SDSU professors chronicle Violet

Erik Ebsen

Erik Ebsen

Two journalism professors at SDSU, Jennifer M. Tiernan and Matthew Cecil, have filmed a documentary covering Sioux Falls band Violet.

Tiernan and Cecil made their film, “Soundtrack of a Man Who Will Never Amount to Anything,” mainly for the South Dakota Public Broadcasting system and the music audience of Sioux Falls. However, they have also submitted their documentary to multiple film festivals, including South by Southwest in Austin, Texas.

The two submitted “Soundtrack” to the Documentary Shorts category. From the approximately 3,000 submissions to all categories, the festival selected 12 documentary shorts.

Tiernan and Cecil’s film made it to the final day of cutoffs, but did not win a slot during the festival. Tiernan and Cecil have submitted “Soundtrack” to the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival as well, and have yet to hear back.

SDSU will feature a screening of “Soundtrack” tentatively scheduled for April 2 at the South Dakota Art Museum located on Medary Avenue. The directors are hoping to have a Sioux Falls screening as well, possibly this spring.

Tiernan and Cecil each received a grant from the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication at University of Oklahoma and combined them to fund “Soundtrack.”

While the film covers the band’s basic history, “Soundtrack” focuses on Violet’s singer and songwriter, Rich Show.

Co-director Cecil said Show is “an unusually talented guy” who’s “not marketable, not pretty.” He said Show plays music not for money or fame, but because he loves to. He “does it for art.”

The film features interviews from Violet’s band members and fanbase. Robert Morast from the Argus Leader calls Show “the Neil Young of the local music scene.” During Show’s own interviews, the self-proclaimed “music geek” speaks more modestly about himself.

“Soundtrack” is named after the Violet album of the same name. The title characterizes Show, while also alluding to a defining point in the life of the band. The album from which the documentary draws its name was nearly the band’s major record label debut.

Both the band and the film were altered by the death of drummer Lance Beier’s 5-year-old son, Jakob. Jakob died in 2003 of brain cancer. Tiernan and Cecil were back from Oklahoma conducting interviews the week of Jakob’s death.

Despite such incidents, Cecil said the two directors really only wanted to “tell the story of a working class guy who never made it big, but made a lot of good music and is perfectly content where he is.”