Mushroom Group’s latest venture will take artists, their music, and the stories behind it all to the silver screen.
Announced Wednesday (Aug. 11), Long Play Music Films is the indie powerhouse’s new film distribution and production arm, with an ambition to showcase the latest and the best music documentaries, biopics and concert films.
Mushroom Group veteran Warren Costello is named Director of Long Play Music Films, which launches proper with Emer Reynolds’ award-winning Phil Lynott: Songs For While I’m Away, a doco on the late Thin Lizzy great, due out in cinemas next month.
Long Play Music Films materialises from the mind of the late Mushroom Group founder Michael Gudinski, who, as the pandemic shut down live entertainment and threatened the company he built, switched gears in 2020 with a string of music ventures for TV and online including The Sound and The State of Music.
“Long Play is one of the things we were talking about right up until just before he passed,” explains Costello, who continues to guide the Bloodlines label, also part of the Melbourne-based Mushroom Group.
“We were trying to cook up ideas, ones that would complement each other, and this was one of them. I’m pretty determined to see it through.”
The extended vision for Long Play would see its productions play out in large rooms with glorious, high-res audio, in addition to releases on streaming platforms and physical formats. “Michael and I loved the idea of putting them in cinemas,” notes Costello. “The idea of putting them in the cinema with big sound and vision, that was the exciting part. Hopefully (COVID) will turn around at some point.”
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Phil Lynott: Songs For While I’m Away traces the life and career of the Irish rocker, who passed away in 1986. With a bank of hits including ‘The Boys Are Back In Town’ and ‘Whiskey in the Jar,’ Thin Lizzy are considered one of the most influential rock groups not yet inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame.
The film features footage of the band’s legendary 1978 Sydney Opera House concert, along with interviews with Adam Clayton of U2, Metallica’s James Hetfield, Suzi Quatro, Midge Ure and Huey Lewis.
Songs For While I’m Away will get its Australian premiere at the Irish Film Festival, which takes place online Sept. 3-12, followed by a limited run in cinemas from September 29.
It’s the first of what should be many for the new theatrical unit.
“Internationally, every week there seems to be something new on Apple, Netflix or one of the other platforms,” Costello notes. “If you just zero in on Australia, there’s so many great music stories to be told.”