Always an audience favorite, RiseUp, a documentary on the Jamaican underground music scene, has toured festivals and special events around the world screening in over 25 countries and winning awards such as the AFI/DISCOVERY SILVERDOCS Best Music Documentary Award. The film transcends genre and niche, seamlessly weaving three distinct stories into one inspiring feature-length movie that is both dramatic and vibrantly explosive. Upon viewing the film at a private screening on the Island, Chris Blackwell, founder of Island Records and the man who brought Bob Marley’s music to the world, stated that “RiseUp is the best Jamaican film since The Harder They Come”. International audiences have echoed the sentiment saying that RiseUp is like a ‘Jamaican Hoop Dreams' and the best movie to come out of the Caribbean in many years and both Jamaican newspapers, The Gleaner and The Observer have heralded it a “new classic” and a “poetic film”.
Directed by Argentinian-American filmmaker Luciano Blotta and produced by Blotta and Darrin Holender, the film features appearances and performances by both emerging and legendary artists, with music by Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Sizzla, Alpha Blondy, Daddigon, Sly & Robbie, Richie Spice, Tanya Stephens, Turbulence, Rootz Underground and many other artists. During 2010, RiseUp was chosen by New York’s Lincoln Center Film Society to celebrate Black History Month and a one-hour version of the film was broadcasted by many television networks worldwide including the BBC. A special connection between the film and its diverse audience has now developed through the film’s performances as well as the official website’s deep media library.
RiseUp viewers have been seen dancing, laughing and crying in their seats. While core reggae audiences and music documentary fans have lauded the film for its authenticity and entertainment value, general audiences have praised the film for its original storytelling, inspirational tone and beautiful imagery and sounds. This week, the producers of RiseUp will release a special one-hour U.S. television version called RiseUp Reggae Underground, which will premiere January 26 on Public Television stations throughout the country. They will also release the award-winning feature-length theatrical version and its riveting soundtrack on iTunes in time for Black History Month and Bob Marley Day.
In an interview with international press, Blotta stated, "I saw how much talent there is [in Jamaica], how flamboyant, different and creative all these people were, and it really inspired me." He is excited to finally share his seven-year project with audiences in the U.S. hoping that they will appreciate this priceless portrayal of a uniquely proud country. Entertainment industry veterans like BBC’s Nick Fraser and HBO director/producer Marty Callner, have commended Blotta's efforts as an invaluable contribution to both the Jamaican culture as well as the medium of documentary cinema. Whether you’re a music and film fan, a documentary watcher, or a student of culture, RiseUp should enlighten you and excite your interest in one of the most fascinating places on earth.
The internationally acclaimed feature-length theatrical version of RiseUp, as well as its soundtrack, will be released on iTunes on January 28, 2011. The U.S. Television Premiere of the one-hour special, “RiseUp Reggae Underground”, will broadcast January 26, 2011 nationwide on most Public Television Stations and will play many more times over late January and throughout February.
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