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Interview with Filmmaker Tony D'Annunzio of Louder Than Love - The Grande Ballroom Story

Every month at Disarray, we spotlight talented filmmakers in partnership with NewFilmmakers Los Angeles. Having conducted over 20 interviews with directors, writers, producers and actors, one thing is certain: hard work and determination can get you noticed. Learn about filmmaker Tony D'Annunzio of the film LOUDER THAN LOVE - The Grande Ballroom Story as his film is being showcased at the AT&T Center in downtown Los Angeles.

Tell us a little bit about your project and how long you’ve been working on it. 

My Film “LOUDER THAN LOVE The Grande Ballroom Story” is the story of legendary Grande Ballroom in Detroit Michigan. The Grande was the epicenter for Detroit Rock and Roll in the mid '60s to early '70s. Bands like MC5, Iggy Pop & The Stooges, Alice Cooper Band, Ted Nugent & the Amboy Dukes, and many more all got their start there. While the Grande might have been patterned on the model of San Francisco psychedelic ballrooms like the Fillmore and the Avalon, the Detroit audience gave it a down-to-Earth, no-bullshit midwestern spirit that made it many performers' favorite place in America to play. And the hard-nosed, competitive Michigan music scene meant that listeners' expectations there were as elevated as their consciousness.

Although I have been in the Broadcast Television field for over 25 years and I have been very fortunate to have worked on a lot of very high profile and critically acclaimed productions, I have always wanted to produce and direct my own feature length documentary. About 5 years ago I had what I would like to call a “moment of clarity.” I decided it was time to challenge myself to make this doc on my own (Self Funded/Self Produced). I approached the idea much like I would for any other production I have been associated with. I knew that since it was going to take some time to complete this project (I gave myself 3-5 years-finished in 4!). The subject better be something I really love and it was my passion for music that got me into the business, so the concept of doing a music based doc came very naturally.
Since its completion and premiere last April, it has been getting incredible reviews and wonderful accolades including being hand picked by Michael Moore for the Traverse City Film Festival, a screening at the ROCK and ROLL HALL of FAME , “Best Documentary at Las Vegas Film Festival and has been to 15+ Film Festivals with over 20 SOLD OUT screenings !!

Is there anyone you'd like to thank for helping out with this film?

 Without the help of Karl Rausch (aka Creative Genius) and FOREST POST Productions the film wouldn’t have ever been completed. Karl and FOREST POST believed in me and this film enough to take it to another level . We had never worked together prior to this project but have already worked on other projects(music videos and commercials).It has been a real pleasure to have someone like Karl to work with on a project of this size. He was constantly bringing great ideas to the film.
I also want to thank my wife, Sharri and our children, Victoria and Zackary. Their never ending show of support and love for me during the making of this film was truly amazing.

How does it feel to have your film part of the NewFilmmakers Screening at the AT&T Center?

As a first time Filmmaker, to not only be invited to this but also be the Feature Documentary is absolutely incredible! Thank you NFLA for this opportunity.  

What inspires you?

My inspirations come from a phrase, “When was the last time you did something for the first time??” I think sometimes we sell ourselves short by not trying to do something new or take a chance by going out of our comfort zone.

Who are your influences and who do you admire?

From a film perspective, I’m influenced and admire Wim Wenders and Michael Moore. I was lucky to meet both of them at the Traverse City Film Festival. In fact, Michael Moore introduced my film to a Sold Out audience. It was pretty surreal to have someone that I admire and has had such an influence on my work to be on hand for the screening. Mr Wenders' film, “Buena Vista Social Club” was one of my biggest inspirations to make the kind of documentary I did. I had a chance to chat with him at the VIP Gala. He floored me when he told me that he was really looking forward to seeing my film at the festival.

What lessons have you learned from the industry so far?

Hard work is necessary to achieve anything in this life. If you’re wondering why you’re not where you want to be in life, you should consider examining your work habits.

If you could collaborate with anybody, who would it be?

Ken Burns

What is the toughest experience you've ever had to overcome?

Nothing tougher than most people…

What is the best piece of advice someone has given to you?

I asked my dad about what should I do when I grow up, he told me to find something you love to do and you will never work a day in your life.

What advice would you give to new filmmakers starting out in the industry?

If you are the smartest one in the room you are in the wrong room.

Where can we expect to see you next?

Been working on a second music documentary, directing a concert video and making my own bourbon.

Let our readers know where they can find more information about you and your projects.

Anything else you'd like to add?

I’m livin’ the dream!!!

For more information, visit:

About the Author

Formerly an editor at Demand Media, writer at Citysearch, The Examiner and proofreader at The Los Angeles Daily News, Christy Buena decided to start Disarray Magazine because she missed writing what she wanted. From hiring writers, to contacting publicists and making assignments, Christy is responsible for the editorial strategy of Disarray Magazine. Get to know the team of talented contributors.
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