SING YOUR SONG
WHEN: May 8, 7:30 PM
WHERE: Charles Theatre I
TICKETS: $25 Click here to order tickets!
"Get them to sing your song, and they will want to know who you are." —Paul Robeson
Actor/activist/singer. Big words, each one more than enough for a full career. Harry Belafonte is all three, but somehow even all three words don’t do justice.
Belafonte blazed trails in the entertainment world. In his first role on Broadway, he won a Tony; his film Carmen Jones, won a Golden Globe, numerous film-festival awards, Oscar nominations, and is in the National Film Registry; he was the first African-American to produce a primetime television show, 1959’s “Tonight with Belafonte,” which won an Emmy. He was a friend of Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, raising crucial money for the Civil Rights Movement, and standing with Dr. King at Selma and other key moments in the struggle. His Calypso (1956) was the first LP to sell a million copies. Belafonte received the Kennedy Center Honors in 1987, and President Clinton gave him the National Medal of Arts in 1994. He’s won numerous other awards and honorary degrees.
Capturing this remarkable lifetime in any single form probably isn’t possible, but this film gets close. As a documentary it’s something I’ve never seen before: a kind of collaborative autobiography that captures not only aspects of this amazing life, but the spirit behind it. Through everything Belafonte has accomplished, there is that kind of nonviolence that Gandhi taught: active and forceful. In every encounter, with friend or foe, Belafonte’s love for his fellow man and his belief in their shared humanity is palpable. As you celebrate this man, ask yourself the question Belafonte keeps asking: “What do we do now?” (Jed Dietz)
Harry Belafonte and filmmaker collaborators Susanne Rostock and Gina Belafonte will attend the screening.
The film was chosen for an Opening Night premiere at Sundance this year, and has been bought by HBO for fall airing before theatrical release. As part of MFF 2011 Closing Night, Harry Belafonte will be interviewed by Pulitzer Prize winning historian Taylor Branch. Belafonte was an important source for Branch's monumental three book series on the Civil Rights Movement, and they have been longtime friends.
"As we can already tell from the online sales, people are excited about the amazing array of films and filmmakers who are coming in for next weeks film festival," MFF Director Jed Dietz said, "but SING YOUR SONG, a kind of filmed autobiography of one of America's great icons, is the perfect film to cap this celebration of movies. Welcoming Harry Belafonte to the Maryland Film Festival, and getting to listen to him in conversation with Taylor Branch is a very special honor for us."
Michael Sragow has a great piece in his blog, Sragow Gets Reel, which includes a brief digital interview with Belafonte at Sundance this year.
The 13th Annual Maryland Film Festival will take place next week, May 5-8! Visit our website to read our film guide, and get more information!