MOVIES | Talking with “Rock Prophecies” director John Chester


Throughout this week, the Daily Planet will feature audio interviews with filmmakers discussing their films in this year’s Sound Unseen Film Festival. The festival, which kicked off this past Tuesday and ends Sunday and typically features films with a music theme, is in its 10th year. Make sure to check out the festival’s Web site to purchase tickets, view trailers and information for all the films, and explore what this cultural event is all about.

All the interviews were done over the phone, recorded on my computer. (Click on the icon at the bottom of this article to listen.) In this entry, I speak with John Chester (who was at the airport, so the audio is a bit noisy), director of a documentary that uncovers the artist behind some of the most iconic rock photos of the last half-century. The film, Rock Prophecies, screens this Wednesday (September 30) at 7:30 p.m. at the Trylon Microcinema.

The official plot synopsis (by way of the press notes) of Rock Prophecies reads:

Rock and roll’s ultimate eyewitness takes you on an all-access tour of guitar greatness. Robert M. Knight, the hardest-working rock photographer in the business, revisits the friends and idols of his past while attempting to help launch the careers of two explosive new acts. Imagine seeing bands like Led Zeppelin or the Rolling Stones long before they became famous. Legendary rock photographer Robert Knight did just that, and has the photos to prove it. Rock Prophecies explores Robert’s amazing career and follows him on his quest to help the bands of today become the rock legends of tomorrow, whether promoting Panic at the Disco before anybody has heard of them, or convincing Aussie band Sick Puppies to sell everything and move to the United States. When Robert stumbles upon Tyler Dow Bryant—a 16-year old guitar phenom from Texas—he’s convinced he may have found the next Stevie Ray Vaughan. Robert risks his reputation and career and takes a chance on Tyler. The two then set off on an unbelievable journey to take their own shot at making history.

I begin every interview with the same question. Having seen nearly all the films in this year’s Sound Unseen Festival, a clear theme emerged. These are stories about people pursuing their dreams, consequneces be damned. So I lead off asking the filmmaker about this theme as it pertains to their film.

Erik McClanahan ( is a freelance film journalist and critic in Minneapolis. He is also co-host of KFAI’s Movie Talk.

Support people-powered non-profit journalism! Volunteer, contribute news, or become a member to keep the Daily Planet in orbit.