Ambition Withdraw, the Chattanooga-made documentary about Chattanooga band The Unsatisfied, beat out 80 other films to win the Audience Choice Award and received an honorable mention in the Documentary category at the recent ValleyFest Film Festival in Knoxville. At least 700 hundred people attended the festival.
The move and the band appear to be on a roll: In addition to the two awards,
the film has received two excellent reviews outside Chattanooga, publicist Rich Bailey said.
The band has signed a recording contract with Evil Jim Records and will go into the recording studio this spring to record its next album, tentatively titled "The Way to the Crumbs."
According to festival director Donna Maxwell, the Audience Choice award is
the best award a film can win. "If you go to a distributor with an audience award, it tells them that a significant number of people not only wanted to watch the film but thought it was the best they saw," she said.
"A distributor wants to know that people want to watch a film, and that's pretty good evidence."
She praised both the film and the film maker. "I can¹t think of another
documentary that followed a band for so many years and showed its
evolution," she said. "I'm really impressed with Jason Eustice's work and dedication to that project, the time he spent on it and how he chose to structure the film."
The Knoxville alternative weekly newspaper Metro Pulse devoted most of its wrap-up article about ValleyFest to a review of Ambition Withdraw, calling it "a quirky, ambitious, technically impressive, and frequently bizarre film about the 15-year career of a Chattanooga goth-punk-metal-glam band, The
Unsatisfied, and its charismatic lead singer, Eric Scealf."
The reviewer also wrote: "The film, which is at turns startling and
hilarious, nearly makes a rock Œn¹ roll legend of Scealf, a cross-dressing body builder who's known for his manic energy and deliberately shocking stage show... a friendly, approachable guy, maybe a damning flaw for a shock-rocker."
The full Metro Pulse review is at
Film review web site bonestructure.net said about Ambition
Withdraw: "I can see influences in the film and the band, ranging from
Kenneth Anger and some other 60s experimental film makers to large doses of Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, The Fugs and the Velvet Underground, with maybe a small dash of Motorhead.... Chaotic, surreal and ultimately satisfying, it's not a film you¹re likely to see on PBS.
"This is unlike any other rockumentary you'll have seen. Hosted by Dr. Gangrene introducing it as if it were a horror movie, it tries hard to live up to that.
"The film maker, in an attempt to sculpt the film to compliment the band's angst, has succeeded admirably. Aside from the music, the testimonials, the weirdness, he shows the day jobs, raising kids, supporting a family and problems in the band itself. The part of rock and roll no one likes to talk about. He shows everything, including a few things the band would probably
rather not have shown."
The full BoneStructure.net review is at www.bonestructure.net/ambition.html.