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Current Films and Videos, Volume 50, No. 2 (Spring/Summer 2006)
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Compiled by David Henderson (St. Lawrence University)

Along with recent releases, this issue includes several older films distributed by Berkeley Media LLC that did not appear in earlier issues.

Acknowledgements: St. Lawrence University Libraries for financial and technical support.

General | Africa | Americas | Asia and Oceania | Europe | Distributor Information


Intellectual Property: Copyright and All That Jazz. 2005. Directed by Bill Wisneski (USA). Distributed by Insight Media. VHS and DVD, 30 mins. Traces the history of copyright law in respect to music, and discusses the legal ramifications of downloading music from the internet.

The Jumping Flea: Tales of the Modern Ukulele. 2005. Directed by Paul Kraus (USA). Distributed by North Pacific Productions. DVD, 56 mins. Study of the ukulele, from its introduction to Hawai’i in the 1800s through the spread of its popularity on the U.S. mainland following the Panama Pacific International Exposition in 1915 to the present. Focuses especially on contemporary instrument builders and performers, and showcasing the beautiful inlay work of Larry Robinson and the equally exquisite playing of Bill Tapia.

Pop Lyrics. 2000. Directed by Gail Evans (UK). Distributed by Insight Media. DVD, 29 mins. Considers the relations between lyrics and youth culture from the 1950s to the present, with discussions of songs by Buddy Holly, the Beatles, Bob Marley, the Sex Pistols, Madonna, Nirvana, Public Enemy, and Eminem.

What Is Music? 1989. Directed by Brian Johnson (UK). Distributed by Insight Media. DVD, 60 mins. Exploration of the acoustic and cultural underpinnings of music.


African Art in Motion: The Masks of the Nuna People of Burkina Faso. 2005. Directed by Christopher D. Roy and Abdoulaye Bamogo (USA/Burkina Faso). Distributed by CustomFlix. DVD, 90 mins. Includes three videos of masks in performance in 2002-05 in Burkina Faso, two from the villages of Tissé and Savara, and one from the annual mask festival at Pouni. With short narrated segments on Nuna religion, history, and performance.

The Chopi Timbila Dance. 1980. Directed by Andrew Tracey (USA/Mozambique). Distributed by Insight Media. VHS, 40 mins. Explanation of the basic elements of the xylophone orchestras of the Chopi of Mozambique.

Drums of Africa: Talking Drums of Techiman. 2004. Directed by Christopher D. Roy (USA/Ghana). Distributed by CustomFlix. DVD, 46 mins. Footage shot by Christopher Roy, professor of art history at the University of Iowa, at a Bono funeral at the royal palace of Techiman in February, 2004. The Akan scholar Kofi Sakyi provides a brief introduction to each piece.


American Aloha: Hula beyond Hawai'i. 2003. Directed by Lisette Marie Flanary and Evann Siebens (USA). Distributed by CustomFlix. DVD, 55 mins. Documentary about the revival and persistence of Hawaiian cultural practices among Hawaiian populations in California. Focuses on the work of three hula teachers in California: Sissy Kaio in Carson, Mark Keali'i Ho'omalu in Oakland, and Patrick Makuakane in San Francisco.

Fifty Miles from Times Square. 1972. Directed by John Cohen (USA). Distributed by Berkeley Media LLC. VHS and DVD, 43 mins. Classic portrait of life in Putnam County, New York, with its "old-time fiddlers, farmers, commuters, and hippies."

Latin Nights. 2005 (1997). Directed by Anthony Azzopardi (Canada). Distributed by V.I.E.W. Inc. DVD, 78 mins. Exploration of Latin American music and musicians in Canada, hosted by Lise Waxer. With interviews and performances by Ramiro's Latin Orchestra, Banda Brava, Nazka, Cocada, Onda Latina, Dario Domingues, Memo Acevedo's Latin Jazz Quintet, Fantasia, Romulo Larrea's Tango Ensemble, and the Hugo Torres Group, and with an appearance by Tito Puente.

