Compiled by Barbara Rose Lange (University of Houston)
Africa | Americas | Asia, Australia, and Oceania | Europe | Distributor
Amandla! A Revolution in Four Part Harmony. Directed by Lee
Hirsch. Distributed by HBO/Cinemax. 108 mins. Details how protest songs
were used in the struggle to end apartheid in South Africa. Includes interviews
with activists and musicians who were exiled, archival footage of protests,
and descriptions of music as a vehicle for communication among prisoners.
Gumboots: An Explosion of Spirit and Song. 2001 (2000). Distributed
by Image Entertainment, Chatsworth, CA. DVD, 80 mins. Performance footage
from a 1999-2000 tour by a Soweto group illustrating the rhythmic communication
in chains and rubber boots that laborers developed in the mines of South
Africa. DVD includes a documentary, The Gumboots Story.
I'll Sing for You. 2001. Directed by Jacques Sarasim. Distributed
by Productions Faire Bleu, Paris, France. Video, 76 mins. Explores the effects
of Boubacar Traoré's turn to political activism and advocacy of free
speech in Mali. Once a popular singer, he fell into obscurity. Includes comments
by other Malian musicians. [ Traore ]
On Tiptoe: The Music of Ladysmith Black Mambazo. 2000. Directed
by Eric Simonsen. 85 mins. Provides a history of isicathamiya and charts
Ladysmith Black Mambazo's rise to stardom after the 1987 Graceland album;
follows the group on tour.
El Alacrán (The Scorpion). 2001. Directed by Gloria Rolando.
Distributed by AfroCubaWeb, Arlington, MA. Video, 19 mins. Depicts the history
of carnaval in Cuba, and describes the importance of African culture in this
tradition. Follows the comparsa group El Alacrán during the 2000 carnaval
and compares its activities to those found in New Orleans. English subtitles.
[ Alacran ]
American Roots Music. 2001. Directed by Jim Brown. Distributed
by Palm Pictures, New York, NY. DVD. The four-part series originally for
television, depicting U.S. gospel, country, blues, folk revival, Native
American, and other "roots" music. DVD includes extra footage of Sister
Rosetta Tharpe, Valerio Longoria, Bob Wills, and others.
The Battle of Mexico City. 2001 (2000). Distributed by Sony Music,
New York, NY. DVD, 68 mins. Concert and video journal of Rage Against the
Machine as they performed in Mexico City. Includes footage of police riots
outside the performance venue, and comments by band members supporting the
Zapatistas and other groups that oppose Mexican government policies.
Blank Generation and Dancin’ Barefoot. 2000 (1976/1995). Directed
by Ivan Kral and Amos Poe. Distributed by MVD, Oaks, PA. DVD. Digital
remaster of the two films about seminal musicians of the New York punk
Bomba - Dancing the Drum. 2000. Directed by Ashley James. 60 mins.
Traces the history of bomba through the Cepedas, leading performers of this
genre, over several generations.
Breath Control: The History of the Human Beat Box. 2001. Directed
by Joey Garfield. Video, 80 mins. Depicts singers who replicate the sounds
of drum machines, drawing links with African vocal traditions, scat-singing,
and Tuvan throat singing. Incorporates animation; includes commentary by Michael
Franti, Mos Def, and Marie Dualne.
Cuba Feliz. 2000. Directed by Karim Dridi. Distributed by Empire
Pictures, New York, NY. 96 mins. A musical travelogue following Miguel del
Morales, a guitarist and singer who hitchhikes across Cuba and jams with other
musicians along the way. Filmed in everyday environments like plazas, courtyards,
homes, and sports fields. English subtitles.
Denis A. Charles: An Interrupted Conversation. 2001. Directed by
Véronique N. Doumbé. Distributed by Ndolo Films. 75 mins.
