J.B. Spins

Jazz, film, and improvised culture.

Monday, September 17, 2007

IFP: Natural Soul Brother

The IFP Market and filmmakers’ conference kicked off yesterday, and today marked the beginning of screenings for a slate of documentaries from hopeful filmmakers. Most are in various stages of production or post-production. Even those screening in their entirety are presumably subject to revision once picked up for distribution. Most films are represented in ten to twenty minute rough cut extracts. Therefore, full reviews would not be appropriate, but for some, it is enough to suggest the filmmakers are at least on the right track.

Natural Soul Brother was one of the first to screen, and indeed looked to be on the right track. Natural tells the stories of the early African-American disk jockeys who championed R&B, and in the process revolutionized American popular music. Many became huge local celebrities, and many became larger than life personalities, like former minister turned D.J. Al Benson, who figures prominently in the fifteen minute clip. A strong, intriguingly edited presentation, it mixed footage of the original hip D.J.’s with Martin Luther King’s address to the National Radio Announcers’ convention, to underscore the influence the D.J.’s influence.

This is definitely the sort of cultural history that lends itself well to film, and the execution here looks promising, and hopefully one can see it in theaters eventually. (Still in production, but trailer available on website). More IFP reports will be posted tonight.

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