By Phil Gallo (Billboard), Los Angeles
On the streets of Austin, Texas, between March 9-17, Goh Nakamura is likely to not stand out too much, especially if he if he is carrying his guitar case. He lives about an hour outside of San Francisco, has a couple of self-released albums and his stories are the sort that thousands of independent artists undoubtedly share. His unique twist is that his stories -- some real, some fabricated -- have been turned into films.
Nakamura is the star of Dave Boyle's "Daylight Savings," a black and white road movie of sorts in which Nakamura plays himself in a semi-fictional setting -- musician, on the road, battling conflicting emotions, bad ideas and a broken heart. "Daylight Savings" is among the 74 films receiving their world premieres at SXSW, debuting March 10 at 5 p.m. at the Alamo Lamar.
In the film, Nakamura has sold a song, "Daylight Savings," to a pharmaceutical company to use on its commercial for an anti-depressant. The money from the spot has afforded him the opportunity to embark on the largest tour of his career, a trek complicated when his long-distance girlfriend ends their relationship.
It's Boyle ("The Exquisite Corpse Project") and Nakamura's second film together, the first being 2011's "Surrogate Valentine" that also premiered at SXSW and went on to have about 30 screenings in the U.S. and Canada. Nakamura, who gets a screenwriting credit but contends its simply snippets of texts he sends Boyle, often traveled with the film, performing after screenings.
"I was a guitar teacher at a school outside San Francisco and took a year off (for 'Surrogate Valentine') but it looks like I'll need a longer sabbatical," Nakamura said during a recent visit to Los Angeles to work on the sound mix of the film and perform at UCLA. Nakamura, a metal musician and Berklee student in the 1990s, has rarely toured outside California, even after an early video he made developed a following on YouTube about five years ago.
"Daylight Savings" was shot in 15 days during a road trip that took Nakamura, Boyle and the cast from the Bay Area to a deserted town in central California to Las Vegas and then Los Angeles. Nakamura, who says his soft, folk-ish music was inspired by Elliott Smith and Crowded House's Neil Finn, penned the score and provided a few songs. The San Francisco minimalist pop-rock trio Dreamdate also performs in the film and its leader, Yea-Ming, portrays herself as something of a dream date for Nakamura.
The SXSW Film Conference and Festival opens March 9 with the world premiere of Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard's "The Cabin in the Woods." The closing night film, "Big Easy Express," will feature performances members of Mumford & Sons, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros and Old Crow Medicine Show at the Paramount Theatre.
Before heading to Austin this week, Nakamura launched a Kickstarter project to turn his music from the films into his third album, which he intends to title "Motion From the Music Picture." His request for $5,000 in pledges was exceeded within two days.
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