The first in a 3-part series in which documentarist and screenwriter Wenty Bowen, explains why SING YOUR SONG is a must-see for Caribbean and especially for Barbadian, audiences.
Tickets are on sale at CaribbeanTales-events.com for $20 Bdos until March 31st ($35 at the door)
The highly regarded bio-documentary film, “Sing Your Song,” about singer, actor and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte, will have its Caribbean Premier on Tuesday April 11 when the Caribbeantales 2012 Film Festival opens at Frank Collymore Hall at 6 p.m.
“Sing Your Song,” opened the recent Sundance Film Festival in Utah, and according to hollywoodreporter.com, “got launched with the emotional charge of a political rally combined with the enthusiasm of a revival meeting.” Subsequently HBO picked up the U.S. TV rights.
“Sing Your Song,” which runs for 1 hour and 44 minutes, was directed by Susanne Rostock. This is her debut directing effort, but she has written two films, previously was Assistant Director of another film, and has edited thirteen other documentaries. She will be present at the CaribbeanTales premiere, and will also lead a Directing Masterclass during the Festival, on Sunday 15th April at 10am, at the Island Inn
Rostock explains that a few years ago, when Producer Michael Cohl went into partnership with Mr. Belafonte to create this film, “I was brought in as a result of my past work with Michael Cohl. Needless to say I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to help tell this remarkable story. I felt the role Harry Belafonte played in the many struggles for human rights throughout 20th/21st century history could have a profound, inspiring effect on the viewer – especially the young.”
Her resulting film has been distilled from more than 700 hours of interviews, eyewitness accounts, movie clips, excerpts from FBI files, and news, stills, and rare archival film footage, some of which has never been seen before. In addition to Belafonte, those interviewed in “Sing Your Song” constitute a Who’ Who of political and entertainment celebrities, including: Tony Bennett, Diahann Carroll, Ruby Dee, Whoopi Goldberg, Quincy Jones, Coretta Scott King, Rep. John Lewis, Miriam Makeba, Nelson Mandela, Sidney Poitier, Tom Smothers, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Andrew Young, as well as his children Adrienne Belafonte Biesemeyer, David Belafonte, Shari Belafonte, Gina Belafonte (one of the film’s producers), and former wife Julie Belafonte.
With all this source material to work with, Susanne Rostock says she “envisioned Mr. Belafonte as being the teller of his own tale. Through his ponderings, insights and anecdotes supported by a cast of amazing characters, Mr. Belafonte’s life is revealed as if we were privy to his own personal journals. “In addition to filmed interviews that had been conducted over time, I made audio recordings of the very personal conversations Harry and I would have sitting in my cutting room [as she edited the film], These informal talks became the thread for the storytelling.”
The end result? A thorough, inspiring, and moving biographical documentary that surveys Belafonte’s life, times and success as singer, actor, activist and humanitarian. A documentary that West Indians in general and Barbadians and Jamaicans in particular will enjoy contemplating.
Two special reasons: His ancestry and his music.
In Parts 2 and 3 of the series, Wenty Bowen explains how Belafonte’s early life, and formative experences laid the ground for his extraordinary musical and political impact on the world stage.