BLAZE, co-written, produced and directed by four-time Academy-Award® nominated actor and screenwriter Ethan Hawke, will premiere across Texas in August to celebrate the film’s Lone Star roots.
To commemorate the Texas love story of Sybil Rosen and Blaze Foley, Hawke and Sundance Selects will release BLAZE in Texas markets first. It opens first in Austin on August 17, followed by Dallas and Houston on August 24. Additional Texas cities will be added until the film’s national release date in New York on September 7 and LA on September 14.
Hawke and Ben Dickey, who plays Blaze Foley, will tour in August to introduce the film to Texans in key cities around the state. The duo will kick-off their Texas tour in Houston and proceed to Dallas, Austin, Lubbock, El Paso and San Antonio. Public screenings, concerts and events will bring the state together to celebrate the life of Foley and this special tribute to Texas outlaw music.
“For my first concert, my dad drove us from Fort Worth to Austin in a Chevy Barracuda to see Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic in 1976,” Hawke said. “I’ve been in love with outlaw country music ever since. So when making a film about Blaze Foley, I knew it couldn’t open in New York or Los Angeles. We had to open in Texas. So, Texas, here we come.”
Texas born and raised Hawke co-wrote the film with Foley’s wife Sybil Rosen, based on her memoir “Living in the Woods in a Tree: Remembering Blaze Foley.” It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, where newcomer Dickey won the Special Jury Award for Achievement in Acting for his portrayal of Foley. The film has been lauded by audiences and critics alike.
BLAZE is inspired by the life of Blaze Foley, the unsung songwriting legend of the Texas outlaw music movement that spawned the likes of Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson. The film weaves together three different periods of time, braiding re-imagined versions of Blaze’s past, present and future. The different strands explore his love affair with Sybil Rosen; his final performance in a near-empty honky-tonk; his last, dark night on earth; and the impact that his songs and his death had on his fans, friends, and foes.
For Dickey, a musician in his own right, BLAZE was his on-screen debut alongside Alia Shawkat, Josh Hamilton, Charlie Sexton, Richard Linklater, Sam Rockwell, Steve Zahn, and Alynda Segarra. Keeping with the theme of the film, Dickey, Hawke and other cast members performed Foley’s songs following both festival premieres. The majority of the music is written by Blaze Foley, with an original track by Ben Dickey and musical performances by many of the cast. The soundtrack will be released by Light in the Attic Records later this year.
“Texas is a universe unto itself – big and broad, old and brand new,” Dickey said. “Texas holds a grand inspiration in my heart. My father is from Palestine, Texas and I am so very proud to be beginning the BLAZE rollout in Texas. After all, Blaze Foley found his voice in Texas with his good friend, the legend, Townes Van Zandt. We are gonna see miles and miles of Texas, and I couldn’t be more excited about it. “