that, right when I needed it most.”
The movie will screen for one night only on Oct. 20, though select theaters will present an encore showing on Oct. 21. Tickets for Tom Petty, Somewhere You Feel Free: The Making of Wildflowers are available now.
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He’s a rock ‘n’ roll rarity: an artist who was consistent until the very end.