This is a short film I commissioned to create for the Silver Lake film festival in Los Angeles. It is based on an obscure letter written by Jimi Hendrix. I wrote, directed, produced and edited. Below are the original notes from the festival.
In 1965, two years before Jimi Hendrix would go to London and become a legend, he wrote a letter to his father from Harlem New York. Forty years later Toni Scarpa discovered this letter in a now out of print Hendrix bio. Using the letter as a jumping off point, Scarpa created a meditation on Hendrix’s life and death. “Being a huge Hendrix fan myself, I knew people would hate me if I messed this up” Scarpa says. “I just didn’t see a way to make this film without having my subject on screen… and it was gonna’ take some balls to cast Jimi.” Twenty-year-old theater student Doug Locke’s performance put to rest any fears Scarpa may have had. “I had written scenes that took place in 1965 so I needed a young Jimi.” Scarpa continues “And when I met Doug, I knew I had my guy. It’s crazy, there are moments in the film where you will swear you are looking at Jimi.”
Scarpa’s history as a professional musician and award winning music documentarian brought levels of understanding quite often missing from “rock and roll” films. “Having spent the last few years working on dramatic films I was excited to bring that experience to another music related project” says the director. “Using the letter as my guide, I tried to make a film about the relationship between a father and a son, a universal story. Hopefully even those who know nothing of Hendrix will find a compelling story in the film… and those Hendrix fans out there will be enthralled by the familiar moments as well.”