Legendary New Orleans Musicians. 1989. Directed by Preston McClanahan (USA). Distributed by Efor Films. DVD, 88 mins. Documentary built around bassist Chester Zardis, originally released by Rhapsody Films. Narrated by Danny Barker, Milt Hinton, and Bill Russell, and including an extensive interview with Alan Lomax, along with performances by guitarist Irving Charles, trombonist Louis Nelson, trumpeters Kid Sheik Colar and Wendell Brunious, saxophonist Rasheed Akbar, clarinetist Michael White, and others.

Mas Fever: Inside Trinidad Carnival. 1996. Directed by Glenn Micallef (USA/Trinidad and Tobago). Distributed by Berkeley Media LLC. VHS and DVD, 55 mins. Study of the synthesis of European and African elements in Carnival, with sequences on the history and culture of steel drum and calypso music.

Mi Puerto Rico. 2005 (1995). Directed by Raquel Ortiz and Sharon Simon (USA). Distributed by Berkeley Media LLC. VHS and DVD, 89 mins. Exploration of the culture and history of Puerto Rico, focusing on the links between Puerto Rico and New York. Written and narrated by Raquel Ortiz, and accompanied by a wealth of traditional Puerto Rican music.

Monkey Dance. 2005. Directed by Julie Mallozzi (USA). Distributed by Berkeley Media LLC. VHS and DVD, 65 mins. Documentary following three Cambodian-American teenagers, all of whom belong to the Angkor Dance Troupe, as they struggle with the past and present in Lowell, Massachusetts.

Asia and Oceania

Beijing. 1981. Directed by Peter Wang (USA/China). Distributed by Berkeley Media LLC. VHS and DVD, 58 mins. Portrait of Beijing, including a backstage tour of the Peking Opera, a family reunion of four generations, and an interview with the brother of China's last emperor. With music by Liang Mingyue.

Green Bush. 2005. Directed by Warwick Thornton (Australia). Distributed by the Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association. DVD, 26 mins. Delightful short film shot in Alice Springs and starring David Page as a DJ at an Aboriginal community radio station. Winner, Best Short Film, Panorama Section, at the Berlin Film Festival in 2005.

Keep on Dancing. 2005. Directed by Solo Avital (Israel). Distributed by CustomFlix. DVD, 24 mins. Documentary of the aftermath of the June 2001 attack on a nightclub in Tel Aviv, taking its title from the words atop a memorial erected by the parents of the victims, "Lo nafsik lircod" (We won't stop dancing). Compilation of interviews with musicians, promoters, and fans in the four days leading up to a party on Independence Day the following year.

Salsa in Japan: A Japanese and Latino Mix. 2003. Produced by Elizabeth Chamberlin (USA/Japan). Distributed by Berkeley Media LLC. VHS and DVD, 25 mins. Examination of two types of salsa clubs in Japan, one that draws more Japanese people and another that draws more Latinos. Includes a brief history of salsa and an exploration of the connections between Japan and Latin America. In English, Spanish, and Japanese with English subtitles.

Suzhou. 1981. Directed by Sue Yung Li (USA/China). Distributed by Berkeley Media LLC. VHS and DVD, 28 mins. Portrait of this Yangzi delta city, exploring the practices of silk cultivation, cooking, singing, storytelling, and gardening. Described by Judy Stone in the San Francisco Chronicle as "not only an exquisitely beautiful film about the 'Venice' of China, but a subtle commentary on the continuity in the Chinese way of life."


(No entries for Europe in this issue)

Distributor Information

Berkeley Media LLC
2600 Tenth Street, Suite 626
Berkeley, CA 94710
fax: 510.486.9944

Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association
101 Todd Street
Alice SpringsNT 0870
fax: 61.8.8951.9717

140 Du Bois Street, Suite A
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Efor Films
P.O. Box BP 174

Insight Media
2162 Broadway
New York, NY 10024
fax: 212.799.5309

North Pacific Productions
1250 North Main Street
Fort Bragg, CA 95437

V.I.E.W. Inc.
34 East 23rd Street
New York, NY 10010

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