Upstate band’s record-breaking documentary to debut on Apple TV, Amazon Prime

On Dec. 17, 2022, Upstate musician Stephen Oliver hopped onstage at Swanson’s Warehouse in downtown Greenville and began playing his mandolin.

Sometime later — 27 hours and 8 minutes later, to be specific — he stopped, having unofficially broken the Guinness World Record for continuous mandolin playing. In fact, Oliver smashed through the former record of 26 hours and 41 minutes, and he even played a brief set with his band, Brother Oliver, at the end of the attempt.

After completing a stack of paperwork that Stephen compared to “working through a lawsuit,” the Guiness Book of World Records certified Stephen as the record holder.

As you can imagine, breaking a world record is harder than just stepping up onstage and playing. Stephen spent months preparing for the attempt, and now the world can see that process, because Stephen, his brother Andrew and co-director Dan Johnson have made a documentary about the process called “How To Break A World Record.”

More than Mandolin playing

The documentary debuts on Apple TV and Amazon Prime on June 25. The Oliver brothers will celebrate with a release party at Swanson’s Warehouse June 27. They will hold a meet-and-greet with the team behind the film, take audience questions and play a full set as Brother Oliver.

“A lot of people don’t realize that there’s more than just the attempt in the movie,” Andrew Oliver says. “I think some people think the whole movie is just him playing the mandolin, but the movie covers the entire build-up to the attempt, and then the aftermath as well. And so the span of time the film covers is about eight months or so.”

Andrew Oliver and Dan Johnson decided early in Stephen’s training that the process could make a good documentary, though Stephen himself was a bit apprehensive.

“There definitely is some weirdness when you open up your life to the camera,” Stephen says. “But when it came to the record attempt, it actually helped me push through some of the trials and tribulations because it wasn’t just a personal feat; it was an entire film as well.”

Once “How To Break A World Record” was finished, however, both the Olivers and Johnson knew they had something special.

“It does a good job of making people feel like they’re hanging out with the characters in the film,” Andrew says. “It’s very fun. We don’t take ourselves too seriously, it’s not pretentious, and people so far seem to really enjoy it.”

Want To Go?

What: Brother Oliver’s Movie Release Party

When: Thurs., June 27

Where: Swanson’s Warehouse, 12 N. Irvine St., Greenville

More info:

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