A screening of the 1975 documentary Heartworn Highways, followed by an opportunity to speak with the film’s producer, Graham Leader.

Date: Thursday, September 29, 2011, at 8pm
Venue: Cafe Volan, 510 Bangs Avenue, Asbury Park, NJ 07712
Host: Rick Barry, singer/songwriter and founder of Asbury Rock Star Charities.
Admission: $10  All admissions at the door, cash only. No advance sales or reservations.


Documentary filmmaker James Szalapski explores the more contemplative side of country music as he visits a handful of outstanding singers and songwriters, most of whom have chosen work outside the confines of the Nashville establishment. Heartworn Highways features performances from Townes Van Zandt, who shows off his farm and discusses the pros and cons of drinking with a neighbor; Gamble Rogers, who demonstrates his hilarious and ingratiating performing style in a nightclub appearance; Guy Clark, who plays several fine songs in his kitchen; David Allan Coe, who discusses his criminal past during a concert at a prison; and the Charlie Daniels Band, as they gear up for a big show in a small town. Heartworn Highways also includes brief appearances from Rodney Crowell, Steve Young, and a young Steve Earle, a decade before he released his first album. While shot in 1975, Heartworn Highways wasn’t released until 1981, by which time several of the performers’ features had become considerably better known than they were in 1975.


Beginning his career as an art dealer, Graham Leader produced HEARTHWORN HIGHWAYS in 1976 with filmmaker Jim Szalapski – a feature documentary on Nashville’s progressive country music “outlaws” which was warmly received at the 1979 Sundance Film Festival. Released on DVD in 2003 with 65 minutes of previously unseen material, HEARTHWORN HIGHWAYS, received broad acclaim in the music press. The re-mastered soundtrack issued in 2006 by Hacktone Records also won rave reviews.

In 1990, Leader produced SHUTTLECOCK starring the late Alan Bates and Lambert Wilson. Adapted by Tim Rose Price from the novel by the award-winning author Graham Swift the film was directed by Andrew Piddington (The Killing Of John Lennon). SHUTTLECOCK opened the 1991 San Sebastian Film Festival.

In 1991, Leader optioned “Killings,” a short story by Andre Dubus, and began developing a feature film adaptation with screenwriter Rob Festinger. In 2000, the film – later titled IN THE BEDROOM – was directed by Todd Field and starred Sissy Spacek, Tom Wilkinson, Marisa Tomei and Nick Stahl. IN THE BEDROOM
Was acquired by Miramax at Sundance in 2001, where it won The Special Jury Prize. In 2002, the film won a Golden Globe Award for Sissy Spacek’s performance and was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

Leader’s interest in art and new technologies led him to produce THE SAFFRON LIMITED (2005), a six minute digital short film capturing the dazzling, ephemeral spirit of artist Christo’s installation, “The Gates, Central Park, New York.”

CHILDLESS, the first film wholly financed and produced by Leader’s company GRANITE FILMS, stars Barbara Hershey, Joe Mantegna, Jim Naughton, and Diane Venora. Recently completed, the film is conceptually unique and was made entirely using cutting edge digital technology.