ALL ARTS, the multimedia platform covering visual art, music, theater, dance, film and literature, premieres four film projects from Le’Andra LeSeur, DonChristian Jones, Jonathan McCrory, and Matthew Whitaker commissioned as part of its 2022 Artist in Residence program.
The films are part of the new ALL ARTS Artist in Residence series, premiering nationwide Sundays, April 3-10, 8:00-9:00 p.m. ET on the free ALL ARTS app and AllArts.org/artistinresidence, and in the New York metro area on the ALL ARTS TV channel (channel lineup).
The annual festival series begins Sunday, April 3 at 8 p.m. ET on ALL ARTS with Matthew Whitaker: About Tomorrow, a film about the young American jazz piano prodigy, who is blind, directed by Steven Tabakin, followed by The Roll Call: The Roots to Strange Fruit, a rhythmic three-part performance conceived by National Black Theatre’s Jonathan McCrory. The series continues Sunday, April 10 at 8 p.m. ET on ALL ARTS with There is no movement without rhythm, a multimedia performance directed by Le’Andra LeSeur that precedes the artist’s debut solo show at New York City’s Marlborough Gallery in May, and concludes with Volvo Truck and the Girls from up the Hill, an immersive performance from multimedia artist DonChristian Jones. All films will have audio description (AD) and closed captioning (CC) available.
Matthew Whitaker: About Tomorrow
Premieres Sunday, April 3 at 8 p.m. ET on ALL ARTS
Access: AD, CC available.
Matthew Whitaker, a jazz artist who has been blind since birth, explores what it means to gain independence as an artist and young man transitioning into adulthood. Directed by Steven Tabakin, the film takes a closer look at Whitaker’s interest in film scoring and the mentors who help him on his path of artistic self-discovery, including film composer John Califra, film music supervisor Susan Jacobs, Broadway musical director and arranger Zane Mark and actor and vocal arranger Michael McElroy. Matthew Whitaker: About Tomorrow features an original film score by Matthew Whitaker, the artist’s first foray into film composing. Renowned for joyfully mixing old-school jazz with new school sounds, Whitaker has toured the U.S. and abroad, performing on prestigious stages including Lincoln Center, The Hollywood Bowl, Carnegie Hall, The Apollo Theater, and The Kennedy Center for The Performing Arts.
The Roll Call: The Roots to Strange Fruit
Premieres nationwide Sunday, April 3 at 8.30 p.m. ET on ALL ARTS
Access: AD, CC available.
Conceived and directed by Obie Award winner Jonathan McCrory, Executive Artistic Director of the National Black Theatre, this performance film draws on historical documents from 1619 through abolition to explore the Black experience of slavery. Presented in three chapters, the visual, sonic opera features an immersive chorus of voices rhythmically reciting auction blocks, fugitive ads and “Information Wanted” notices. Through narrating the practices of slavery, the original work unearths the journey of Black people in America and creates a space of reclamation and healing. The Roll Call: The Roots to Strange Fruit is anchored by a solo dance performance by LaWanda Hopkins, choreographed by Rickey Tripp (“Dreamgirls,” Dallas Theatre Center production, Irma P. Hall Black Theater Award for Best Choreography).
There is no movement without rhythm
Premieres Sunday, April 10 at 8 p.m. ET on ALL ARTS
Access: AD, CC available.
Le’Andra LeSeur is a multidisciplinary artist whose work encompasses a range of media including video, installation, photography, painting and performance. In this film, the artist expands upon a multichannel video and performance piece of the same name first presented at New York City’s The Shed in 2021. Featuring original choreography performed by India Hobbs with music by Mama Foundation for the Arts choir and DJ MUSE(O)FIRE, There is no movement without rhythm explores body and spiritual liberation in the music of the African Diaspora through a collage of performances, artist conversations and abstract visuals.
Volvo Truck and the Girls from up the Hill
Premieres Sunday, April 10 at 8.30 p.m. ET on ALL ARTS
Access: AD, CC available.
Multimedia artist DonChristian Jones uses his 2021 presentation “Volvo Truck” at New York City’s The Shed as his starting point. The original performance installation was an abstract and multisensory experience inspired by the artist’s youth in Philadelphia in the 2000s and his reverence for his mother and her four sisters. In Volvo Truck and the Girls from up the Hill, Jones reimagines his impressionistic performance specifically for ALL ARTS using newly shot footage and archival photos not seen in the original performance. The resulting film is a kaleidoscope of sounds and images, and a unique examination of the artist’s ancestry.
“We are delighted to showcase these four talented Black artists as part of our annual Artist in Residence program,” said James King, Artistic Director of ALL ARTS. “Through commissioning emerging and established artists across disciplines, we hope to introduce audiences to a wide range of artists and mediums.”
The ALL ARTS Artist in Residence program began in 2021 with Taylor Mac, MacArthur Fellow and Pulitzer Prize Finalist for Drama, as its first Artist in Residence. Mac’s Whitman in the Woods. (2021), a drag performance film exploring Walt Whitman’s poetry, is streaming now on the free ALL ARTS app and AllArts.org. Last year, ALL ARTS expanded its Artist in Residence program through a partnership with The Shed’s Open Call, a large-scale commissioning program for early-career New York City-based artists.
“We’re thrilled to partner with ALL ARTS to further amplify and support The Shed’s Open Call artists DonChristian Jones and Le’Andra LeSeur,” said Tamara McCaw, The Shed’s Chief Civic Program Officer. “As our communities, city, and cultural sector continue to rebuild, the ALL ARTS and The Shed partnership enables us to leverage our individual strengths for collective impact-providing meaningful resources, funding, and visibility to local artists.”
The 2023 ALL ARTS Artist in Residence program will be announced at a later date.
Created by The WNET Group, ALL ARTS launched in 2019 to offer access to all forms of creative expression from New York and around the world. As a free, multiplatform streaming service ALL ARTS reduces barriers to experiencing the arts and builds new audiences for cultural organizations.
Matthew Whitaker: About Tomorrow is directed and produced by Steven Tabakin and is a Triple Birch Media Production. Matthew Whitaker is Producer. Michelle Taylor is Executive Producer. Jason Tanaka Blaney is Director of Photography. Jon Fine is Editor. Mixed by Scott M. Riesett. Original score by Matthew Whitaker.
The Roll Call: The Roots to Strange Fruit is conceived and directed by Jonathan McCrory. National Black Theatre and Creative Doula LLC are Executive Producers. Chaitanya Sangco and Joy Abalon Tamayo of Brick Shop Audio are composers. Thomas Wirthensohn is director of cinematography and editor.
There is no movement without rhythm is directed by Le’Andra LeSeur. April Maxey is director of photography.
Volvo Truck and the Girls from up the Hill is written and directed by DonChristian Jones with an original score by the artist. It was adapted for the screen by DonChristian Jones and Jake Robbins. Robbins served as Editor and VFX Artist.
For ALL ARTS: Jake King is Producer. Kristy Geslain and Joe Harrell are Executive Producers. James King is Artistic Director. Diane Masciale and Neal Shapiro are Executives in Charge.
ALL ARTS is breaking new ground as the premier destination for inspiration, creativity and art of all forms. This New York Emmy-winning arts and culture hub is created by The WNET Group, the community-supported home of New York’s PBS stations. With the aim of being accessible to viewers everywhere, ALL ARTS’ Webby-nominated programming – from digital shorts to feature films – is available online nationwide through AllArts.org, the free ALL ARTS app on all major streaming platforms and @AllArtsTV on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. New York area TV viewers can also watch the 24/7 broadcast channel. For all the ways to watch, visit AllArts.org/Everywhere.