Film critic Roger Ebert called The Great World of Sound, “a confident, sure-handed exercise focusing on the American Dream, turned nightmare.” This eccentric, awardwinning film screens this Saturday, Jan. 12, at 7:30 p.m. at the Katharine Cornell Theatre on Spring street in Vineyard Haven.

The film springs from what might be called our “American Idol culture,” in which the road to success and fame is usually paved with manufactured talent. The Great World of Sound examines people looking for a shortcut to fame — and the people who promise it.

The story follows Martin, who answers an ad from a company training prospective “music producers.” During training, he pairs up with Clarence, a middle-aged man trying to change careers. As record producers, the two travel to towns where the company has placed ads to find undiscovered musicians. They’re seeking talent for the record label, signing new artists and giving them a chance to let their music be heard ... for a small fee.

Actor Pat Healy plays Martin as a contemporary Willy Loman. Paired with Kene Holliday, the two form an unlikely duo with an uncanny chemistry. Director Craig Zobel seamlessly incorporates footage of real people (who did not know they were being filmed for a feature film) into his painfully authentic story of achieving wealth and success by exploiting the hopes of others.

Mr. Zobel recently won a Gotham Award for best director for this film and is nominated for a Independent Spirit Award. Kene Holiday was also nominated for a best actor award.

Admission is $8, or $5 for film society members. For details, see online or call 774-392-2972.