The Cowsills In Magazines

The Reel Thing
The RI International Film Festival celebrates 15 years of Success
August 2011
SO Rhode Island

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Though screenings take place statewide, including at the Jamestown Arts Center, one of the most exciting attractions at this year’s festival takes place at 7 pm on Wednesday August 10 at The Vets in Providence: the world premiere of Family Band: The Cowsills Story, documenting the life and times of the influential family band from Newport that provided the inspiration for The Partridge Family. “The Rain, the Park, and Other Things,” “Indian Lake” and “Hair” were huge hits in the ‘60s, introducing audiences to the catchy tunes and smooth harmonies of a musical family. After only five years of being at the top, siblings Bill, Bob, Paul, Barry, John and Susan, plus mom Barbara, suddenly split.

Most of the talented clan have stayed on the music scene: in the late ‘70s, they regrouped to record an album, and in the ‘90s Bob, Paul, John and Susan reunited to play small shows around the country and record their first all-new album since 1971, Global. Enjoying their time playing together once again, Bob, Paul, and Susan decided to hit the road as a group. Along with Susan’s husband Russ Broussard, Paul’s son Brendon, Bob’s son Ryan, and friend and bass player Mary Lasseigne, The Cowsills continue to play shows across the country from local pubs to large venues.

Louise Palanker, director and producer of Family Band and longtime fan of the Cowsills, approached the group about creating the film after watching Bob perform in a pub. After a seven-year journey of capturing footage (filming ceased for two years after the deaths of Barry and Bill), the documentary was finally finished. The remaining group members played an integral part in the filmmaking process from start to finish, and have seen a rough draft of the final product. Seeing their story made into a documentary was “kind of humbling. We’ve been doing this forever,” recalls Paul.

Though the group is excited to see their story finally be revealed in its entirety to the public, they are not completely sure how fans will react. “The film is factual; it doesn’t waver,” Paul explains. “It’s all the truth, which is nice, because there have been so many untruths in the past. People are going to see it and be somewhat surprised.”

The band is also excited that the will be debut in their home state. It is “surreal” and “phenomenal,” raves Paul, adding, “That is home. That is where family is.” Palanker is sure that local festival-goers will recognize several landmarks in the film, as it is “deeply rooted to Rhode Island.” Following the film, the band will take a part in an open panel and Q&A, after which they will perform some music. Though Paul and the band hope the audience enjoys the film, he’s completely confident about the live performance: “It’s going to be the best show they’ve ever seen.”

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