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‘The Song of Hiawatha’ Profiles One of Detroit’s Formative Musical Activists

Here's your daily dose of an indie film, web series, TV pilot, what-have-you in progress -- at the end of the week, you'll have the chance to vote for your favorite.

Here’s your daily dose of an indie film, web series, TV pilot, what-have-you in progress — at the end of the week, you’ll have the chance to vote for your favorite.

In the meantime: Is this a project you’d want to see? Tell us in the comments.

The Song of Hiawatha

Logline: “The Song of Hiawatha” is a feature-length documentary about Hiawatha Bailey, a gay political activist and musician of African- and Native–American ancestry who was both a pioneering black hippie and also among the first black punk rockers.

Elevator Pitch:
This is the story of the American rock’n’roll counterculture from 1965 to the present as experienced by Hiawatha Bailey, a gay political activist and musician of African- and Native–American ancestry who was both a pioneering black hippie and also among the first black punk rockers. The second of twelve children born to a family in Georgia and transplanted to Detroit in the 1950s to escape Jim Crow and to live in “Motown,” Hiawatha was part of the “great migration” of African-Americans moving to northern cities. In 1965, he took LSD, joined a commune, and never looked back.

Production Team:

Director/Producer/Writer: Jeffrey Wengrofsky (Short films here)
Consulting Producer/Supervising Editor: Sam Pollard
Associate Editor/Consultant: Paul Rachman
Creative Consultant: Laszlo Santha
Director of Photography: David Kavanaugh
Assistant Camera: Geoff George, Martin Roper, Leslie Hodgkins, Jeffrey Wengrofsky
Editor: Jason Pollard
Assistant Editors: Hannah Park, Leslie Hodgkins, Alex Zarnoski

About the Film:
Nearly five years ago I escaped August in NYC for a cool linoleum floor in a house without plumbing or furniture in Detroit. I was working for Coilhouse Magazine and had been given a list of old proto-punks to interview – Scott and Ron Asheton, Dennis Thompson and Michael Davis, and others, including one name I could not identify: Hiawatha Bailey. When Hia and I met, it was clear he had a big tale to tell and that we had the personal chemistry necessary for a feature-length project. We’ve spoken on the phone nearly every day since then.

Current Status: Fundraising for post-production.

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