The Smart Studios Story

The post-70’s explosion of independent music in America has many traceable roots, each with a compelling story. One of its most significant has never been told until now. Drawing on never-before-seen archival footage, in-depth-interviews with musicians and producers, and a mighty soundtrack, THE SMART STUDIOS STORY reveals the pivotal Midwest link to the global rise of 1990's Alternative Rock and the unassuming Madison, Wisconsin recording studio at its center. If you’ve ever been touched by the music of Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Garbage, L7 or their peers, you’ve been touched by the music created at Smart Studios, the legendary recording facility founded by Butch Vig and Steve Marker.


Add a review


See more films


  • ★★★★ review by adelaideblair on Letterboxd

    I've actually watched this twice this year (once for review and once just for fun.) I am not generally interested in watching dudes talk about the music industry, but this is such a delightful and fun look at the history of the Wisconsin music scene and Smart Studios, that it's ended up being one of my favorite films of the year. It's coming out on DVD soon, and eventually digital. Catch it if you get a chance, it's a lot of fun. (For those of you looking to watch more films directed by women, here's one for your list.)

  • ★★★★ review by Substream Magazine on Letterboxd

    Whenever people begin discussing the history of rock and all the cities that played a part in shaping its elaborate history, most never even think to mention Madison, Wisconsin—but they should. Far from the skyline of Chicago, Madison was home to one of the most influential recording studios of the last 30 years, and a new film from director Wendy Schneider ensures its legacy will live on.

    Full review:

  • See all reviews