I’m Nickolas Rossi, the director, producer, editor and director of photography for the forthcoming documentary "Heaven Adores You" which tells the intimate, meditative inquiry into the life and music of Elliott Smith.

"Heaven Adores You" will be in movie theaters worldwide beginning this Thursday, May 7th! Watch the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELTtAzt1NzQ&feature=youtu.be

Okay, everyone. I have to go. THANK YOU SO MUCH for the opportunity to talk with you. Thanks for the continued support around the project. I hope you can catch the film near you soon!

Comments: 50 • Responses: 22  • Date: 

beernerd8 karma

How did Elliott's family react to the film?

Nickolas_Rossi5 karma

The family doesn't endorse the project, but allowed us to start a conversation with the labels about using Elliott's music in the film.

beernerd5 karma

Interesting. Any theories as to why they wouldn't endorse it?

Nickolas_Rossi5 karma

Hmm. No theories from me on it. It's just their stance on most things Elliott related I guess.

tpguitar8 karma

Will the unheard music in Heaven Adores You ever be released? We need the room song!!

Nickolas_Rossi7 karma

That would be great. I hope someday that music can be shared widely. Unfortunately it's not up to us, as it's all owned by the labels. Maybe they will release it someday.

irontacodude6 karma

Are there any plans for a future DVD release? I don't have any access to the theaters where the film is going to be released.

Nickolas_Rossi4 karma

YES! There is a plan to release the film on DVD BluRay sometime this summer!

VillageLinca2 karma

When you release the DVD will it be only the movie or might it also have extras on it? E.G. Parts of interviews that didn't fit into the film? Any other music that you had access to that you didn't include?

Nickolas_Rossi5 karma

The DVD will include DVD extras ( about 60 minutes ) which are mostly extended interviews with the folks in the film about sometimes specific Elliott Smith trivia and discussions. Also a great version of Aaron Espinoza of Earlimart singing "Heaven Adores You"

VolumeTo115 karma

Hi Nickolas - I'd love for more people to know about Elliott's music, even if they can't catch the film in a local theater. Do you have any expectation that the film might get picked up by Netflix, Hulu or any other subscription sites?

Nickolas_Rossi5 karma

Our distributor, Eagle Rock Entertainment has a pretty great plan for the release of the film to get to as many folks as possible. So if you miss it in the theatre, it was be coming to you on DVD and hopefully eventually all sorts of VOD platforms ( TBD )

najing_ftw5 karma

Do you entertain the possibility that Elliott's death may not have been a suicide?

Nickolas_Rossi10 karma

I think anything is possible in regards to that. I really don't know what happened that day. I'm not sure when or if we will ever know anything about the details. I know that the coroner's report still says undetermined. I'm just sad he's no longer here to make amazing music.

williss245 karma

Have you ever seen Elliott play live? If so, what was it like?

Nickolas_Rossi6 karma

I can recall seeing Elliott play in Heatmiser a few times between 1994 and 1996-ish--and he was just a young kid in a loud band playing shows in Portland. When Elliott started playing solo shows, I remember seeing him at places like EJ's, Satyricon, and La Luna and he would really quiet a room. I think the last time I saw him perform live must've been around 1998 in Portland, when he would come back through town.

kagibso4 karma

Can’t wait to see the movie on Thursday when it comes to Atlanta - thanks so much for putting it together. Is there anything I should know going into the film? Is there any interview that stuck with you or stood out?

Nickolas_Rossi3 karma

I think everyone we interviewed deserves a big shout out. It was truly a special experience to talk with everyone who shared their stories of Elliott. Anything you should know going into the film? Sit in the middle of the theatre, especially if they have 5.1 Dolby Surround sound in the theatre.

sinsea4 karma

Does any aspect of Elliott's music influence your film making technique?

Nickolas_Rossi5 karma

Oh definitely. His lyrics are so incredible and cinematic--his melodies are so picture-esque. I love listening to Elliott's music on my headphones and walking around, or getting on a train. But most importantly, I felt like he made this music that we could just sit back and enjoy while watching the scenery. You can really let his songs breathe in a film.

woodforfire4 karma

hey, thanks for doing this.

•what's your favorite elliott song?

• can you pleeeeeeease get this movie played ANYWHERE in VT? (specifically, middlebury.)

• were you surprised to find that this many people loved elliott's music?

edit: a parenthese

Nickolas_Rossi6 karma

I think there are so many Elliott Smith songs to choose from. It's hard to have a favourite. It sometimes depends on the day. As far as getting it played in Vermont, we'd love that! There's a link at our website where you can request screenings. I wasn't so surprised to find so many people loved Elliott's music, but I was a bit surprised it was so global.

dragonfly19933 karma

what inspires you?

