Feature length musical/documentary film
1hr 40m, 1080p HD
Directed by Matthew Doyle and Chase Alexander
Edited by Chase Alexander and Matthew Doyle
Sound mixing by Adam Gunther
Starring Matthew Doyle, Benjamin Doyle, Eric Doyle, Beth Marshdoyle, Jay Doyle
Chester Curme, Emily Jane Rosen, Daisy Zhuo
Matthew Doyle returns from Los Angeles to his hometown Weston, Massachusetts for a few reasons: his best friend is getting married, there’s a family reunion. But, he’s also returning to make his first film, ‘Doylesong’, a coming-of-age film musical starring his family. Everything is ready: his brothers and his parents have all written their own songs. But, as the script falls to the wayside, and Matt's control over the situation disintegrates, he finds that the way to make the film he's always dreamed of is to improvise.
What, then, is ‘Doylesong’? It’s hard for us to say. It neither fulfills its musical premise, nor is it solely in the documentary tradition. Given the circumstances this film was made under, one might reasonably ask if it's a film about failing to make a musical (which in many respects it is). We think it’s perhaps best thought of as a particularly ambitious home movie: one that circles around themes of music, communication, technological shifts, privilege, improvisation; but most of all, about intimacy and love in all of its different forms. This is our first feature film, but it’s also the last film in a series of films made in the family home – a document of the twilight of a time when the family is the atomic locus of creativity, anxiety, and play.
‘Doylesong’ is about the relation between identity and conversation: between finding oneself in dialogue and finding one’s voice as an individual – finding ones song. We feel this in the film's constant, playful tension between the scripted and unscripted. As we experience tectonic shifts in our understanding of a political commons, cinema is remembered as a place where we once experienced the power of shared speech – talking about them, re-enacting them. Just as 'Doylesong' asks questions about failure and the (im)possibility of communication, it is itself a living testament to the power of our little communities to invest daily life with meaning and beauty.
When we let go of our claim to control, when we cease to see only ourselves in what is around us, the world appears. Appropriately, the film’s final scenes were shot at Walden pond, a symbol in the American natural imagination. The film as you see it only appeared through our letting go of the grandiose notions we started with, focusing instead on what was at hand. That's why we like to think of it as an ecological film (besides the fact that ecology originates from the Greek οἶκος, 'house', or 'environment'). With that in mind, we offer our work to you humbly, a hymn to the ordinary (Doylepsalm?): “Don’t you know what I mean?/it feels like a dream/together we’ll make it come true”
–Matthew Doyle & Chase Alexander