Screened as part of NZIFF 2018

If I Leave Here Tomorrow: A Film About Lynyrd Skynyrd 2018

Directed by Stephen Kijak Music & Dance

From the swamps of Florida to a tragic end in a plane that should never have taken off, Stephen Kijak’s doco follows the wild trajectory of the original band, archetypal Southern boys who rocked the 1970s.

USA In English
95 minutes DCP



John Battsek
Diane Becker


Derek Wiesehahn


Claire Didier


Lynyrd Skynyrd


Ronnie Van Zant
Gary Rossington
Allen Collins
Bob Burns
Leon Wilkeson
Billy Powell
Ed King
Artimus Pyle
Steve Gaines & The Honkettes


SXSW 2018


Presented in Association With

The Sound

The story of Lynyrd Skynyrd is an epic one, populated with extravagant characters and framed by dramatic events. No wonder fellow Southern rockers Drive-By Truckers once wrote an opera about them. But is it a tragedy or a comedy?

We know from the start of this documentary how it will end, the night the band’s plane plunges into a Mississippi swamp, killing founder and lead singer Ronnie Van Zant and two other musicians, leaving the remainder of the band broken and bereft. And yet there is also farce, as this bunch of blue-collar Southern stoners make their improbable way from a rehearsal barn in an alligator-infested Florida swamp to the rock arenas of the world, blaring triple-guitar rock anthems such as ‘Free Bird’.

There are Spinal Tap moments, particularly where perpetually disoriented drummer Bob Burns is involved. There is political incorrectness: Skynyrd were famous for their confederate flags, substance abuse and ‘Sweet Home Alabama’, a riposte to Neil Young and his stance on Southern racism that became an anthem. Yet by the end of this astonishing, shattering story I found I cared about Lynyrd Skynyrd a whole lot more than I ever expected. — Nick Bollinger