Depicts avant-garde jazz drummer Charles, with performance footage from
the last two years of his life. [ Veronique Doumbe]
The Devil's Accordion. 2000. Directed by Stefan Schwietert. Distributed
by Celluloid Dreams World Sales. 35 mm, 90 mins. Follows Pacho Rada,
an itinerant musician fictionalized by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Contrasts
his poverty-stricken living conditions with the success of his songs. Includes
footage of cumbia musician Alfredo Gutierrez and vallenato musician Israel
Down from the Mountain. 2000. Directed by Nick Doob, Chris Hegedus,
and D.A. Pennebaker. Distributed by Cowboy Booking International, New York,
NY, and Artisan Entertainment, Santa Monica, CA. Film and DVD, 98 mins. Features
the musicians who played on the soundtrack of O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Depicts rehearsals and interviews with Alison Krauss, Ralph Stanley, Gillian
Welch, Emmylou Harris, the Fairfield Four, and others, as well as their Nashville
Down to the Crux. 2000. Directed by Michael Lucio Sternbach. Video,
45 mins. Explores connections between avant-garde jazz and the civil rights
movement in the 1960s. Features music of John Coltrane, Archie Shepp, Albert
Ayler, and others.
Guadalupe, Mother of All Mexico. 2000. Directed by Pat Collins and
Robert Cozens. Distributed by San Rafael-VHS Videos, Houston, TX. Beta SP,
57 mins. Follows pilgrimages to shrines of the Virgin Mary in many regions
of Mexico. Includes footage of musical processionals and testaments about
Jimmy Scott: If You Only Knew. 2001. Directed by Matthew Buzzell.
Distributed by Tree Media Group, Santa Monica, CA. DV, 77 mins. Documents
the life and career of blues singer Jimmy Scott, including the medical condition
that has produced his unique voice. Traces his fall into obscurity and subsequent
rise, including a concert tour of Japan.
Karaoke Fever. 2001. Directed by Arthur Borman and Steve Danielson.
Distributed by Arthur Borman, Los Angeles, CA. DV, 91 mins. Depicts Karaoke
Fest, a high-profile karaoke contest in California. Includes interview and
The Miles Davis Story. 2001. Directed by Mike Dibb. Distributed by
Dibb Directions Ltd., London, UK. Video, 124 mins. Biography of Miles Davis;
traces his stylistic experiments and delves into his private life.
Mule Skinner Blues. 2000. Directed by Stephen Earnhart and Victoria
Ford. Distributed by Steel Carrot Productions, New York, NY. DV, 93 mins.
Depicts aspiring singers and artists in Mayport, Florida. Utilizes techniques
of collaboration and film production not usually associated with documentaries.
Includes a music video that the directors shot of one of the subject's songs.
Re-stages events, uses stop-motion animation, and incorporates a horror film
that the subjects shoot themselves.
New York - Puerto Rico: William Cepeda's Jazz, el Trombon de Bomba.
2001. Directed by Louise Ernst. Distributed by Baila Films, Paris. Trombonist
Cepeda has created a form of Latin jazz based on Puerto Rican bomba. This
film depicts Cepeda visiting with people in Loiza, his home town in Puerto
Rico, and with bomba performers in New York. 65 mins.
Rage: 20 Years of Punk Rock, West Coast Style. 2000. Directed by
Scott Jacoby and Michael Bishop. Distributed by MVD, Oaks, PA. DVD, 66 mins.
Depicts the punk rock scene on the west coast of the U.S. Focuses on major
figures from groups like the Dead Kennedys and the Circle Jerks. Includes
recollections of life in punk clubs and video clips made at the time. DVD
includes director's comments and extra audio tracks.
The Ralph Stanley Story. 2000. Directed by Herb E. Smith. 82 mins.
Describes the role of the Stanley brothers in the formation of bluegrass music.
The Split Horn: The Life of a Hmong Shaman in America. 2001. Directed
by Tabbart Siegel. Distributed by Filmakers Library, New York, NY. 58 mins.
Shows dilemmas in the life of Paja Thao, a Hmong shaman who emigrated with
his family from Laos to the United States; Paja tries to continue the family's
hereditary religion and other ways of life, as his children embrace American
popular culture, including Christianity.
Standing in the Shadows of Motown. 2001. Directed by Paul Justman.
Distributed by Artisan Entertainment, Santa Monica, CA. 16 mm, 116 mins. Describes
the role of the Funk Brothers, the musicians Berry Gordy recruited from Detroit's
jazz and blues scene to back up Motown singers. Stages a reunion of the surviving
musicians, who accompany such singers as Me'Shell NdegeOcello, Chaka Khan,
and Ben Harper in recreations of Motown classics.
Strange Fruit. 2002. Directed by Joel Katz. Distributed by California
Newsreel, San Francisco, CA. Video, 57 mins. Traces the history of the song
made famous in Billie Holiday's performance. Delves into the songwriter's
background as a union activist; includes reflections by folksingers, civil
rights activists, and modern-day jazz performers.
La Tropical. 2001. Directed by David Turnley. DV, 95 mins. Portrait
of a dance hall, an amphitheater that serves as a center of social life for
working-class Cubans. Includes footage of concerts, cabarets, and dances,
as well as comments by musicologists, sociologists, and historians.
Van Van, Empezó la Fiesta (Van Van, Let's Party). 2000. Directed
by Liliana Mazure and Aaron Vega. Distributed by ARCA Difusion, Buenos Aires,
Argentina. 35 mm, 80 mins. Tells the thirty-year history of the Orquesta Van
Van; examines the conflict between some band members, and shows anti-Castro
opposition to the group as it performs in Miami. English subtitles. [ Empezo
You See Me Laughin. 2001. Directed by Mandy Stein. 16mm and video,
90 mins. Depicts the musicians and executives of the Fat Possum Records label.
Includes footage of T-Model Ford, R.L. Burnside, and Cedell Davis, and comments
by rock stars who concertized with them.
Asia, Australia, and Oceania
Facing the Music. 2001. Directed by Bob Connolly and Robin Anderson.
Distributed by Film Australia, Lindfield, Australia. Video, 89 mins. Centers
on the activities of Anne Boyd, a composition teacher at the University of
Sydney. Shows Boyd as a demanding teacher with a vision of western classical
music as an art form with spiritual significance. Follows Boyd as she and
her staff cope with funding cutbacks.
Friends in High Places. 2001. Directed by Lindsey Merrison. Distributed
by Lindsey Merrison, Bilthoven, The Netherlands. 86 mins. Depicts a cult of
spirit mediumship that has been active under the military dictatorship in
Googoosh: Iran's Daughter. 2001. Directed by Farhad Zamani. Distributed
by Atash Productions. Video, 155 mins. Reflects on the career of Googoosh
in the context of the Iranian revolution. Conceived before the singer resumed
public performances, this production includes footage of films in which Googoosh
starred and interviews with songwriters and lyricists.
Kodo. 2001 (1999). Distributed by Image Entertainment, Chatsworth,
CA. DVD, 69 mins. A documentary for Japanese television showing Kodo's training
and apprenticeship routines on Sado island. Includes group members' reflections
on the war-torn history of Croatia as they give a concert there. English subtitles.
Ribat. 2001. Directed by Deger Kavaz and Ozgür E. Arik.
Distributed by Ankara University Faculty of Communication, Ankara, Turkey.
28 mins. Depicts Kurdish epic singers. [ Ozgur ]
Swing in Beijing. 2000 (1999). Directed by Shui Bo Wang. Distributed
by First Run/Icarus, New York, NY. Video and DVD, 73 mins. Surveys
the avant-garde arts in Beijing, depicting punk musicians, visual artists,
and the director of a play.
A Voice from Heaven. 1999. Directed by Giuseppe Asaro. Distributed
by WinStar, New York, NY. Video, 75 mins. A tribute to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan,
with concert footage and interviews with Nusrat, family members, and pop stars
with whom he collaborated.
Youth. 2000. Directed by Ali Bilail, Samia Chala, and Muriel Aboulrouss.
