The new documentary Tom Petty, Somewhere You Feel Free: The Making of Wildflowers, which won the 2021 SXSW Film Festival Audience Award, is set to debut in theaters worldwide in a special one-day-only event on October 20th, which would have been Petty’s 71st birthday. The film, from award-winning filmmaker and music documentarian Mary Wharton (Jimmy Carter: Rock and Roll President, Sam Cooke: Legend, Elvis Lives!, The Beatles Revolution) explores Petty’s turbulent period from 1993-1995, when the rock legend teamed with superstar producer Rick Rubin to create his highly lauded second solo album Wildflowers, as well as the album’s deluxe re-release last year by Petty’s surviving family and bandmates.
The film debuted in March as a 2021 SXSW Film Festival selection, winning the Audience Award, as well as winning Best Documentary at the 2021 Telluride Film Festival. The film is presented by Inaudible Productions, the company of producer Peter Afterman, who has made numerous highly successful music documentaries and other films including the James Brown biopic Get On Up, It Might Get Loud, and Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown, which he co-produced with Mick Jagger. This is not Afterman’s first time collaborating with director Mary Wharton: her previous films Jimmy Carter: Rock and Roll President and Sam: Cooke: Legend were both through Inaudible Productions.
Tom Petty, Somewhere You Feel Free: The Making of Wildflowers features new interviews with members of Petty’s backing band the Heartbreakers, including guitarist Mike Campbell, who co-produced Wildflowers; it also makes use of a newly discovered archive of 16mm film from the album’s creation.
The movie will only be shown in theaters on October 20, with a handful of theaters showing limited encore screenings the following day; tickets are on sale now at TomPettyFilm.com. Later this year, the film will become available for free in 4K on Petty’s YouTube channel through the YouTube Originals Program.