Nickolas_Rossi5 karma

Definitely listening to Elliott's music was inspiring to make the film

runningraleigh3 karma

What do you think Elliott would be doing now if he hadn't died in 2003? What kind of music would he be making? What opinion would he have on the current music scene?

Nickolas_Rossi3 karma

That's a great question! Who knows, really. Maybe doing film scores? Electronic music? Country Western? He was certainly talented enough to do any of it.

lady-darlington3 karma

hi, Nickolas! just wanted to say excellent job on the film; i really enjoyed it and plan on seeing it again when it hits theatres. my question is - how did you first get involved with "Heaven Adores You"? did you know of Elliott/his music beforehand?

Nickolas_Rossi7 karma

My history with Elliott's music goes back to the time I lived in Portland in the mid 1990s. I remember him from Heatmiser and from the beginning of his solo work. I always enjoyed his music and definitely felt connected to it at the time I was living there where he was making some of it.

VillageLinca3 karma

There is a strong sense of place depicted in the movie, with so much footage of Portland (particularly), New York and L.A. accompanying the dialogue. What inspired you to take this approach/how did you come to the decision to weave these places so visually into Elliott's story?

Nickolas_Rossi3 karma

That's a great question. I think these three cities are really characters in the film as well, as they are so different in their look and feel. Knowing that Elliott was a participant in these three places helped create a look and feel to pair them with his music to help tell the story. Also, the DP of the film, JT Gurzi is amazingly talented and really brought a great look to a lot of the footage.

flaregunpopshow3 karma

First, I want to applaud you on such a brilliant and poignant film. I really respect the way you decided to approach Elliott's death to focus more on his life.

Is there anything you wished you could have included in the film that you couldn't, or something you did include that you decided to cut?

Nickolas_Rossi5 karma

In the first rough cut of the film there was a five minute take of Larry Crane listening to "I Love My Room" and just laughing. I really loved just watching Larry listen to that song.

MyMotherTheActress3 karma

Thank you so much for making this film, I am looking forward to seeing it next week.

My question(s): What was the most challenging part of the this project for you? Was it emotional to make this documentary?

Nickolas_Rossi3 karma

Most challenging part was trying to make a film about Elliott's music and only being able to fit 47 tracks of music in 104 minutes. There's really enough music in his discography for a mini series.

ernstyoung3 karma

It's been a while since Elliott's passing. Do you think that the passage of time helps or hurts your effort when you were investigating for the film?

Nickolas_Rossi3 karma

I think the timing was interesting in how the film was perceived while making it. It's right on that cusp of "Elliott Smith: I love him!" and "Elliott Smith: Uh..sounds kinda familiar". So I think it was a great time to make sure that people still keep Elliott's music in their collection and not let him fade away-- especially to the new crop of Elliott Smith fans that are coming up that maybe didn't get a chance to see him play live. In regards to the contributors, maybe there has been enough time to see that time in a different way. I hope it was healthy and healing for folks to revisit that time so many years later.

neutralmilk963 karma

Hi! Elliott Smith is my favorite musician to ever walk planet earth. I look forward to seeing the film later this month. I know Elliott's music affects a lot of people greatly, especially those who were close to him. Were there any moments during the interviews where talking about Elliott was too much to handle? I know a lot of his friends from the time can't even listen to his music anymore.

Nickolas_Rossi2 karma

It can be a sensitive topic for sure. He was a friend to many, and it's clear that they miss him even still. I know some of his friends/ family / etc are still processing and healing.

alysoncamus2 karma

hello, I am going to see the movie this Thursday! Have you seen the other documentary 'Searching for Elliott Smith' and what do you think about it if you have seen it?

Nickolas_Rossi2 karma

Unfortunately I never got a chance to see that film.

storyofanartist2 karma

What can fans expect from unreleased music or work from Elliott in the film?

Nickolas_Rossi4 karma

There's quite a few alternative versions of songs that you may already know and love off his records, as well as some instrumental works in progress that you might recognize. Also some early tracks from his childhood!

nailbetryal2 karma

What's your favorite moment during your time making this documentary?

Nickolas_Rossi4 karma

Wow. There were really so many. It's crazy to be on this side of the process now and look back. I had really great experiences with Kevin Moyer and JT Gurzi, shooting Portland from a helicopter, driving around and listening to Elliott's music and just spending a few days with a camera exploring the cities. Working with Eli Olson in the edit in San Francisco, working with Marc Smolowitz in post and the great folks at ZAP in SF. World premiering to three sold out screenings at San Francisco International Film Fest. Meeting all these great people from Elliott's life who opened up and shared their stories of such a great talented guy...and meeting so many amazing fans at the screenings.. So many really beautiful moments in making this film.