TVD Radar: RISE:
The Story of Augustines
additional Raindance screening, 9/27

VIA PRESS RELEASE | In a record thirty minutes, RISE: The Story of Augustines sold out both its world premiere screenings at the 26th Raindance Film Festival in London. In an unprecedented occurrence for the Festival, given the overwhelming demand, Raindance is now showing the documentary on the largest screen on Thursday 27th September, 2018.

In August of 2009 singer William McCarthy’s younger brother James, in the midst of a lengthy incarceration on charges of attempted murder, was found dead of an apparent suicide inside Napa State Hospital. Just one week later, McCarthy’s band Pela imploded, leaving both him and band mate Eric Sanderson devastated, in financial ruin, and with a half-finished album that may never see the light of day. Four years in production, and after a decade as a musician and songwriter with UK band The Boxer Rebellion, Todd Howe (@todd_boxer) makes his directorial film debut, with documentary film RISE: The Story of Augustines.

RISE: The Story of Augustines chronicles the journey of two musicians, William McCarthy and Eric Sanderson. They faced their demons, refused to fall and established a lifelong brotherhood as they struggled to finish their seminal debut record. Against a backdrop of trying to maintain their own sanity and pay tribute to McCarthy’s brother, James, McCarthy’s song writing during the toughest year of his life, would come to be known as his defining work. The album Rise Ye Sunken Ships stands as a testament both to the pain of loss and the celebration of life. The two resurfaced with a new name – Augustines – and together with drummer Robert Allen, who shepherded William and Eric through their darkest of times, rose up to become one of the most celebrated independent bands in the world.

Commenting on the film’s release, Eric Sanderson said, “There are times when a project is bigger than yourself, where you have to trust others, let go, and believe in the art. Todd’s ability to tell this story with such compassion and clarity shows exactly why we trusted him and why we opened our lives to him. I am so incredibly touched by what Todd has created. The making of this film is a story in itself. He had to overcome incredible difficulties and personal loss to complete this film; challenges that mirror the making of RISE in many ways.”

A sentiment underlined by William McCarthy, who added, “As emotionally and logistically difficult as this film was to complete, the result bares its soul and tells its story and I’m very proud to be a part of that, and what Todd has created.” Robert Allen continued, “The film invites you into the raw, brutal, loving, crazy world of what is Augustines; the story of the struggle, the ups and downs, a time like no other. Todd Howe has done a wonderful job in portraying the life of Augustines. Heartfelt. Real. Extraordinary.”

Howe’s bond with William McCarthy and Eric Sanderson began in 2009, just one week before McCarthy’s brother James passed away. With only the promise of helping in any way he could, Howe played a critical role in Augustines’ initial success. He opened doors with management in the UK and introduced them to audiences across both sides of the Atlantic by having them support his band, The Boxer Rebellion, on multiple tours.

The move from musician to filmmaker was a natural one for Howe. Upon moving to the USA in 2015, and wanting to push his creative boundaries, he proposed the idea of the to the band, who immediately trusted his vision to tell their story and that it would be treated with the sensibility it deserved. Having lived their story in real-time together, it enabled Howe to go deeper and capture the brutal honesty the film needed.

But it wasn’t all on a whim or some rash decision to tell his friends’ life story. His criteria for undertaking the film had been met before deciding to approach the band. There was a unique and compelling story, two people who could articulate it and hold an audience. The music was undeniable. If any of those elements were not present, he knew the film would fall short. His intention from the outset was for RISE to transcend the band’s immediate audience and inspire people on a wider scale, through its use of universally appealing themes. In one month after announcing the project it had raised over US$60,000 through crowdfunding.

The filmmaking process was life changing for Howe. His wife Jessica was battling breast cancer at the commencement of the four-year project. In January 2017, she sadly passed away. Howe took a hiatus from the film and after several months, re-commenced editing with a perspective he’d never intended nor wanted. His life had parallelled the story of Augustines, with his own struggle to complete the film strangely similar to that of the band, with the editing taking over eighteen months. The combination of a life in music and experiencing great personal loss has provided a truly unique perspective on telling the inspiring story of Augustines. This is a truly compelling story of struggle, perseverance, brotherhood, and hope.

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