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Synopsis: Director Jacob Hatley’s intimate documentary finds Mr. Helm at home in Woodstock, NY, in the midst of creating his first studio album in 25 years. Shot during the course of two-plus years, this highly anticipated film focuses in on the four-time Grammy winner and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member after his 2007 comeback album, Dirt Farmer, brought him back to the spotlight.

Born in Arkansas in 1940, Levon Helm rose to fame as the drummer for The Band, who toured with Bob Dylan before beginning their own tours from 1968 to 1976, and whose final performance was immortalized in Martin Scorsese’s THE LAST WALTZ.

In the late 1990s, Levon Helm was diagnosed with throat cancer, and he began a series of radiation treatments that risked leaving him without his voice. Though the tumor was eventually removed, the treatment had damaged his vocal chords.

However, he made a remarkable breakthrough while drumming for his daughter, Amy. Attempting to sing backup vocals, he slowly but surely regained the use of his voice, and in 2007 began work on Dirt Farmer, which would become his first solo album in more than 25 years. It would go on to receive the Grammy the following year for Best Traditional Folk Album.

He followed this up in 2009 with Electric Dirt, which also won a Grammy in 2010 as Best Americana Album.

On April 19, 2012, Levon Helm succumbed to cancer, leaving behind an incredible musical legacy.

Jacob Hatley’s documentary, AIN’T IN IT FOR MY HEALTH: A FILM ABOUT LEVON HELM, explores the artist’s creative process at work on his comeback album, Dirt Farmer.


Documentary / Music





Run Time

83 minutes


Levon Helm (Himself)
Amy Helm (Himself)
Larry Campbell (Himself)
Billy Bob Thornton (Himself)
Teresa Williams (Himself)
Barbara O'Brien (Himself)

Directed by

Jacob Hatley

Produced by

Mary Posatko
Ren Segna

Executive Producer

Albert Berger
Ron Yerxa

Edited by

Tom Vickers


Emily Topper


SXSW Film Festival - USA - 2010

Audience Award - 24 Beats Per Second


A captivating look at a musician hanging onto his art for dear life. - Daniel Carlson, Hollywood Reporter

One of the most interesting and compelling portraits of a musician in a long time - Josh Olson, Ain't it Cool News

An affectionate tribute and a gift for fans. - New York Times

It's impossible to imagine a more exquisite, honest, and beautifully detailed documentary about the life of Levon Helm. - Village Voice

One of the most moving music documentaries in recent memory. - Rolling Stone

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