The story of William McCarthy and Eric Sanderson is one that needs to be heard. This writer once wrote in the Boston Herald that the brilliant songwriting pair were the Lennon and McCartney of our indie rock times, and in the Phoenix, I detailed the pair’s highs and lows, in life and in music, first with Brooklyn band Pela in the mid- to late-2000s and then with (We Are) Augustines in the years that followed.
Now, after four years of production, their saga is finally here in documentary form. RISE: The Story of Augustines makes its world premiere at this year’s Raindance Film Festival in London (September 27), and then comes stateside at the Santa Cruz Film Festival (October 3 to 7) in McCarthy’s hometown.
While this writer considers Pela one of the greatest bands of our time (and booked them enough times around Boston years ago to prove it), RISE: The Story of Augustines goes deeper than the music, exploring the personal struggles of both musicians, particularly McCarthy. It also captures their successes, as Augustines earned the boys the attention and accolades that Pela unbelievably never did.
Billed as “a truly compelling story of struggle, perseverance, brotherhood and hope,” RISE: The Story of Augustines is directed by Todd Howe, and co-produced by Howe and Michael J Baum. Watch the official trailer below, after the documentary’s description.
“‘RISE: The Story of Augustines’ chronicles the journey of two men who faced their demons, refused to fall and established a lifelong brotherhood as they struggled to finish their seminal debut record, all while trying to maintain their own sanity and pay tribute to James. McCarthy’s songwriting 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.