Director Thom Zimny and Soul Music Legend David Porter Discuss the new HBO Documentary, ELVIS PRESLEY: THE SEARCHER
— April 13, 2018
Known as the “King of Rock N’ Roll”, Elvis Presley created a revolutionary sound and left an incomparable mark on the music industry that can still be felt to this day.
On the heels of its world premiere at the recent 2018 SXSW Film Festival, ELVIS PRESLEY: THE SEARCHER is a new HBO documentary that explores the legendary musician’s creative journey, from childhood to his final 1976 recording sessions in the Jungle Room at Graceland. The film also features interviews with Priscilla Presley, Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, and more.
Director Thom Zimny and soul music legend David Porter recently discussed the documentary and shared their impressions of one of the biggest stars in music history.
The influence of Memphis:Thom Zimny: “In the documentary, I try to be as clear as possible to how Elvis was influenced by the music of Memphis. The voices of David Porter and Tom Petty give detail to what it was like to grow up there and to the musical influences that surrounded Elvis”.
David Porter: “The common thread that runs through great Memphis music is emotional connectivity. You can’t help but feel the passion, the pain, the joy that comes when true Memphis artists put their truth into the song that they are singing. The “it” factor comes only through the great ones”.
Elvis performing R&B covers:DP: “We felt that maybe he was opening up a market that had been not fully opening up to black music, breaking down barriers to a greater appreciation of what black music truly was. That opened up more doors for artists like Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Fats Domino, Brook Benton, and so many others. He was not Pat Boone, because he was soulfully expressing the songs with a R&B flair, showing what black music was through his perspective”.
How Elvis will be remembered by future generations:TZ: “I hope future generations take away that Elvis had so much more to give than what they’ve usually been able to access. I hope as a filmmaker that this documentary conveys the message of his love of music, but also his humour and his love for his family”.
What they took away from the film on a personal level:TZ: “On a personal level, the film was a wonderful emotional journey, where every day I felt I was discovering something new. Each interview brought out new stories and details about this amazing artist. What surprised me the most was how little he has been understood”.
DP: “This documentary gives the complete picture of the person, his greatness, some of his secrets, some of his ups, some of his downs and an abundance of his power”.
ELVIS PRESLEY: THE SEARCHER premieres Saturday, April 14 at 8 p.m. ET, on HBO Canada, day-and-date with HBO in the US.