TWO BEATS ONE SOUL - Feature Documentary Coming Soon!

TWO BEATS ONE SOUL - Feature Documentary Coming Soon! 

When visionary music producers, Vivian Scott Chew (RVMK Records) and Ray Chew (Musical Director of Dancing with the Stars), asked me to take over as director of 2B1S (the original director was busy on a another film), I jumped at the chance to make a film in Cuba. The filming that had been done so far was behind the scenes at the world renown Abdalla Recording Studio outside Havana. Over the course of two weeks, Cuban and American artists collaborated on 13 tracks. Each artist had two days to write and record each track. They had to go in and nail it. This would not have happened without Ray's talent and clarity, and Vivian and her team working tirelessly behind the scenes making each transition work smoothly, and putting out fires along the way.

This incredible footage laid the foundation for the film but I had to develop the story around it. My goal was to explore the lives of the Cuban musicians who despite their lack of material things, possessed a richness of spirit that carried through their music. I also wanted to capture the logistical challenges of pulling off Vivian and Ray's next to impossible vision.

Two trips to Cuba later and months of editing, I am proud to have created something that will get us all moving in our chairs, and speaks to our ability to push past the bounds of constraints. 

A note about the music in the film. I listened to the music over and over and over again during the editing phase, and I never got tired of it.  I can honestly say the music is off the hook amazing. I would characterize this film as the next generation Buena Vista Social Club. The Cuban and American artists fused Afro Cuban with R&B. Salsa with Rap. Jazz with Rhumba. The young Cubans mixed their new sounds with the old, backed by an all Cuban orchestra. It's a genre bending experience.

Check out the soundtrack on iTunes. It's hard to pick a favorite but two that stand out for me are "I Can't Live" by Jean Rodrigues and Sergio George. And "Zun Zun" by Xiomara Laugart.

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Two Beats One Soul Concert at the Havana Jazz Festival

After a power outage that pushed the concert back two hours, somehow we still filled the house at Teatro Melia in Havana.  My all Cuban crew did an amazing job covering the concert with 12 cameras. All equipment (including A7Rs, dollys, and cranes) was in house in case you were wondering! Planning a shoot ahead of time in Cuba is impossible. I couldn't get my DP on the phone let alone email. The next morning, with minutes to spare for the airport, my producer delivers the drive with all of the media backed up. I checked from the taxi and sure enough it was the wrong drive. Fortunately, our plane was cancelled and we had to spend an extra night so I was able to get most of the footage before i left for the U.S. The missing footage took over a month to get! The biggest challenge was to trust it would all work out. And the footage came out beautiful. "Expectations" may not be in the Cuban vocabulary, but "friendship", "kindness", and "generosity" are.

 

 My all pro, all Cuban crew at the Havana Jazz Festival. It was an 11 camera shoot that included dollys and cranes, covering 20 artists and about a 35 piece orchestra.

My all pro, all Cuban crew at the Havana Jazz Festival. It was an 11 camera shoot that included dollys and cranes, covering 20 artists and about a 35 piece orchestra.

 The beautiful The  Teatro  Nacional de  Cuba

The beautiful The Teatro Nacional de Cuba

 My tireless producer Renè who took care of everything including keeping me from falling over after the shoot.

My tireless producer Renè who took care of everything including keeping me from falling over after the shoot.

 Aside from finding the most talented musicians to collaborate on the 2B1S album, Vivian and Ray know how to find the best restaurants in Cuba.

Aside from finding the most talented musicians to collaborate on the 2B1S album, Vivian and Ray know how to find the best restaurants in Cuba.

 Cuban brothers Gabriel and Ruben Rodriguez were supposed to attend the 2B1S CD release party in NYC but after the Sonic Attacks in Havana, the U.S. Embassy shut down and they couldn't get a visa to travel. So Vivian brought the concert to them. I got to spend an afternoon filming them around Havana the day before the concert. You can hear some of their music on the 2B1S album on  iTunes .

Cuban brothers Gabriel and Ruben Rodriguez were supposed to attend the 2B1S CD release party in NYC but after the Sonic Attacks in Havana, the U.S. Embassy shut down and they couldn't get a visa to travel. So Vivian brought the concert to them. I got to spend an afternoon filming them around Havana the day before the concert. You can hear some of their music on the 2B1S album on iTunes.

 I saw this torn down building from across the street and asked Renè if we could do our interview with the Rodriguez Brothers there. We were setting up in there 15 minutes later. One of the downsides of shooting in Cuba is not being able to plan ahead much. The upside is you can figure it out as you go with a little cash.

I saw this torn down building from across the street and asked Renè if we could do our interview with the Rodriguez Brothers there. We were setting up in there 15 minutes later. One of the downsides of shooting in Cuba is not being able to plan ahead much. The upside is you can figure it out as you go with a little cash.

 No one made me laugh harder than my dear friend and talented DP Raul Prado AKA Pepe Le Pew. The moment we wrapped was quite exhilarating! 

No one made me laugh harder than my dear friend and talented DP Raul Prado AKA Pepe Le Pew. The moment we wrapped was quite exhilarating! 

JUST WRAPPED INITIAL PRODUCTION ON "THE BERKLEE SEVEN" DOCUMENTARY

12 DAYS  -  1 PROFESSOR  -  7 STUDENTS  -  REALLY SMALL CREW

A documentary in-progress that follows Professor Sheldon Mirowitz and his top 7 students of Berklee College of Music's hardest class - Silent Film Scoring.  In an unprecedented paid professional opportunity, they will spend the year writing an original score for Universal Picture's newly restored 1928 silent film, "The Man Who Laughs" -  a grueling experience that will spit them out or leave them swelling in success.

 (MORE SOON!)

THE BERKLEE 7

 

 

 

THE BERKLEE SEVEN

My Upcoming Documentary "Berklee silent film Orchestra" (working title)

Less than one month ago, I presented an idea for a feature documentary to the decision makers at Berklee College of Music, and they loved it. They not only Greenlit the project in record speed, but they are providing me with seed funds of $25K so that I can be camera ready September 1st, on the condition that they get reimbursed when the film is fully funded. They do not want to influence me creatively.

In a very unique opportunity, Universal Pictures has commissioned the Berklee's Silent Film Orchestra program - BSFO - to create an original score for their silent film restoration initiative.  

The documentary will follow, over two semesters, the emotional and human journey of a larger than life 3x Emmy nominated professor and his top 7 undergraduate students from 4 countries (U.S., Japan, Spain, Australia) as they create an original score for the newly restored 1928 Victor Hugo film “The Man Who Laughs” (the inspiration for Phantom of the Opera and The Joker). This will be the student’s first professional experience before they get out the gate. In a crushing deadline, the score will be performed live-to-picture with a 12-piece orchestra at the end of the year at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, Nantucket FF, MVFF, and will most likely premiere at the ACADEMY (they are one of the program funders). The newly restored film mastered with the BSFO's original score will be released on TCM and distributed worldwide. 

This is a human driven film, but will be appealing to anyone who wants to experience the making-of a Hollywood score.

I am currently seeking financial partners & distributers.

First day of filming will be September 1st!

The images are from last year's BSFO program and performance at the Boston Pops with maestro Keith Lockhart.