Eat My Shorts: Watch The Last Films of Jonathan Demme, Music Videos and his Early TV

Jonathan Demme passed away on April, 2017. We present clips from his last two music films, two complete short documentaries plus a trailer and tribute for the very last thing he directed, an episode for Shots Fired. As bonuses there are classic music videos from “Gidget Goes To Hell” to Bruce Springsteen plus two wonderful and rarely seen early television shows. Enjoy.

His last film premiered in July at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.  More than a film it is a multimedia experience called The Power of Rock. Here is a trailer.

The new theater is bathed in purple light and dwarfed by speaker columns. Prince closes the 12-minute film with his now-legendary performance of The Beatles’ “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” The short film is the centerpiece of the “Power of Rock” experience.  “Visitors will see footage they’ve never seen before from 32 years’ worth of induction ceremonies, says lead designer Christian Lachel.

Here’s a preview of Demme’s seat-rumbling film of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees and the Experience.

Justin Timberlake + the Tennessee Kids, a theatrical feature was released to unanimous raves in October, 2016.

Screen Shot 2017-07-24 at 10.31.52 AM.png

Demme make many music films, both features and shorts. His most famous work in the field is surey Stop Making Sense featuring David Byrne and The Talking Heads. You can read about it and see the rare multi-lingual ads never before posted on the Internet here.


“The New Yorker Presents” is a video magazine series on Amazon Prime. Demme’s What’s Motivating Hayes is a powerful piece on the effect of pesticides on amphibians in nature. Watch a clip below or see the entire piece–the 15 minute film starts at 12:15 minutes if you want to skip directly to it.

Jonathan’s Protection Not Protest: The People of Standing Rock premiered on Tavis Smiley’s PBS Show in December 2016.

On April 1, 2016, an elder member of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and her grandchildren established the Sacred Stone Camp to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline, which they claim threatens the only water supply for the Standing Rock Reservation. Founded by LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, the camp is on her private land, and is a center for cultural preservation and spiritual resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline. Protests at the pipeline site in North Dakota began in the spring of 2016 and continue to grow drawing indigenous people, U.S. Veterans and demonstrators of every color and creed. Over the weekend, Tavis Smiley joined Academy Award-winning filmmaker Jonathan Demme to hear from demonstrators and “water protectors” about the current state of the protest in North Dakota.

We present the entire film here.

Demme created a terrific collection of music videos. Here are a few favorites.

Suburban Lawns’ nervy 1979 single “Gidget Goes to Hell”

“Over here on E Street, we’re deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Jonathan Demme,” Springsteen wrote on his website. “He was an inspiration for me, a beautiful filmmaker and a great spirit. Always smiling, always involved with the world and always pushing you to go for your best. He’ll be deeply missed.”

More about Bruce and Jonathan’s collaborations from Rolling Stone

Here are more from The Feelies, Artists Against Apartheid, Suzanne Vega, UB40 with Chrissie Hyde, Little Steven, The Neville Brothers, Stop The Violence Movement, New Order and more Springsteen.

Demme loved using music effectively in his features and Chris O’Falt offers some samples on Indiewire like the closing credits for Something Wild. It is a straightforward performance by Sister Carol and you don’t want it to end.

The very last thing he directed was Hour Six: The Fire This Time on the new Fox series Shots Fired. The team who worked on the film had stories to tell about the experience.

As a bonus here are two early television works.  Demme’s very short segment, Subway Car From Hell (1997) for HBO’s “Subway Stories: Tales from the Underground” stars Bill Irwin.

And to wrap things up sit back and enjoy “Who Am I This Time” (1982) based on a story by Kurt Vonnegut, starring Susan Sarandon and Christopher Walken with a musical score by John Cale. It is 53 minutes.

One thought on “Eat My Shorts: Watch The Last Films of Jonathan Demme, Music Videos and his Early TV

  1. I enjoyed watching all the Demme clips and especially the clip from his Academy Award win. It’s the night we won also, so we were in the audience watching. Later we went to The Silence of the Lambs party because Irving’s son had just gone to work for Demme, so we were invited also. Those were happy years.
    Allie Light

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s