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Documentary Production and Distribution News
Brasslands is a new music/culture documentary about Balkan brass music. Brasslands follows an eccentric New York brass band, a virtuosic group of struggling Roma Gypsies, and reigning Serbian champions as they converge with half a million fans and transcend political and ethnic borders at the world's largest trumpet festival in Guča, Serbia.
If you're in the NYC area, this Saturday 7/13 is the NYC premiere screening and concert event presented by River to River Festival, Rooftop Films, and Arts Brookfield. Preceding the screening, there will be four Balkan brass bands playing simultaneously recreating the energy and excitement of the music as you would experience it in the Balkans.
This is taking place on the waterfront in Downtown Manhattan this Saturday, July 13th at 6:30PM. I'd like to invite you to the NYC premiere and offer VIP seating.
To listen to the soundtrack: Full stream (private link): https://soundcloud.com/evergreene/sets/brasslands-soundtrack/s-jm7Qp
To embed three songs (public): https://soundcloud.com/evergreene/sets/brasslands
Once a year, a tiny Serbian village explodes with brass cacophony and riotous celebration as almost a million music fans descend upon Guča, the world's largest trumpet competition. Amidst a cast of defending Serbian champions and struggling Roma Gypsies, an unlikely brass band from New York City voyages to represent the United States only a decade after NATO bombs rocked Belgrade. They will be the first Americans ever to compete at Guča. Brasslands offers an intimate and visceral portrait of how the hopes and fears of this diverse group of characters collide in their search for common ground and musical ecstasy.
The citizens of Guča prepare for the oncoming hordes with a mix of national pride and nervous energy. The older generation has lived through world war, socialist rule, national fragmentation, and ethnic cleansing - all of which has given way to a festival at the center of an evolving national identity. Middle-aged business owners hope to capitalize on a growing festival and huge influx of cash. The youngest watch the best trumpeters in the world play their country's traditional music; some yearn to play on that stage, while others throw on their headphones to pump Metallica and Lady Gaga. In this war-scarred landscape, disparate societies find common ground in a joyous, deeply transcendent music that leaves no ear unaffected.
Every competitor seeks to win, but the film's characters are all making their trumpet pilgrimages for very different reasons: 25-year-old "master trumpeter" Dejan Petrovic-the reigning Guča champion-returns to defend his championship title, while Demiran Ćerimović-a world-class Roma Gypsy trumpeter-struggles against deeply ingrained racism for the opportunity to make money for his family. Through it all, a fish-out-of-water American band plays to validate their very existence in front of a population still scarred by U.S. bombs.
Shot in a vérité style, Brasslands provides more historical, political, and personal context than any other film has broached on this subject. With four camera crews filming simultaneously at Guča, the film documents not only the festival, but also captures cultural rituals that have never before have been professionally filmed. A scene at a traditional Roma housewarming ceremony in a racially segregated Serbian town a sheep is fed alcohol before dawn and paraded through the dirt roads until it comes to the new house being ceremonially blessed. As the music grows in fervor and ecstasy the lamb is slaughtered and buried under the floorboards of the new home.
Such scenes and rituals are part and parcel of the Balkan world-unfortunately, so, too, is the institutionalized racism that Roma are met with. Today, Roma face ever-increasing aggression from politicians and civilians in Europe, and are deported en masse. Brasslands takes a personal look at how institutional racism affects Roma even when they are in the most favorable of circumstances, representing the most spiritual and pure form of brass music. However the approach is not heavy-handed, favoring instead a more observed look at how racism affects an individual.
As the festival commences, Brasslands bears witness to the deeper resonance of the music, as the town of Guča begins to swell with frenetic energy. From the deafening batteries of drums and staccato snares, to the euphoric brass chorales and electrifying trumpet solos, everyone here has gathered to celebrate the music, to dance, and to enjoy life. Despite the fact that tensions continue to simmer below the alcohol-fueled surface, Brasslands attests to the fact that even amidst fractured ethnic and political divides, there remains a universal human desire for identity, joy, and belonging-and that, if only for a few days, it will make itself heard.
Brasslands isn't just the soundtrack to an extraordinary film, but the soundtrack to a blistering global movement of Balkan brass fans across the world.
Already a huge success at the International Film Festival in Belgrade and a "Best of Fest" winner at Minneapolis Film Festival, Brasslands premieres in the United States at the L.A. Film Festival and will see its East Coast debut as part of New York's River to River Festival and Rooftop Films Summer Series on Saturday, July 13th.
Evergreene Music is proud to be releasing the soundtrack to Brasslands-and it couldn't come at a better time. Fresh off the heels of its historic Balkan Arts Series release, Brasslands is the ideal project for a modern New York label with a passion for global music.
Every year a tiny Serbian village explodes with riotous celebration and brass cacophony, as more than half a million music fans descend upon Guča, for the world's largest trumpet competition. Brasslands documents Guča's 50th anniversary festival, where amidst a cast of defending Serbian champions and struggling Roma Gypsies, an unlikely brass band from New York City, Zlatne Uste, voyages to represent the United States only a decade after NATO bombs rocked Belgrade. They will be the first Americans ever to compete at Guča.
As the festival commences, Brasslands bears witness to the deeper resonance of the music, as the town of Guča begins to swell with frenetic energy. While ethnic and political divisions continue to simmer below the surface of this war-torn country, everyone here has gathered to celebrate their music, to dance, and to enjoy life. With deafening drum batteries, lightning trumpet solos, and euphoric brass chorales, Brasslands attests to the fact that even amidst great turbulence and unrest, there remains a universal human desire for identity, joy, and belonging-and that, if only for a few days, it will make itself heard.
In addition to some of New York's finest brass bands, such as Zlatne Uste, Veveritse, Raya Brass Band, and Slavic Soul Party!, the Brasslands soundtrack features rare contributions by Serbia's most sought-after trumpet virtuosos: Roma legend Dejan Avdić, 3-time Guča champion Demiran Ćerimović, and 2010 champion and "trumpet master" Dejan Petrović.
"It might be counter-intuitive," says Evergreene Manager, Mark Roberts, "but the relentless energy and assertive spirit of this music is the perfect soundtrack to modern life in the city. It's fast, it's empowering, and it matches New York's energy every step of the way." The Brasslands soundtrack releases on July 13th, 2013 via Evergreene Music. The soundtrack will be available as a digital album with iTunes booklet and as a Digipak CD with an immersive 16-page booklet.
For more info on Brasslands and the film makers → www.brasslands.com
For more info on the soundtrack and Evergreene Music → www.evergreenemusic.com
For more info on the East Coast premiere in NYC with Rooftop Films and the River to River Festival → www.rooftopfilms.com/2013/works/brasslands/