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‘Psalms: The Making of an Album’ Expands Conceptions of Jewishness

'Psalms: The Making of an Album' Expands Conceptions of Jewishness

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Psalms: The Making of an Album

Tweetable Logline: Cultures and musical styles collide in this “making of the album” documentary. Jewish Appalachians + Jewish Ugandans = music history.

Elevator Pitch: Jewish Appalachians? You don’t really hear those two words in the same sentence. The same goes for “Jewish Ugandans.” Well, we’ve found groups of both. They may not have much in common. They may not even agree on What it means to be Jewish. But both groups make music. Beautiful music. And we want to bring them together to make an album. We want to take a small group of Jewish Appalachians to Uganda, get them in the studio, and see what happens.

Production Team: 

Jon Matthews, Director — Directed the feature documentary, “Surviving Cliffside” which was part of the Film Independent Documentary Lab, was awarded a grant from Spike Lee, and premiered at SXSW.

Katy Scoggin, Producer/Director of Photography — Won the Oscar for “Citizenfour,” which she co-produced and was a camera operator on. Is a Sloan Foundation recipient for a feature that she is writing and directing about a biologist turned creationist. 

About the Film: Two years ago, my composer went to Uganda and made an album with the Jewish Ugandans in Putti. While he was there, he shot some documentary footage. When he returned, he approached me about using the footage to make a film. The footage was incredible. But there wasn’t really a story there. Then, while I was in my home state of West Virginia, I met Rabbi Cohn of Temple Israel in Charleston. This got me thinking about Jewish Appalachians. So, I thought: what if we combined the Jewish Appalachians with the Jewish Ugandans, and had them make music together?

Current Status: We are fundraising via Kickstarter and private investors.

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