Tom Petty, Somewhere You Feel Free

Director Mary Wharton / 2021 / USA

Newly discovered archival footage provides a time capsule into the making of Tom Petty’s iconic 1994 album Wildflowers, revealing an artist both at a career crossroads and at his most creative.

Tom Petty believed that Wildflowers was his greatest achievement, born out of a tumultuous period in his life: his marriage was falling apart, and so was his relationship with his band of 20 years, the Heartbreakers. The making of this album and its personal, confessional songs was captured by his filmographer, Martyn Atkins, on black-and-white 16mm – footage that was only unearthed by Petty’s daughter in 2020. Never seen before, it provides an inside view into the recording process while capturing the emotional temperature of this period in both Petty’s and his band’s lives.

With Tom Petty, Somewhere You Feel Free, Mary Wharton crafts a eulogy to the titular musician, who died in 2017, presenting the home-movie-style footage alongside recent interviews with family, band members and key figures in the album’s creation, such as legendary producer Rick Rubin. The resulting film is an unvarnished look at Petty’s work during this intensely productive, and deeply tumultuous, time – both an intimate must-see for stalwart fans and a gateway to the music and the man for new ones.

Somewhere You Feel Free is a love letter to Petty, but also to that most mysterious of alchemies, the chemistry of a rock ’n’ roll band.” – Hollywood Reporter

The Music on Film strand is presented by Triple R

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