There must be something in the water in Augusta, Georgia. This jewel on the River Savannah has given us James Brown, Jessye Mae Norman, and Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood – two thirds of Lady Antebellum. Less well known for the moment is another of Augusta’s gifts, Daniel “Donut” Antopolsky, known to us filmmakers as “The Sheriff of Mars”.
Born on Mars, though with a birth certificate from Augusta, Daniel was partially raised by Jessye Mae’s Aunt Francis in a home that now houses the parking lot of The Masters Golf Tournament. He grew up on music, and has never stopped playing his unique songs. The Sheriff spent his early 20’s jamming across America with the legendary Townes Van Zandt and they became good friends. Eventually, he felt like he needed to leave the 70’s outlaw country music scene after saving Townes’ life after an overdose on heroin in Houston almost killed him. Daniel had decided he wanted a more spiritual life.
He searched far and wide, traveling all over the world – America, Asia and the Middle East, then finally back to Georgia, where he found his prize jewel – Sylvia. A passionate love affair led him back to her native France and he settled in Bordeaux. Daniel found his spirituality there, had twin daughters and settled down to family life and working on a farm. The tranquility of nature allowed him to make music that didn’t have to bend to the commercial needs of any era in the US music industry. But Daniel wanted the world to hear his Sweet Lovin’ Music. So he played, somewhat bashfully after so long a break, mainly for family and close friends.
The Sheriff has now come full circle after being discovered by Jason, our Co-Director, in France and taken to Nashville to audition in front of Gary Gold, an award winning producer in the music biz. He’s recorded his first album, 40 years after missing his first chance, and his lost gems are finally able to be heard by the world. No longer alone in a room, he’s got some of Nashville’s best players with him. But none of it is easy; because it’s not easy for a man to come back from the woods after so long.
“The Sheriff of Mars” music documentary focuses on Daniel’s extraordinary life as he journeys from a lost period of America into the current one. It is a look at the great period of Outlaw Country music by an outlaw among outlaws that was too nice to remain a part of the scene and went away to play his music quietly and alone.
Jason Ressler and Matthew Woolf are the Co-Directors behind this tale. Jason, also seemingly fated to Augusta, is the man behind “Sid Bernstein Presents…” and the last person to interview the legendary James Brown before he died ; Matthew is a critically acclaimed cinematographer and producer.
Our film will introduce you to the the Daniel we have all come to know and love over the past months, and you’ll find out just why he felt he had to escape the music scene as we follow him on his journey through spiritual awakening. We’ll meet the chickens he has become so fond of, who, along with his family, have been privileged to hear his songs over the past 40 years, and we’ll explore his struggles with his values, his art and letting his spirit be free. Most of all, we’ll get hear him play.
With never before heard audio interviews, rare footage, and exclusive access, there’s even a strong case to be made that “Lefty” from Townes’ iconic Outlaw Country classic song “Pancho and Lefty”, was our very own Sheriff Daniel. Daniel may well be the lost voice of American Country Music, but will he be able to succeed in today’s very different music scene, even though his dream is simply to share his Sweet Lovin’ Music?
This documentary will be a revelation for music and story lovers everywhere in the world. It doesn’t matter if you’re from Augusta, Nashville, Bordeaux… or even Mars.