Distributed by First Run/Icarus, New York, NY. Video, 26 mins. Arab Diaries,
Part 2. Examines the difficulties faced by young women in Lebanon, Egypt,
and Algeria. The Algerian segment features two female rap musicians whose
lyrics express political dissent.
Holy Mountain. 2001. Directed by Aleksei Aleksejev. Distributed by
Faama Film, Tallinn, Estonia. 28 mins. Depicts a quadrennial ritual of the
Mari people centered on a sacred mountain where gods relating to nature are
honored. Relates efforts by the Russian Orthodox church to suppress the religion.
The Key from Spain: The Songs and Stories of Flory Jagoda. 2000.
Directed by Ankica Petrovic and Mischa Livingstone. Distributed by National
Center for Jewish Film, Waltham, MA. Video, 40 mins. Traces the life of Flory
Jagoda from Bosnia through her emigration to North America. Includes footage
of live concerts.
Listen with Pain: Einstürzende Neubaten. 2000. Directed by Birgit
Herdlitschke and Christian Beetz. Distributed by Gebrüder Beetz Filmproduktion,
Berlin. 57 mins. Relates the history of the German avant-garde group Einstürzende
Neubaten and the context of their performances during the punk movement, the
time of the Berlin wall, and tours to the U.S. and Japan. Includes material
from interviews conducted with the bandmembers during the 1990s. [ Einsturzende
Masquerade. 2001. Directed by Cornel Gheorghita. Distributed by Lapilli
Films, Toulouse, France. 52 mins. Depicts masked new years celebrations in
the Moldova region.
Russia’s Wonder Children (Russlands Wunderkinder). 2000. Directed
by Irene Langermann. Distributed by First Run/Icarus, New York, NY. 35 mm,
98 mins. Depicts the life of child prodigies at the Moscow Conservatory. Includes
historical footage from the Communist era; focuses on several young musicians,
including one who is nearing adulthood.
Songs of Youth. 2001. Directed by Konstantin Selezen. Distributed
by Selekt Films, Toronto, Ontario. 16 mm, 55 mins. Depicts the daily routine
of a street musician, a blind accordion player who performs in the open-air
marketplace of Odessa, Ukraine.
Arlington, MA 02474
Faculty of Communication
Cebeci, Ankara, Turkey
ARCA Difusion, S.A.
Avda. Sante Fe 2206, Piso 4 3/4 "G" (1123)
P.O. Box 3463
Los Angeles, CA 90078
210 rue Saint-Maur
75010 Paris, France
149 Ninth Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
Celluloid Dreams World Sales
Cowboy Booking International
6 W. 24th St.
New York, NY 10010
Dibb Directions Ltd.
27 Lillian Rd.
London SW13 9JG
350 Fifth Ave., Ste. 7801
New York, NY 10018
Film Australia Video Sales
101 Eton Rd.
Lindfield NSW 2070, Australia
61 02 9413 8634
fax: 61 02 9416 9401
Filmakers Library, Inc.
124 East 40th St.
New York, NY 10016
First Run/Icarus Films
153 Waverly Place
New York, NY 10014
Gebrüder Beetz Filmproduktion
10435 Berlin, Germany
[ Gebruder ]
19 rue Deodora
31400 Toulouse, France
MVD - Music Video Distributors
PO Box 280
Oaks, PA 19456
National Center for Jewish Film
Lown 102 MS053
Waltham, MA 02454-9110
601 W. 26th St., 11th Floor
New York, NY 10001
Productions Faire Bleu
5, Rue de Charonne
75011 Paris, France
San Rafael-VHS Videos
Houston, TX 77005
60 Mountview Ave., Ste. 1601
Toronto, ONT M6P 2 L4 Canada
550 Madison Avenue, 27th fl.
New York, NY 10022-3211
Steel Carrot Productions
250 W. 49th St., Ste. 301
New York, NY 10019
Tree Media Group
2218 Main St., 2nd floor
Santa Monica, CA 90405
WinStar Communications/Fox Lorber
419 Park Ave. South, 20th floor
New York, NY 10016