Meet the Filmmakers: AmyLee Solomon and Andrew Brier, “Calm Before… The Rising Storm”

EFP: Why did you become a filmmaker?

A & A: AmyLee Solomon and Andrew Brier are husband and wife. We met and dated 50 years ago, went our separate ways, and reunited on FaceBook 40 years later. AmyLee is a longtime Denver Artist in residence, (see amyleesolomon.com) She has a studio right down the street from the BUG on Navajo Street and an upcoming showing of her figurative paintings at the PIRATE Gallery in February. Andrew’s background is in television and film. Our greatest joy is making art together.

EFP: What are we going to see at EFP? Has it screened elsewhere and what are your plans for it?

A & A: calm before… the rising storm. In June of 1967, a group of six high school seniors at Phillips Academy Andover, ( an all-boys Prep School ), went into a tiny recording studio in FraminghamMassachusetts and recorded an album called ‘ calm before… ‘ that was to become a Vinyl collector’s classic in the decades to follow. The Rising Storm has survived to become one of the ‘ Unknown Legends of Rock n Roll ‘ and five decades later, they are still making music. The boys graduated, and went on with their lives and successful professional careers that had nothing to do with music. The 500 copies of the album, never meant for distribution, fell into obscurity, until 1982, when a German collector paid $2,000 for a rare copy. Music reviewers and rock historians re-discovered calm before… calling the album an ‘icon of the 60’s garage band sound with surprising original material’ . The album was ‘bootlegged’ in Europe and suddenly the band was unwittingly thrust back into the spotlight. In this 30 minute documentary, filled with animations, re-creations, and interviews with experts, fans, and band members we piece together the story of the Rising Storm’s unlikely rise to fame. We explain what caused the craze among Vinyl collectors and hear what the band has to say about the music they created fifty years ago, the times they lived in, their subsequent “fame” and their real lives.Return to 1967, with the Stormers, to recapture the magic in the music of calm before…

The movie has been screened at a number of international festivals including RiverRun, San Diego International, Sayulita International Festival in Mexico, London Doc n Roll, and won several “bests”.

November 18th, at the BUG, is a Denver Premiere. Calm Before can also be seen on YouTube.

EFP: What else are you working on?

A & A: AmyLee and Andrew have produced several other music documentaries including “Outside the Golden Cage”, (the story of the legendary San Francisco ‘summer of love’ band “It’s a Beautiful Day”) and “One Hit Wonderful”, (the story of Doctor Elmo and ‘Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer’).

During the Covid Quarantine we assembled a coalition of and produced and filmed 15 short plays – the Shelter Plays, (under extreme safety conditions), which appear online at ‘theshelterplays.com

We are currently working on a short film, here in Denver, “Changing at Union Station”, which is a choreographed piece about a man’s awakening to the issue of homelessness in our world.

EFP: Tell us one weird thing about you and/or your movies?

A & A: Andrew produced the original MTV video of Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer, which has received over 25 million views online and still counting.

EFP: Is there anything you’d like to say about The Emerging Filmmakers Project?

A & A: A great idea to give the local filmmaking community an opportunity to get together. Now…where’s that free Beer.

Calm Before… The Rising Storm will screen during The Emerging Filmmakers Project on Thursday, November 18th, 2021 at The Bug Theatre.