Tandem Jazz — Bolden Biopic is Part of Ambitious Indie Project

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When telling you about Jackie Earle Haley last month, I mentioned one of his upcoming films, the biopic of Charles (Buddy) Bolden called, aptly, Bolden. Now The New York Times published a piece that gives some background into this ambitious indie project. Basically, there are two features, all sibling-like. The first is the Bolden biopic, which will try to delve into Buddy's world, even though most of the details surrounding him are myth. (The jazz performer was a big draw from 1895 to 1907, but was never recorded and ended up being sent to an institution after a bout of acute alcoholic psychosis, which ended his career.) The second is an hour-long silent film called The Great Observer, about a young boy named Louis (recalling Louis Armstrong) who dreams of playing the horn, while getting entangled in New Orlean's red-light district.

The pair of films are the project of Dan Pritzker, who is a billionaire's son and musician, and now, director. His plan is to debut the movies in tandem, and have the silent film play with a live performance by Wynton Marsalis. I have to say that I'm really happy and amped to see more being done with silent film, especially after how phenomenal Guy Maddin's Brand Upon the Brain! was when it was teamed with live performances. But first, Pritzker's team, which includes Derick and Steven Martini as screenwriters and Vilmos Zsigmod as the director of photography, has to get past the hurdle of piecing together the bits of Buddy's life that can be siphoned from references and oral storytelling. According to the Times, the film will imagine the musician "in the last year of his life, hearing a radio broadcast in which Artmstrong, who became the public face of New Orleans jazz, paid tribute to the music's supposed birth with Bolden."
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