A musician tired of trying to conquer the LA scene moves back to Texas in the crowd pleasing Sironia. Free Press Houston spoke to Wes Cunningham who in addition to starring also composed the film’s score, wrote several songs heard in Sironia, and co-wrote the script with director Brandon Dickerson (and Thomas Ward).

“The story is built around music,” explains Cunningham, “And yes there is a semi-autobiographical element to the story. But most of my songs have always taken an autobiographical slant.” Cunningham, a native Texan, lived the musician’s dream of moving to the West Coast and writing music for films and television; his songs have been featured in Saved! (2004) and shows like Jane By Design and My Name is Earl. Like the character he plays in Sironia Cunningham got fed up with the music business and moved back to Texas with his wife and kids while at the same time trying to view his subsequent career in perspective.

“There’s a novel by Madison Cooper, which was a tell-all on Waco society called Sironia, and that’s where we took the title,” notes Cunningham. (At the time of its publication in the early-50s Cooper’s book was considered one of the longest English novel’s published clocking in at over 1700 pages.) The production shot for three weeks at locations around Waco as well as a week in Los Angeles. Sironia successfully played the festival circuit to acclaim last year also winning the Audience Award at the Austin Film Festival. Sironia also stars Amy Acker, Carrie Preston and Jeremy Sisto.

Cunningham will introduce Sironia on Monday night at the Sundance Cinemas Houston at 7:15 pm as part of an ongoing series presented by the Texas Independent Film Network. Your humble scribe will host a post-screening Q&A with Cunningham, after which he will perform a few songs.

— Michael Bergeron