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A Music-Fueled Journey Through Folk and Traditional Arts in America

New Documentary Opens September 15 at Cinema Village

Post-Screening Concert Fri. Sept 15 & Sat. Sept 16

Cinema Village
Daily Showtimes:1:00, 2:45, 4:30, 6:15, 8:00
September 15-September 21

First Run Features is proud to announce the theatrical premiere of Extraordinary Ordinary People, a sweeping celebration of the cultures of the world living and thriving in the United States. The feature-length documentary, directed by Alan Govenar, opens at New York's Cinema Village on September 15, 2017 for one week only, with other cities to follow. As a special treat, at the Friday and Saturday 8 pm shows there will be a post-screening concert featuring musical artists Sheila Kay Adams and Sidiki Conde, along with Filmmaker Alan Govenar, who will also conduct a Q&A.

At a time when the existence of the National Endowment for the Arts has never been more threatened, Govenar's documentary focuses on one of its least known and most enduring programs: the National Heritage Fellowship, awarded annually since 1982. Featuring a breathtaking array of men and women who have been awarded the fellowship, including musicians, dancers, quilters, woodcarvers and more, the film demonstrates the importance of the folk and traditional arts in shaping the fabric of America. From Bill Monroe and B.B. King to Passamaquoddy basket weavers and Peking Opera singers; from Appalachia and the mountains of New Mexico to the inner city neighborhoods of New York, the suburbs of Dallas, and the isolated Native American reservations of Northern California – each of the artists share exceptional talent, ingenuity, and perseverance.

Govenar began documenting the artists more than 35 years ago. The enormous breadth of his project, which also includes two 52-part radio series for NPR and three books, allowed him to explore in great detail the intersection of disparate cultures – many brought to our shores by immigrants over hundreds of years – with America itself. His film gives insights into how cultures endure, and how cultural expressions evolve but at the same time remain true to their roots in our 21st century connected world.

Some of the artists featured in the film include:

Sheila Kay Adams – Culture: Anglo; Tradition: Ballads, Musician, Singer, Storyteller
Rahim Alhaj – Culture Iraqi; Tradition: Composer, Oud Player
Loren Bommelyn – Culture: Native American Tolowa; Tradition: Artisan, Dancer, Musician
Laverne Brackens – Culture: African American; Tradition: Artisan, Quilter
Charles Carrillo – Culture: Hispanic; Tradition Santero
Clifton Chenier – Culture: African American, Creole; Tradition: Accordionist, Musician, Zydeco
Sidiki Conde – Culture: Guinean; Tradition: Dancer, Drummer, Musician
Sonia Domsch – Culture: Czech; Tradition: Artisan, Lace Maker
Qi Shu Fang – Culture: Asian, Chinese; Tradition: Peking Opera Performer, Musician
“Queen” Ida Guillory – Culture: African American, Creole; Tradition: Zydeco, Accordionist
John Lee Hooker – Culture: African American; Tradition: Blues, Guitarist, Musician, Singer
Wanda Jackson – Culture: Anglo; Tradition: Gospel, Musician, Rockabilly, Singer
Dolly Jacobs – Culture: Anglo; Tradition: Circus Aerialist
Flory Jagoda – Culture: Jewish; Tradition: Sephardic Musician
“Flaco” Jiménez – Culture: Mexican; Tradition: Accordionist, Conjunto, Musician
Genoa Keawe – Culture: Native Hawaiian; Tradition: Musician, Singer, Ukulele Player
B.B. King – Culture: African American; Tradition: Blues, Guitarist, Musician, Singer
Narciso Martinez – Culture: Mexican; Tradition: Accordionist, Conjunto, Musician
Lydia Mendoza – Culture: Mexican; Tradition: Musician, Singer
Norma Miller – Culture: African American; Tradition: Dancer, Lindy Hop
Bill Monroe – Culture: Anglo; Tradition: Bluegrass, Mandolin Player, Musician, Singer
Alex Moore – Culture: African American; Tradition: Blues, Musician, Pianist, Singer
Chum Ngek – Culture: Asian, Cambodian; Tradition: Musician
Clarissa Rizal – Culture:Native American Tlingit; Tradition: Ceremonial Regalia Maker
Earl Scruggs – Culture: Anglo; Tradition: Banjo Player, Bluegrass, Musician
Dan Sheehy – Folklorist & Former Director of NEA Folk & Traditional Arts; Mariachi Musician
Koko Taylor – Culture: African American; Tradition: Blues, Musician, Singer
Mike Vlahovich – Culture: Croatian; Tradition: Shipwright
Albertina Walker – Culture: African American; Tradition: Gospel, Musician, Singer

**Musical artists Sheila Kay Adams and Sidiki Conde will give an extended post-screening concert and do Q&A with Filmmaker Alan Govenar following the Friday and Saturday 8 pm shows at the Cinema Village (Sept 15 & 16)!**

Filmmaker Biography

Alan Govenar is a writer, folklorist, photographer and filmmaker. He is president of Documentary Arts, which he founded in 1985 to present new perspectives on historical issues and diverse cultures. Govenar is the author of twenty-nine books and is a Guggenheim Fellow. The Off-Broadway premiere of his musical Texas in Paris received rave reviews in The New York Times and Huffington Post.

Govenar's film Stoney Knows How, based on his book by the same title about Old School tattoo artist Leonard St. Clair, was shown at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, and was selected as an Outstanding Film of the Year by the London Film Festival. Govenar has also produced and directed numerous films in association with NOVA, La Sept/ARTE, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, including Master Qi and the Monkey King, The Beat Hotel, You Don't Need Feet to Dance, and Extraordinary Ordinary People, all distributed by First Run Features.

Since 1982, Govenar's work related to the recipients of the National Endowment for the Arts' National Heritage Fellowship has included three books: Masters of Traditional Arts, Extraordinary Ordinary People, and Stompin' at the Savoy; two 52-part radio series, broadcast on more than 150 NPR stations nationwide; the development of the website; and a learning resource guide for students K-12 that he co-authored with Betty Carter and Paddy Bowman.

Directed by Alan Govenar
Edited by Jason Johnson-Spinos
Written by Alan Govenar and Jason Johnson-Spinos
Cinematography by Didier Dorant and Robert Tullier
Photographs by Alan Govenar
Narrated by Sheila Kay Adams and Elva Perez
Produced by Documentary Arts
Supported in part by National Endowment for the Arts and Communities of Foundation of Texas
© 2017 Documentary Arts, Inc.


Director - Alan Govenar
Run Time - 84 minutes
Language - English
Format - Digital
Year - 2017
Genre - Documentary

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