This year’s centerpiece film at the Nevada City Film Festival happens to be an extremely special one to the festival because it was produced by one of its own, Jeffrey Clark, festival co-founder and owner of The Onyx Theatre. Clark’s film also won the Audience Award at this year’s South by Southwest Film Festival, no small feat, with future showings expected in Ireland, London, and Melbourne.

Louder Than You Think at SXSW
Louder Than You Think at SXSW

“Louder than you Think” directed by Jed I. Rosenberg, produced by Clark, Brian Thalken, and Kelly Thomas, is a rock documentary, that follows the beginnings of 90s indie band Pavement and its original drummer Gary Young. Told using old band footage, hours of interviews with Gary done over nearly a decade, and intermittent use of clever puppetry depicting flashbacks, “Louder than you Think” follows the birth story of one of the first bands to influence “indie” music.

“I grew up in Stockton and I’ve known Gary since around 1979, a decade before he joined Pavement, and there’s just something so utterly improbable and quirky about his life,” explains Clark. “My friend Kelly Foley (who’s another key figure in the film) and I used to talk about it from time to time, like ‘…if somebody made a movie of Gary’s life, no one would believe it.’ That kind of thing. Truth is, Pavement’s story in general feels like one of those ‘twist of fate’ things, which is something the film also touches on. Maybe that’s true of life in general.” 

The story is a heartfelt rendering of mates coming together to form a band, the emotions that make up the various personalities within the band, and the differences in the member’s goals and the direction in which they wanted to take the band. While all individuals involved in Pavement are interviewed, Young, and his booze and drugs-fueled antics, along with his haphazard production methods (accidentally helping launch the lo-fi aesthetic) takes center stage.

Pavement began as more of a clubhouse with nothing more than guys getting together just for the love of making music, playing gigs for friends, with no real intention of becoming a part of the commercial music industry. However, that all changed with the 1991 debut of their LP, “Slanted and Enchanted”, and signing with Matador Records. Chris Lombardi, co-founder of the Matador Label, referred to Pavement’s music as an “incredible piece of magic”. The band went on to play sold out concerts across the US and Europe, including spots on newly formed festivals such as Lollapalooza, Free Tibet and Coachella. Money, fame, and notoriety produced tension within the band where some members expressed their views, not necessarily the band’s viewpoints and some thinking they weren’t getting their “just dues”.

“We focused very hard on making this a story about a unique character whose life takes a completely improbable turn at age 40 and how this in turn changes things dramatically for everyone around him,” says Clark. “It’s a genuinely crazy story, that just happens to take place in the music world, and I think people will relate to that even if they have no knowledge of or interest in the band Pavement, or 90’s indie rock. On the other hand, I’m pretty sure that fans hoping to learn more about the birth of Pavement, or how the lo-fi aesthetic got a jump start in Gary’s little home studio will get a lot out of the film.”  

Nearly four years in the making, “Louder than you Think” is not just a documentary about Gary Young or the band Pavement, but as a hard human look at fate, creativity, and life, surprisingly optimistic ending – BE HAPPY.  Clark along with Producer Kelly Foley, Director Jed I. Rosenberg, Cinematographer David Nicholson, Editor Greg King, Puppeteer Adrian Rose Leonard, and Eric Westphal will all participate in a Q&A following the film.

WHAT: 23rd Annual Nevada City Film Festival – Louder Than You Think

WHEN: Saturday, June 24, 2023, 7pm

WHERE: Nevada Theatre, 401 Broad Street, Nevada City

TICKETS: $11/GA, $9/Student, Senior (62+), Military,