Synopsis: Billy Mize’s contributions to country western music helped shape the industry. His charm and golden voice are legendary among country music’s elite as is his passion for music. He was one of the founding members of the Bakersfield Sound, whose most famous musicians include Buck Owens and Merle Haggard. But this story isn’t about the struggle for fame; it’s about the struggle for family. This film is an intimate portrait of a life that soared into dreams only to collapse into nightmare. Billy, the Most Promising Male Vocalist of 1966, lost his voice to a stroke after losing his family to a series of horrible tragedies. The film will follow Billy as he fights to regain his ability to sing. At the conclusion of this film, during a celebration for Billy’s eightieth birthday, he will take the stage for the first time in twenty years, pull the microphone close, and sing.
William J Saunders received his MFA in directing from Columbia University, where his thesis film, Dash Cunning, won awards in film festivals around the world. Saunders cut his teeth at NFL Films where he directed and produced documentary content for broadcast and cable networks such as HBO, FOX, ABC, NFL Network and the BBC. Big Charile’s, a documentary Saunders produced and directed about a Chiefs bar in the heart of South Philadelphia, won an EMMY Award in the Outstanding Long Feature category. In 2011, Film Works Entertainment distributed his first narrative feature film Sweet Little Lies, about a young girl’s quest to find her father. His documentary Billy Mize & the Bakersfield Sound, was recently selected by Film Independent to participate in their 2012 documentary fellowship program. He currently resides in Los Angeles with his dog, Bunji.
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