Song For Our People is an inspiring new documentary about a group of a professional musicians and artists who come together one day in a Brooklyn recording studio to create a powerful new anthem to honor the perseverance of their African-American ancestors, and to energize the on-going fight for a more just American society.
Emmy Award-winning director Mustapha Khan conceived of the film, and wrote the eponymous song being recorded in the session, after being inspired by something he once heard a preacher say. Khan recounts: “Speaking to a mostly Black audience, the preacher said: ‘You know, when we die and go to heaven, it’s not going to be St. Peter who meets us at the pearly gates. Rather, it will be a group of our ancestors — our ancestors who lived their lives enslaved. And they will have one question for each of us, and one question only, and that is: what have you done with your freedom?”
This is the question at the center of the film, and on the minds of the gifted artists who inhabit it. Featuring a who’s who of New York studio musicians, singers, a rapper and an unforgettable tap dancer, Song For Our People is a thought-provoking meditation on what it means to be Black in America today, and a joyous testament to the power of collaborative action to create both art and social change.
2019, 55 minutes
Mustapha Khan is an Emmy Award-winning director of narrative and documentary films, which aim to inspire social justice and societal enlightenment.
His feature film Rocksteady, a coming of age movie about an aspiring stock car racer, won the Best Picture Award at both the 2011 Litchfield Hills Film Festival and the 2011 Jamaica Reggae Film Festival, where Khan also won the Best Director Award. His documentary feature House On Fire, about the AIDS Epidemic in Black America, won the Best Documentary Award at the 2000 Houston International Film Festival, and was honored by the United States House of Representatives, where the film had a special screening for Congress. His critically-acclaimed film Reflections Of A Native Son, about a troubled teenager growing up in the South Bronx, is on permanent display at the Museum of Television and Radio Paley Center. His one-hour television special Sesame Street’s 25th Anniversary: A Musical Celebration was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award and is one of the best selling home videos in Sesame Street’s history.
Mustapha Khan is a graduate of Harvard University where he was a Marshal of his graduating class. He was also the recipient of a Rotary Graduate Fellowship, with which he worked as an anthropologist in Kenya prior to becoming a filmmaker. Khan is a member of the Directors Guild of America and a film professor at Brooklyn College.
Trevor Allen, Don Braden, Norman Burns, Elsa Cornish, Omar Edwards, Charlie Ernst, Clark Gayton, Gary Fritz, Gemini Hodge, Mustapha Khan, Karen Lloyd, Jeremy Pelt, Ralph Rolle, Oliver Straus, Tashan, Kenny Vaughan and Jessie Wagner.
September 4, 2019 British Urban Film Festival
Ealing Studios, London, UK
September 5, 2019 DOCUTAH International
Documentary Film Festival
St. George, Utah
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