Sunday, June 24, 2012

Silverdocs - Don't Stop Believin': Everyman's Journey

Silverdocs opened with Don't Stop Believin, Ramona Diaz's (second from the left) film about Arnel Pineda, a Phillipino singer who got discovered on YouTube by iconic American band Journey and is now their lead singer. It was great to have such a joyful film to kick off the festival, and it was cool seeing Neil Shohn (fourth from the left) in the flesh - I can't believe Arnel wasn't there himself, though. That was kind of a disappointment.

The story follows Arnel on his first tour with Journey, then when he goes back to the Phillipine's afterwards. They interweave this with Arnel's personal history as well as the band's history. Arnel really is a great singer and while he doesn't seem like an obvious choice for Journey, you sort of get used to seeing them together after a little while and he gives a little international flavor to the all-American classic rock group.

The film is so much fun! And for a high pressure, extensive national tour, there's not much drama. My main critique would be that the film could be about 15-20 minutes shorter (precisely because of the lack of drama). It starts to feel a bit repetitive after a while and some stuff could definitely be taken out without hurting the story. But the music is great, Arnel is a loveable character and it was a really nice look inside the band Journey. Overall an enjoyable film and an interesting story that would be almost unbelievable if it weren't a documentary.

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