From director Monica Haim comes the feature-length documentary titled Awake Zion, which claims to explore the unsuspecting connections between Rasta, Reggae and Judaism.
An overview of the project, courtesy of the director:
Awake Zion is a documentary that explores the surprising and unsuspecting connections between Rasta, Reggae and Judaism – through one woman’s beat-laden adventure into the meaning of identity. All the way back to the alleged sultry affair between the Jewish King Solomon and the African Queen of Sheba, Jewish influence is evident in the spiritual history of Ethiopia – turning up consistently in Rastafarian lifestyle and, inevitably, Reggae. Uniting Jewish and Jamaican musicians, scholars, and historians in a celebration of roots and culture, Awake Zion travels from Crown Heights, Brooklyn, where Caribbean and Jewish cultures share a history of adversity, to Jamaica, the birthplace of reggae, and ultimately to Israel, where a sizzling reggae scene thrives today. Awake Zion challenges our shared preconceptions of what it means to be Jewish, to be Rasta, to be white or black, and, most importantly, the universal search for “Zion”, and what it means to be "home".
The film has been at least 2 years in the making, and, as of this January, 2012, was finally complete. So congrats to all involved!
As for when you might be able to see it, Awake Zion will screen tonight at Rototom Sunsplash 2012 as part of their Reggae University Camp program, at 6pm. It'll make its international premiere at the Jerusalem Jewish Film Festival in December. Its official US premiere TBD; it's also coming soon to iTunes.
But stay tuned for updates as I receive them.
In the meantime, here's the trailer: