The film held its world premiere at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, where newcomer Ben Dickey won the Special Jury Award for Achievement in Acting for his portrayal of Blaze Foley. “Blaze” is inspired by the life of Foley, the unsung songwriting legend of the Texas outlaw music movement that spawned the likes of Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson. “Blaze” explores his love affair with Sybil Rosen; his final performance in a near-empty honky-tonk; his last, dark night on earth; and the impact that his songs and his death had on his fans, friends, and foes.
Rosen co-wrote the film with Hawke based on her memoir “Living in the Woods in a Tree: Remembering Blaze Foley.” Jake Seal, John Sloss, and Ryan Hawke produced alongside Hawke.
Dickey, a musician in his own right, made his on-screen debut alongside Alia Shawkat as Rosen, Josh Hamilton, Charlie Sexton, Richard Linklater, Sam Rockwell, Steve Zahn, and Alynda Segarra. The majority of the music is written by Blaze Foley, with an original track by Dickey and musical performances by many of the cast. The soundtrack will be released by Light in the Attic Records later this year.
IFC Films and Sundance Selects have previously collaborated with Hawke on Linklater’s “Boyhood” along with two films he directed: the documentary “Seymour: An Introduction” and “Chelsea Walls.”
Jonathan Sehring and Lisa Schwartz, co-presidents of IFC Films/Sundance Selects said, “Ethan has long been a valued member of the IFC Films family and we could not be prouder or more passionate to be partnering with him once more on this fantastic film. With Ethan’s most ambitious and exciting work as a writer/director, the story of Blaze Foley has been brought to life with extraordinary performances by newcomer Ben Dickey, Alia Shawkat and a supremely talented group of collaborators across the board. We can’t wait to share the film with audiences across the country.”
The deal for the film was negotiated by Arianna Bocco at IFC Films/Sundance Selects and Eric Sloss of Cinetic on behalf of the filmmakers.