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deadCenter projects success with ‘Talihina Sky' opening

Documentary about rock group Kings of Leon opened this year's deadCenter Film Festival
BY GEORGE LANG Published: June 9, 2011

As crews outside Red Prime Steak prepared for the 9:30 p.m. Wednesday screening of “Talihina Sky: The Story of Kings of Leon,” the opening screening of this year's deadCenter Film Festival, executive director Lance McDaniel marveled at how the festival, now in its 11th year, always seems to hit its mark.

“I'm just proud to be part of this organization,” said McDaniel, who took over leadership of the festival last year. “There's only two staff members, and we're able to put on a program for 15,000 people because of the volunteers and because of the people who buy into it and support it across the community. That's been really great to see.”

McDaniel was preparing for a large portion of that community to turn out for the open-air screening of “Talihina Sky,” projected on a giant screen stretched across a blocked-off section of Broadway near NW 5. The documentary, directed by Stephen Mitchell and produced by Casey McGrath, chronicles the rise of Kings of Leon, the band's beginnings in the Pentecostal church, and the members' regular attendance at a family reunion in Talihina.

Mitchell said he met the band — brothers Caleb, Nathan and Jared Followill and their cousin, Matthew Followill — when he was working in the music industry and signed the brothers to a songwriting contract. This was more than 10 years ago, before the young men became Kings of Leon and long before they became one of the most successful bands in modern rock. Mitchell said there was a level of trust between him and the band that was crucial to making “Talihina Sky.”

“I think that's why they provided me with the opportunity to tell the story,” Mitchell said. “A lot of their goal was to be accurate in telling their story. The band is huge overseas, obviously, so people around the world have tried to tell their story and have gotten close, but I think the boys wanted someone who they trusted would tell it accurately.”

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