Sing Your Song is the result of a confluence of many events, things as diverse as the passing of Marlon Brando, a look back at the lives of many other unsung heroes in the fight for justice as well as the faithful love (and gentle nagging) of two daughters. Like Brando, there are many public figures who are not known, primarily, for their activism, their compassion and their dedication to human rights. Harry Belafonte is one of them:
“Cecilia, the daughter of another silent warrior, my friend Gregory Peck, had just completed a documentary on her father’s remarkable life. Coincidental to this, was the tugging by my daughter, Gina, to document my own journey. For many years I had resisted prodding by several who felt that I should both write and film my story. The idea as an end in itself seemed too self-serving. But I was awakened to the possibilities of making such a commitment by revealing the stories that could be told of and by all those with whom I shared an unending quest for justice.”
Sing Your Song is an up-close look at a great American, Harry Belafonte. A patriot to the last and a champion for worldwide human rights, Belafonte is one of the truly heroic cultural and political figures of the past 60 years. Told from Harry’s point of view, the film charts his life from a boy born in New York and raised in Jamaica, who returns to Harlem in his early teens where he discovers the American Negro Theater and the magic of performing. From there the film follows Belafonte’s rise from the jazz and folk clubs of Greenwich Village and Harlem to his emergence as a star. However, even as a superstar, the life of a black man in 1960s America was far from easy and Belafonte was confronted with the same Jim Crow laws and prejudices that every other black man, woman and child in America was facing. Among other things, the film presents a brief look at the Civil Rights Movement through the eyes of an insider, someone who despite his high profile, wasn’t afraid to spend time in the trenches. From Harlem to Mississippi to Africa and South Central Los Angeles, Sing Your Song takes us on a journey through Harry Belafonte’s life, work and most of all, his conscience, as it inspires us all to action!
Long esteemed as “an aural and visual poet”, Susanne Rostock’s filmmaking is a stunning 40 years of some of the most compelling documentaries of each decade. Her most recent film as director / editor, Sing Your Song, about Harry Belafonte’s life as an artist and activist, was chosen to open the U.S. Documentary Competition section of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, where it was described as a story “told with a remarkable sense of intimacy, visual style and musical panache”. This film continues to be in world wide theatrical distribution and television broadcast and has aired on HBO. Sing Your Song received top honors in festivals around the world, was shortlisted for an Oscar, and garnered the NAACP Image Award and a Gracie for Outstanding Director.
Susanne has achieved recognition for her editing on a myriad of films that continue to endure and resonate. Her films have earned Emmy’s, IDA awards, Cable Ace awards, a Gold Hugo and acknowledgement from multiple national and international festivals, had theatrical distribution and aired on either HBO or PBS. Susanne’s 20 year multi–award winning collaboration as editor with director Michael Apted has produced such richly provocative films as: The Long Way Home; Incident At Oglala; Me & Isaac Newton; Moving The Mountain.
Some of her other iconic and provocative work as an editor includes: Passin’ It On; Calling The Ghosts; The Uprising of ’34; Paternal Instinct.
Susanne is presently directly an HBO funded film, Another Night In The Free World, which has been documenting the lives of three young women activist from 2012 to the present. It is an intimate story of the harsh everyday realities of living a life devoted to social justice activism and the heartfelt, rich rewards that keep these women fighting. One of the three, Carmen Perez became one of the primary organizers of the Women’s March On Washington.
Susanne studied anthropology and ethnographic filmmaking with Margaret Mead at Columbia University and received an MFA in Filmmaking from New York University. She resides in New York City.
SATURDAY Jan 19, 2019
Cinema Under the Stars
7:00 PM SING YOUR SONG (Tribute to Harry Belafonte with special guest, Susanne Rostock)
Reception of sparkling wine, dessert and hors d’oeuvres and live music.
Walled Garden Theatre