Saturday, April 26, 2008

Music, Peace

Seeing the documentary PLAYING FOR CHANGE: Peace Through Music, was truly an uplifting experience. I got to see it at a public screening, courtesy of one of Tribeca's programmers who walked me in (my pass this year gets me to press & industry screenings only), which made a big difference, as it was great to see the audience applaud after each song as if they were at a concert...

Filmmakers Jonathan Walls and Mark Johnson literally travelled across the world in search of virtuosic street musicians who played for freedom and peace. Taking the song STAND BY ME as one of the anchors of the film, sung originally by an old street musician in Santa Monica California, and using it as the template for more than 35 streets musicians from Nepal to Amsterdam and from Tel Aviv to Cape Town, who, each, sang their own version of the song along with the taped version from Santa Monica, they created a magical musical piece that spans continents, generation, cultures, economics and religions. And that was just the start...Pretty amazing. The standing ovation at the end of the film was one of the many indications at the screening how moved the audience was. The final treat, when the filmmakers walked to the front for Q&A and invited some of the street musicians we have just seen, from Amsterdam, Paris, Brazil...the applause were deafening. Good experience.

Following the screening the Kodak reception at the Filmmakers Lounge was a nice extension. Even though there was no music there, there was a good mix of industry folks, from the Director of Film at the Consulate General of Israel to filmmakers from Cuba, Australia, France, and of course, NY, and so again, there was a sense of global togetherness.

But it was at the Netflix party later on which celebrated the film CHEVOLUTION, about the commercialization of the CHE image throughout the world, where more of the film community came together. Talking to producer Ted Hope (THE ICE STORM, IN THE BEDROOM, 21 GRAMS, THE SAVAGES) about his new project, which he is intent to shoot in NY (thanks in big part to the new tax incentive that has recently come through in NY), we discussed the possibility of the film shooting in the Hudson Valley, and, crossing my fingers, it looks good!!! Stay tuned, but if all goes well, that will be a great economic boost to the local economy. Other folks, from Liesl Copland of Netflix, to folks from Cinetic Media, Killer Films, Magnolia Pictures, and many others rounded up the night to the lively tunes of a Cuban band, who, by the way, kept on playing songs by the musician who scored many of WFF's alum Hugo Perez's films. Hugo, a great intellectual filmmaker who transforms when he hears the sounds of his youth, could not leave the party until its very end as he loved the music so much.

And on that "musical" note, let me end for now. Until next time.

1 comment:

Saw Lady said...

Thank you for telling about the film 'Playing for Change' - I now understand why I was approached in the NYC subway by an A&R person of a hip-hop lable, telling me they want to get buskers to play a song they are promoting in a video they are making for YouTube. they must have gotten the idea from the movie!

All the best,

Saw Lady
www.SawLady.com/blog