Director: Ethan Hawke
Screenwriters: Ethan Hawke, Sybil Rosen

Institute History

  • 2018 Sundance Film Festival


U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award: Achievement in Acting

The outlaw country movement of the ’70s and ’80s spawned many music legends—Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, and Waylon Jennings spring to mind—but Blaze Foley likely isn’t the first songwriter you’d assign this status to. However, since his tragic death in 1989, the legend of Blaze has grown almost as big as the man himself. He left little behind in the way of tangible legacy, as his achingly intimate and personal songs were seldom recorded, but those close to him knew a man who stayed true to his ideals no matter how many bar fights he got into over them.

Newcomer Benjamin Dickey fills the title role with appropriate gusto, and director Ethan Hawke weaves together three singular threads of time to represent the life of Blaze Foley. Through these separate strands—his love affair with girlfriend Sybil Rosen, an alcohol-fueled night spent singing and picking guitar at Austin’s famous Outhouse bar, and a posthumous radio interview where musicians Zee and Townes Van Zandt remember their departed friend—the true story of Blaze unfolds. Or is it all just legend?

— A.M.

Screening Details

Sundance Film Festival Awards


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