About the Filmmakers (Season 4)
Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone
by Lev Anderson and Chris Metzler
This lively and loving documentary, narrated by Laurence Fishburne, charts the turbulent history of the pioneering all-black rock band Fishbone. Formed in 1979 in South Central (Los Angeles), Fishbone landed a major label record deal soon after its members graduated high school. However, after this early success, the band has struggled for acceptance in a racially stratified music industry, while their unabashedly hybrid style has kept them proudly out of fashion for more than three decades. Through frank interviews with the band, including eccentric cofounders Angelo Moore and Norwood Fisher—as well as Flea, Gwen Stefani, Ice-T, Perry Farrell, Branford Marsalis, George Clinton, Tim Robbins, Gogol Bordello, ?uestlove, and others—the film reveals the creative alchemy, the clash of egos, and the enduring friendships behind Fishbone’s storied career.
After graduating from Beloit College, and taking just five years to design the cities of the future, Lev Anderson left the bureaucracy of Urban Planning and jumped feet first into filmmaking. As a fine art photographer with works exhibited in San Francisco, Japan, and Mexico City, he has honed his unique perspective to create dynamic images with a sharp eye for finding contradiction and beauty where least expected. His first attempt at capturing the magic of music on video was at 12 years old, when, after attending a Suicidal Tendencies concert with his father, the two produced a fully dramatized lip-sync rendition of their song “Institutionalized.”
A graduate of USC with a degree in business and cinema, Chris Metzler made his way in the Nashville country and Christian music video industries, before finally forsaking his soul to commercial LA rock ’n’ roll and winning a Billboard Magazine Music Video Award. He eventually fled to San Francisco to join the independent documentary film scene and start work on his feature length directorial debut, the offbeat environmental documentary Plagues & Pleasures on the Salton Sea, narrated by legendary counterculture filmmaker and “King of Trash” John Waters. Premiering at the Slamdance Film Festival, the film went on to win over 35 awards for Best Documentary and was broadcast nationally on the Sundance Channel; it was named by Booklist as one its Top 10 Environmental Films.
Burning in the Sun
by Cambria Matlow and Morgan Robinson
At a crossroad in life, 26-year-old Daniel Dembélé returns to his homeland of Mali and starts a local business building solar panels. Daniel’s unprecedented goal: to electrify rural communities, 99% of which live without power. Burning in the Sun tells his story of growing the budding idea into a viable company and of Daniel’s impact on his first customers in the tiny village of Banko. Taking controversial stances on climate change, poverty, and African self-sufficiency, the film explores what it means to grow up as a man, and what it takes to prosper as a nation.
Cambria Matlow (Co-Director/Co-Producer) is a founding filmmaker of Birdgirl Productions. Burning in the Sun marks her debut as a documentary feature director. Thus far the film has garnered national support from LEF Foundation and the Brooklyn Arts Council. Before her work with Birdgirl, Cambria directed and lensed several short narrative films, including Chapstick and Let’s Do Lunch. In The Sacred Clown, an experimental film about Che Guevara that explores political issues of cultural consequence, Cambria’s directing exemplified a unique crossover style of fiction filmmaking that had a “documentary” feel. Cambria earned a B.A. with Honors in Hispanic Studies from Columbia University and holds a Certificate in Documentary Film Production from Burlington College in Vermont.
Morgan Robinson (Co-Director/Co-Producer/Co-Cinematographer) is a producer at Punched in the Head Productions, an Emmy-winning documentary film production company based in Brooklyn, NY. For MTV Networks Morgan is currently working on “True Life: I’m Addicted to Marijuana” and previously produced “True Life: I’m Being Sent Away by my Parents.” He was an associate producer on three True Life episodes: “I’m Homeschooled,” “I’m a Fanboy” and “I Can’t Sleep.” Morgan has field-produced various ads and educational projects, as well as documentaries for filmmaker John Halpern in Mexico and Kashmir. Inspired by his work on Burning in the Sun, Morgan is fascinated by stories where global and environmental trends meet the deeply personal lives of individuals within their communities. He is passionate about telling stories of people pursuing the resources they need.
That’s My Face
by Thomas Allen Harris
Visit the Chimpanzee Productions website
A mythopoetic feast of self-discovery that crosses three continents and three generations, That’s My Face traces the filmmaker’s journey to Salvador Da Bahia, the African heart and soul of Brazil, as he seeks the identity of the spirits who haunt his dreams. Paralleling the journey his mother made twenty years earlier to Tanzania in search of a mythic motherland, the film incorporates an innovative sound design that uses rap and hip-hop strategies of multi-voice sampling.
Thomas Allen Harris is the founder and President of Chimpanzee Productions, a company dedicated to producing unique audio-visual experiences that illuminate the Human Condition and the search for identity, family, and spirituality. Chimpanzee’s innovative and award-winning documentary feature films—VINTAGE – Families of Value, E Minha Cara/That’s My Face, and Twelve Disciples of Nelson Mandela—have received critical acclaim at international film festivals, including Sundance, Berlin, Toronto, FESPACO, Outfest, Flaherty and Cape Town, and have been broadcast on PBS, the Sundance Channel, ARTE, as well as CBC, Swedish broadcasting Network and New Zealand Television. Mr. Harris’s video and installations have been featured at prestigious museums and exhibitions, including the Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Biennial, Corcoran Gallery, Reina Sophia and London Institute of the Arts. He is a recipient of numerous fellowships and awards including a United States Artist Fellowship, Guggenheim Fellowship, Rockefeller Fellowship, as well as CPB/PBS and Sundance Directors Fellowships. A graduate of Harvard College, Mr. Harris lectures widely on the use of media as a tool for social change.
Calypso Rose: Lioness of the Jungle
by Pascale Obolo
Calypso Rose is the ambassador of Caribbean music. A living legend of calypso, this charismatic artist has often been compared to great black singers such as Aretha Franklin, Cesaria Evoria or Miriam Makeba. Born in 1940 in a fishing village on the island of Tobago, Calypso Rose began singing at the age of 15. Since then she has been sharing, with her relentless energy and legendary happy spirit, her stories of daily life in the Caribbean, and singing her repertoire on stages around the world.
Moving along the thread that links her universe with the world, Calypso Rose: Lioness of the Jungle helps us to experience the dreams and disappointments of this amazing and prolific female artist.
Pascale Obolo was born in Yaounde, Cameroon in 1967. At an early age, already involved in various artistic expressions, she studied directing at the Conservatoire Libre du Cinéma Français in Paris and then obtained her master’s degree in cinema at the University of Paris VIII (experimental cinema section). A pioneer of urban culture, she filmed the early hip-hop scene and Parisian graffiti painters, self-producing several films about rap, street culture and taggers.
Fascinated by the world music phenomenon, Pascale has specialized in musical documentaries. Her first feature film was Calypso at Dirty Jim’s (2005), a tribute to the last big stars of calypso, the soul of Trinidad, and, by extension, Caribbean culture. The film was selected and awarded in many festivals around the world, among them FESPACO, Vues D’Afrique 2006 in Montreal (Special Jury Prize), International Pan-African Film Festival of Cannes, France 2006 (Dikalo prize), Africa in the Picture (Amsterdam), World Music Expo and the African Diaspora Film Festival (New York).