For its 40th annual edition, the Seattle International Film Festival will open May 15 with “Jimi: All Is By My Side,” a drama about the early years of Seattle rock legend Jimi Hendrix. Written and directed by John Ridley (the Oscar-winning screenwriter of “12 Years a Slave”), the film stars musician/actor André Benjamin (half of the hip-hop duo Outkast) as Hendrix and begins in 1966 New York, where then-James Hendrix is an unknown backup guitarist.
“Jimi: All Is By My Side” made its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival last fall. Reviewers were generally positive, though noting that the film is not a conventional biopic (it only covers a year of the musician’s life) and was not licensed to use any of Hendrix’s original recordings. In Toronto, the film was acquired for national release by distributor Open Road; it will open theatrically later this year.
Ridley is scheduled to attend the opening-night gala at McCaw Hall, kicking off three-plus weeks of SIFF, which concludes June 8. The festival’s full lineup will be announced May 1; see SIFF’s website for schedule and ticketing information.
Here’s a clip of “Jimi: All Is By My Side,” posted by Fandango on YouTube: