Compiled by David Henderson (St. Lawrence University)
Along with recent releases, this issue includes older films distributed
by Insight Media and the Cinema Guild that did not appear in earlier issues.
Acknowledgements:St. Lawrence University Libraries for financial and technical
General | Africa | Americas | Asia
and Oceania | Europe | Distributor Information
Chants Encounter. 1995. Directed by Don Hill (Canada). Distributed
by Insight Media. DVD, 28 mins. Examination of chant and its significance
in Greek, Mongolian, Hopi, Mayan, Tibetan, and Benedictine cultures, with
particular attention to a performance by the Ganden Jangtse monks in India.
Music and Culture. 1977. Produced by Mary Watanabe (USA). Distributed
by Insight Media. VHS, 40 mins. Introduction to the study of music and culture,
including discussions of musical change, music and religion, and music and
communication in Polynesian, African, and Native American cultures. Suitable
for junior and senior high school students.
Sound, Music, and the Environment. 1999. Directed by Martin D.
Toub (USA). Distributed by Insight Media. VHS, 30 mins. Survey of the definitions
of music, co-written by Toub, James Cowdery, and Dorothea Hast. Considers
the relations between style and culture in Tuvan throat singing and Bosnian
ganga and becarac singing, as well as in music from Ireland, West Africa,
Trinidad, Japan, and the United States.
Song of the Spear. 1986. Directed by Barry Feinberg (UK). Distributed
by the Cinema Guild. VHS, 57 mins. Exploration of the struggle for liberation
in South Africa, intercutting excerpts from a British tour by the cultural
ensemble, Amandla, with street performances and interviews in South Africa.
Songololo: Voices of Change. 1990. Directed by Marianne Kaplan
(Canada). Distributed by the Cinema Guild. VHS, 54 mins. Documentary on
the artistic resistance to apartheid in South Africa, with the participation
of poet Mzwakhe Mbuli, writers Gcina Mhlophe and Nadine Gordimer, musician
Johnny Clegg, and ANC leader Walter Sisulu.
Under African Skies. 1989. Produced by Mark Kidel and Michael
Raeburn (UK). Distributed by Insight Media. VHS, 120 mins. Episodes on music
in Zimbabwe and Mali from the BBC TV series of the same name, with the participation
of Ghanaian actor Hugh Quarshie.
Afrocubanismo! 1995. Directed by Alejandro F. Escobar (Cuba/Canada).
Distributed by Insight Media. DVD, 52 mins. Investigation of Afrocuban influences
on contemporary music. With interviews and performances by Muñequitos
de Matanzas and Chucho Valdés.
Beef III. 2005. Directed by Peter Spirer (USA). Distributed by
Image Entertainment. DVD, 85 mins. Hot on the heels of Beef (2003) and Beef
II (2004) comes this fetchingly titled work narrated by DJ Kayslay and featuring
50 Cent, The Game, Yukmouth, Jim Jones, and others.
Brian Wilson Presents Smile. 2005 (2004). Directed by David Leaf
and John Anderson (USA). Distributed by Rhino Home Video. DVD, 240 mins.
Includes the Showtime documentary, Beautiful Dreamer: Brian Wilson and The
Story of Smile, and a recording of a live performance of Smile in Los Angeles,
along with interviews, outtakes, and highlights from the world premiere
of Smile at Royal Festival Hall in London in February, 2004.
Destination Barbados. 1997. Directed by Ola Balogun (Nigeria).
Distributed by the Cinema Guild. VHS, 29 mins. This documentary features
some of the island's leading performers, discusses the origins of calypso
music and its blending of Caribbean and African influences, traces the history
of Barbados (including a celebrated 19th century slave rebellion), and displays
the colorful and spectacular costumes which transform individual celebrants
into walking parade floats.
Dig! 2005 (2004). Directed by Ondi Timoner (USA). Distributed
by Palm Pictures. DVD, 107 mins. Documentary shot from 1996 to 2002, focusing
in particular on the friendship and rivalry between Anton Newcombe of the
Brian Jonestown Massacre and Courtney Taylor of the Dandy Warhols. The film
will "stay with you longer than either band’s ephemeral music,”
writes Laura Sinagra of the Village Voice.
Discovering American Indian Music. 1971. Directed by Bernard Wilets
(USA). Distributed by Insight Media. DVD, 24 mins. Survey of Native American
music from around the United States.
Festival. 2005 (1967). Directed by Murray Lerner (USA). Distributed
by Eagle Rock Entertainment. DVD, 97 mins. A classic film (nominated for
an Oscar for Best Documentary in 1968) made up of Newport Folk Festival
footage shot from 1963 to 1966. Roger Ebert described the film as "marvelously
entertaining” in a May 21, 1968 review for the Chicago Sun-Times.
"Lerner shows performances by some 30 different singers; we rarely
get more than a chorus or two of each (although we get a great deal too
much of Peter, Paul and Mary).”
Girl Beat: Power of the Drum. 2003. Directed by Suzanne Girot
(Brazil). Distributed by the Cinema Guild. VHS, 47 mins. Profile of Banda
Didá, an all-female drumming and vocal group in Salvador, Brazil,
which incorporates slave stories into its lyrics and performs in the same
town square where slaves were once sold. Along with providing background
on the colonial history of the nation, Girot visits with several members
of the group in their homes and shows their auditions, rehearsals, and performances.
In Portuguese with English subtitles.
Hip-Hop: A Culture of Influence. 1999. Directed by Torrance York
(USA). Distributed by Insight Media. VHS, 28 mins. Consideration of questions
of race, sexuality, commercialism, and representation in hip-hop, explored
primarily through interviews with musicians, journalists, writers, and scholars.
Commissioned by the Brooklyn Museum of Art and produced by Youth Organizers
Indiana Aria. 2002. Directed by Elizabeth Pollock (USA). Distributed
by the Cinema Guild. DVD, 24 mins. Documentary tracing the lives and aspirations
of four opera students in the School of Music at Indiana University.
Letter to the President. 2005 (2004). Directed by Thomas Gibson
(USA). Distributed by Image Entertainment. DVD, 90 mins. Documentary on
the relations between hip-hop and politics, featuring interviews with Wyclef
Jean, Russell Simmons, Black Eyed Peas, Amiri Baraka, Nelson George, and
others. Narrated by Snoop Dogg.
Louisiana Hayride. 1984. Produced by Rick Smith and Carole Adornetto
Leslie (USA). Distributed by Kultur. DVD, 62 mins. Documentary about the
Louisiana Hayride show on radio station KWKH in Shreveport, Louisiana, which
aired from 1948 to 1958. Narrated by Hank Williams, Jr.
Mad Hot Ballroom. 2005. Directed by Marilyn Agrelo (USA). Distributed
by Paramount Home Video. DVD, 105 mins. Wonderfully shot and edited documentary
that follows three ballroom dance classes for fifth-graders at New York
City public schools as they prepare for a city-wide competition.
The Music of the Devil, the Bear, and the Condor. 1989. Directed
by Mike Akester (USA). Distributed by the Cinema Guild. VHS, 52 mins. Documentary
of Aymara ceremonies, festivals, and performances, filmed in the Andes,
with music by Inti-Raymi.
Musical Instruments and Genres of Lambayeque. 1994. Directed by
Gisela Cánepa Koch (Peru). Distributed by Insight Media. VHS, 27
mins. Exploration of music in coastal and mountainous Lambayeque in Peru.
Musique Antillean. 1992. Directed by Tony Hall (Trinidad &
Tobago). Distributed by Insight Media. VHS, 30 mins. Examination of zouk
and cadance in Martinique and other parts of the French Caribbean.
The Pipes Are Calling. 1990. Directed by Susan Arbuthnot (USA).
Distributed by the Cinema Guild. VHS, 29 mins. Portrait of a summer bagpipe
school at North Idaho College, filmed in 1988.
Riding with the King. 1989. Directed by Lisa Roach and Daphne
Ireland (USA). Distributed by the Cinema Guild. VHS, 59 mins. Documentary
accompanying an Elvis Presley fan from Tupelo, Mississippi, to Memphis,
Rockin’ at the Red Dog: The Dawn of Psychedelic Rock. 2005.
Directed by Mary Works (USA). Distributed by Monterey Media. VHS and DVD,
91 mins. Documentary of the incubation of psychedelic rock at the Red Dog
Saloon in Virginia City, Nevada, assembled out of music, photographs, lightshows,
poster art, interviews, performances, and rare archival footage. Narrated
by Howard Hesseman.
See You in Hell, Blind Boy. 1998. Directed by Steven Budlong (USA).
Distributed by the Cinema Guild. VHS, 52 mins. Documentary following George
Pratt as he tours the Mississippi Delta doing research for his novel of
the same name. Includes archival footage of Muddy Waters, Mississippi John
Hurt, Skip James and Howlin’ Wolf. Winner of the Best Documentary
at the 1999 New York International Independent Film & Video Festival.
Sing! Healing, Community, Celebration. 2000. Directed by Bill
Weaver (USA). Distributed by the Cinema Guild. VHS, 52 mins. Profile of
three female vocalists: Shivon Robinsong, director of the Gettin’
Higher Choir, a no-audition choir; Gina Sala, who has overcome what might
be perceived as the limitations of a high-pitched voice to develop a distinctive
singing style, filtered through fourteen different languages; and Laurel
Murphy, who has returned to singing after a decade-long hiatus.
The Soul of the Islands. 1988. Directed by Alain d’Aix (Canada).
Distributed by the Cinema Guild. VHS, 30 mins. Docu-drama following poet
Anthony Phelps as he returns from Montreal to his native Haiti, and featuring
Haitian singer Toto Bissainthe, who recounts in song a fable that recreates
the island’s past and reveals its continuing tragedy.
The Spitball Story. 1997. Directed by Jean Bach (USA). Distributed
by the Cinema Guild. VHS, 21 mins. A short film about Dizzy Gillespie’s
antics as a performer in Cab Calloway’s band. Includes interviews
with Milt Hinton, Dizzy Gillespie, and Jonah Jones, as well as archival
Still Swingin’: The History of Bob Wills and Western Swing Music.
2005 (1994). Directed by Christopher Lewis (USA). Distributed by VCI Entertainment.
DVD, 303 mins. DVD re-release of documentary of Bob Wills and the history
of Western swing music, with over four hours of additional materials. Hosted
by Red Steagall. [Originally cited in the "Current Film/Videography”
in Ethnomusicology 40/1.]
Sun, Moon & Feather. 1989. Directed by Bob Rosen and Jane
Zipp (USA). Distributed by the Cinema Guild. VHS, 30 mins. This prize-winning
musical comedy/documentary, blending documentary, musical theater and personal
memoir, is about three Native American sisters growing up in Brooklyn during
the 1930s and ‘40s. Starring Lisa Mayo, Gloria Miguel, and Muriel
Verso Negro. 1999. Directed by Leita Luchetti and Ben Levin (USA).
Distributed by the Cinema Guild. VHS, 40 mins. A profile of Efraín
Ortiz, a Puerto Rican declamador of verso negro, an African-influenced style
of poetry that arose in Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic from
the 1920's through the 1940's and remains popular today. Some historical
background on the verso negro movement and its major poets, such as Fortunato
Vizcarrondo, Nicolás Guillén, and Luis Palés Matos,
is provided. Ortiz is seen in performance in Puerto Rico and at a cultural
festival in Lawrence, Massachusetts.
Willie the Lion. 2004 (2001). Directed by Marc Fields (USA). Distributed
by Shanachie Entertainment. DVD, 57 mins. Biography of Harlem legend William
Henry Joseph Bonaparte Bertholoff Smith, otherwise known as "The Lion.”
Narrated by Joe Morton and featuring performances by Willie the Lion Smith,
Eubie Blake, and Dick Hyman.
The Work of Director Anton Corbijn. 2005. Produced by Richard
Brown and Juliette Larthe (USA). Distributed by Palm Pictures. DVD. Vol.
6 in The Directors Label series. Includes music videos for Metallica, Depeche
Mode, Nirvana, Herbert Grönemeyer, and others, along with shorts, interviews,
The Work of Director Jonathan Glazer. 2005. Produced by Juliette
Larthe and Richard Brown (USA). Distributed by Palm Pictures. DVD. Vol.
5 in The Directors Label series. Includes music videos for Radiohead, Jamiroquai,
Massive Attack, and others, along with commericals, film excerpts, interviews,
The Work of Director Mark Romanek. 2005. Produced by Richard Brown
and Lance Bangs (USA). Distributed by Palm Pictures. DVD. Vol. 4 in The
Directors Label series. Includes music videos for Jay-Z, Johnny Cash, Madonna,
Beck, kd lang, and others, along with short documentaries, interviews, and
The Work of Director Stéphane Sednaoui. 2005. Produced
by Richard Brown and Stephanie Bruni (USA). Distributed by Palm Pictures.
DVD. Vol. 7 in The Directors Label series. Includes music videos for Mirwais,
Tricky, Alanis Morissette, U2, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and others, along
with short films, interviews, and commentaries.
Asia and Oceania
Chen and China’s Symphony. 1988. Directed by David M. Kendall
(USA). Distributed by the Cinema Guild. VHS, 58 mins. Documentary of part
of the Central Philharmonic’s 1987 tour of the USA. Includes interviews
with conductor Zuohuang Chen, along with excerpts of performances and highlights
of the orchestra’s travels, such as a visit to a farm in Iowa.
Chinese Instruments and Music. 1992 (1983). Directed by Deben
Bhattacharya (UK). Distributed by Insight Media. VHS, 30 mins. Includes
footage of performances on string and reed instruments and tours of musical
Chugoku teki gakki/Chinese Musical Instruments. 1989. Produced
by Chengziong Chen (Taiwan). Distributed by Insight Media. DVD, 252 mins.
Extensive survey of Chinese instruments and their use. In Chinese with English
Khyal: Classical Singing of North India. 1999. Produced by Robert
Philip (UK). Distributed by Insight Media. DVD, 48 mins. Singer Veena Sahasrabuddhe
discusses and demonstrates khyal and gives a performance of rageshri (with
Bharat Kamath, tabla), recorded in Pune in April, 1996. Devised by Martin
Clayton, with accompanying texts by Martin Clayton and Veen Sahasrabuddhe.
Wayang Golék: Performing Arts of Sunda (West Java). 1999.
Produced by Robert Philip (UK). Distributed by Insight Media. DVD, 42 mins.
Introduction to the rod-puppet theater of Sunda, focusing on puppeteer,
musician, and puppet-maker Atik Rasta and his family, with a demonstration
of the Sundanese gamelan piece, Béndrong. Shot in and around Bandung,
West Java, in September, 1996. Devised by Martin Clayton, with accompanying
texts by Martin Clayton and Simon Cook.
Chia e tazi pesen?/Whose Is This Song? 2005 (2003). Directed by
Adela Peeva (Belgium/Bulgaria). Distributed by Documentary Educational Resources.
DVD, 70 mins. Chronicle of Peeva’s journey around the Balkan region
in search of a melody claimed by the citizens of different countries as
their own. Although somewhat naïve in her approach, Peeva captures
intriguingly diverse versions of the song and perspectives on its circulation.
In Bulgarian, Turkish, Greek, Macedonian, Albanian, Bosnian, Serbian, and
English, with English subtitles.
The Cinema Guild
130 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10016-7038
Documentary Educational Resources
101 Morse Street
Watertown, MA 02472
Eagle Rock Entertainment
22 West 38th Street, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10018
9333 Oso Avenue
Chatsworth, CA 91311
New York, NY 10024-0621
195 Highway 36
West Long Branch, NJ 07764
566 St. Charles Drive
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360
601 West 26th Street, 11th Floor
New York, NY 10001
Paramount Home Video
5555 Melrose Avenue
Hollywood, CA 90038
Rhino Home Video
37 East Clinton Street
Newton, NJ 07860
11333 E. 60th Place
Tulsa, OK 74146-6828