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Interesting new doc by Greg Hemmings - A Day in the Life of J. Willis Pratt


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I watched this documentary the other night during a live screening over Zoom and Youtube with panel hosted by Greg Hemmings along with Jon Fishman, J. Willis Pratt, John Kasiewicz.   (The panel was made available on youtube here

You may remember Greg's project, A Head's Tale from 2002 which visited the Come Together Festival along the way ;)

The documentary itself, is only about 1/2 hour and is a very interesting documentary about a guy I would never have heard of, if it weren't for Hemmingshouse putting together this production, finishing it and releasing it for free.

According to the creators, there is alot more to this story and this is really just a small taste of Pratt's life and connections.  

They've released it early, and for free on youtube while also putting a call out for people to share also for donations towards Pratt's treatments.   (I don't see a link to a campaign available yet).  

Totally worth the time to watch.   




J. Willis Pratt is a rock icon virtually unknown outside his home state of Vermont. He’s lived a difficult life, including extended bouts of homelessness, but he’s never abandoned his rock ‘n roll dreams. That’s attracted a legion of friends, fans and music collaborators, including Jon Fishman, drummer for the band Phish. When Willis was diagnosed with cancer, his band came together to join him for a benefit concert in Plainfield, Vermont. Filmmaker Greg Hemmings was there to capture that show and the story of truly remarkable friendships that have endured for decades. That film, “When You Are Wild: A Day in the Life of J. Willis Pratt,” will debut to a global audience on Friday May 8th at 6 pm ET on the Hemmings House YouTube channel.

Longtime member of Phish, the film’s co-producer and drummer for Willis’s band, Jon Fishman, ends the film by reminding the live audience that, “no one lives to rock like J. Willis Pratt. Let this be a lesson for us all to internalize.” Willis once lived out his rock dream as an opening act for Phish in Albany, New York in front of nearly  20,000 fans.

“This film proves that music can heal the soul,” says Greg Hemmings. “It’s one of the most emotionally charged stories we've ever had the opportunity to film. Willis is a remarkable person facing a very difficult challenge, but it’s his passionate approach to rock that keeps him going and has attracted so many friends who care so deeply for him.”

The hard-rocking benefit show will also be pressed into a limited edition vinyl record.

The band’s bass player, and co-producer John Kasiewicz says of the film, “This documentary shines a light directly on what makes Willis one of the most prolific and passionate rock songwriters the world has ever known. His ability to take on significant challenges in life while never compromising his sense of humor and compassion is a story that needs to be told.”

It’s free to watch the film on YouTube, but people are encouraged to contribute to a GoFundMe campaign to help Willis with his medical bills. 





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