26 November 2013 1:01 PM, PST | Thompson on Hollywood | See recent Thompson on Hollywood news »

"20 Feet from Stardom" may be "the most prayed-over documentary in history," says filmmaker Morgan Neville, anxiously eyeing the clouds gathering over Manhattan. He had flown in to New York that Saturday afternoon for the New York premiere of his music documentary. But the planned venue was outside, on the rooftop of New Design High School on the Lower East Side -- and open to the elements. But Neville had a secret weapon against the threatening weather from an unlikely place: the very women whose stories form the backbone of his moving documentary. "The whole time I was making the film," Neville said over the phone, "they would call me and say, 'Morgan, we're praying for you. We're praying for this film--you're all prayed up.'" Sure enough, the clouds scudded away as the sun set, and a beautiful early summer night emerged as the movie screen sprang to life. Neville »

- Jacob Combs

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