Tom Petty film to hit GNV theaters

Fans of Tom Petty can dive deep into the rock star’s creative period from 1993 to 1995 with the release of “Tom Petty: Somewhere You Feel Free” at select theaters next week.

The documentary of the Gainesville native will air worldwide on his birthday, Oct. 20, at select theatres.

Regal Butler Town Center and the Hippodrome Theatre will have three showings of the film in Gainesville, but the Hippodrome has already sold out for all three of its showings. A staff member estimated that the screenings had filled up weeks before the screening.

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Regal still has available tickets for all three of its showings at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Oct. 20 and at 7 p.m. on Oct. 21.

Newly found 16mm archival footage sparked the creation of the documentary, and Director Mary Wharton got a call in the summer of 2020 to make the film.

By the spring of 2021, “Tom Petty: Somewhere You Feel Free” won the Audience Award at the South by Southwest film festival.

“Whereas most major artists these days are only seen in tightly edited and overly polished imagery, here we get a rare, unvarnished view of a master of his craft at work in the creative process,” Wharton said on the film’s website. “That process sometimes gets messy, and you can see in the film that Tom isn’t always sure of himself.”

The documentary will premiere around the world. Besides Gainesville, Floridians can attend showings in St. Augustine, Jacksonville, Tallahassee, Winter Garden and other cities.

The film will also be released as a free YouTube Original later this year.

Petty grew up in Gainesville, attending Gainesville High School and working at UF as a grounds crew member. In the mid 70s, he started the Epics, which morphed into Mudcrutch and released one single, Depot Street, before breaking up.

In 1976, he joined the Heartbreakers and released a first album―Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. They were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2002. 

According to Billboard, Petty achieved a record 28 top 10 hits on the Mainstream Rock Songs airplay charts. 

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