#Toronto, #TIFF2020; #DavidByrneAmericanUtopia; #OpeningNightGalaPresetation
Toronto, Sep 10 (Canadian-Media): Spike Lee–directed filmed version of the Broadway-acclaimed David Byrne’s American Utopia marks the Opening Night Gala Presentation of the 45th Toronto International Film Festival ® on Thursday, September 10 at Visa Skyline Drive-In at CityView, Toronto at 8 pm.
Image: American Utopia. Image credit: Twitter handle
Produced by David Byrne, Spike Lee, and executive produced by Jeff Skoll, David Linde, Diane Weyermann, Len Blavatnik and others, the film documents the former Talking Heads frontman Byrne's theatrical concert American Utopia, which had lit up Broadway last year with Byrne’s trademark mix of rhythm and deeply thoughtful and buoyant ideas.
The social and political issues raised in the show are tactfully transformed to reveal how audiences can come together during challenging times through the power of entertainment.
Working with a new band and dancers Byrne turns his music with a call to connect with one another, to protest injustice, and, above all, to celebrate life.
The mood of intellectual reflection with which the song, “Here,” from Byrne’s 2018 American Utopia album opens is soon transformed into a mysterious and artful gesture and dance-floor funk when Byrne is joined on stage by vocalist-dancer Tendayi Kuumba and dancer-vocalist Chris Giarmo.
As the plot develops Byrne is joined by nine more musicians, including percussion masters from the US, Brazil, France, and Toronto’s Jacquelene Acevedo.
68-year old Byrne also covered a protest song about police brutality in Janelle Monáe’s “Hell You Talmbout,” in which Byrne sings, plays instruments, and dances along with an 11-person troupe, with the band chanting out the names of Black Americans killed by police while performing high-energy choreography by Annie-B Parson.
All the classic songs get transformed with the aching beauty of “This Must Be The Place”; “Once in a Lifetime” now a euphoric anthem in David Byrne’s American Utopia calling on all of us to think, connect, engage, and dance.
Born in Atlanta and raised in Brooklyn, Spike Lee's debut feature, She’s Gotta Have It (86), won the Prix de la Jeunesse at Cannes.
His many films include the features School Daze (88), Do the Right Thing (89), Jungle Fever (91), Malcolm X (92), Clockers (95), Bamboozled (00), 25th Hour (02), Inside Man (06), Miracle at St. Anna (08), Chi-Raq (15), BlacKkKlansman (18), and Da 5 Bloods (20), and the documentaries 4 Little Girls (97) and When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts (06). David Byrne’s American Utopia (20) is his latest work.
The distribution of the film is done by the US, publicity done by Home Box Office (HBO) -- an American pay television network owned by WarnerMedia Studios & Networks and the flagship property of parent-subsidiary Home Box Office, Inc. -- and the film distributed in Canada by Crave.
Casting of the film is by David Byrne, Jacquelene Acevedo, Gustavo Di Dalva, Daniel Freedman, Chris Giarmo, Tim Keiper, Tendayi Kuumba, Karl Mansfield, Mauro Refosco, Stéphane San Juan, Angie Swan, Bobby Wooten III.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)