Reel Cleveland: Still Bill

And more local film news

Matthew Wilkening moved from Boston to Akron about two months ago with his fiancée, a psychologist with family in the area. As a "good way to introduce himself" to the music and arts community, he's hosting a screening of Still Bill, a feature-length documentary about soul singer Bill Withers, best known for the songs "Lean on Me," "Just the Two of Us," "Use Me" and "Ain't No Sunshine."

"I read about the film on the website and saw the company was looking for people to set up screenings in their hometowns," says Wilkening. "The movie is fun. It's got good clips from his various performances and mostly just tells his story. From what I know and from what the film company knows, it has never screened in Northeast Ohio."

Wilkening, who worked for 17 years at the indie imprint What Are Records?, also runs a small record label called Stellah, which has just released a new comedy CD from Last Comic Standing's Rob Cantrell and a single from Fancey, a band fronted by New Pornographer Todd Fancey. Wilkening says he hopes to put on more events in Northeast Ohio, but he's not sure with what kind of frequency. "I'm still unpacking and getting ready to get married," he says. "And I want to see how this one goes."

The screening takes place at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, December 17, at the Akron Public Library (60 S. High St., 330.643.9000, Tickets are $2.50. For more information, go to

A couple of years ago, brothers Bill and Turner Ross quit their Hollywood jobs and returned to Sidney, Ohio, to make a documentary about life in small-town America. For their film, 45365, they followed several subjects, including a man who gets arrested, the high-school football team and a woman preparing for her wedding.

"For a long time, we had been collecting stories and ideas about growing up in a small midwestern town," says Turner. "Rather than fictionalizing it, we thought it was more sincere to film in that location and tell other people's stories." The movie debuted at the South by Southwest film festival in March and took home the Best Documentary Feature award. Since then, it's been making the festival rounds and screened in Cleveland in August. Now it's back at the Cleveland Museum of Art Lecture Hall (11150 East Blvd., 216.421.7350, at 7 p.m. Wednesday, December 23. Tickets are $8. Find more information at

[email protected]

Like this story?
SCENE Supporters make it possible to tell the Cleveland stories you won’t find elsewhere.
Become a supporter today.

Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected].
Scroll to read more Movie Reviews & Stories articles

Join Cleveland Scene Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.