Music : New video venture : DocuTunes
Award-winning Island filmmakers and co-founders of FilmTruth Productions, Liz Witham and Ken Wentworth are pushing the bounds of creative and technical imagination with a new endeavor designed to support talented Islanders and dazzle viewers. DocuTunes is an Internet television station the couple devised to celebrate and promote local Vineyard musicians.
"We're using music as a way of telling stories about the Island and its musical heritage - the vibrant music scene that's still here," says Mr. Wentworth. The daughter of Kate Taylor and Charlie Witham, Liz Witham grew up surrounded by music. In pursuing the project, she says, "It just seemed to make sense that the place - the scene - be covered in its entirety because there's so much interconnectivity between the people and the players and how they develop their music."
In an event sponsored by Frye Boots, Ms. Witham and Mr. Wentworth will screen their first original DocuTunes series, "The Vineyard Scene," this Thursday, July 10, at Outerland.
The series consists of six short documentaries, ranging from five to ten minutes long, featuring a wealth of talented Island musicians, from celebrity performers to emerging artists.
The pre-screening cocktail reception is a fundraiser that will afford the couple the chance to produce additional films and fully develop the website. Beginning 7:30 pm, attendees can sip champagne, sample light hors d'oeuvres and oysters, and mingle with the cast and crew while enjoying an acoustic performance of French jazz by Benjamin Turgis.
The first documentary, "Aquinnah Wedding Song," features the Black Brook Singers, the community drummers of the Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe, using Native American tradition to create unique music for today.
The second documentary, "Tunes from the Tipi," will focus on celebrated Vineyard musician Kate Taylor. "Kate takes us back to the 70s and the music scene at that time, and tells us what it was like setting up a life here on the Island," says Mr. Wentworth.
Next up: "On the Beat with Colin Ruel." Mr. Ruel, a well-known local musician, concert organizer, and music reviewer for the Times, offers insight on today's music scene on the Island.
Photo by Ralph Stewart
In the documentary with Ben Taylor, the directors follow him around as he invites a few good friends, including Carrie Tree, over from London for the summer to make music in "From Across the Pond."
Actress Mary Steenburgen forefronts the next piece as she meets up with Isaac Taylor at Mike Benjamin's studio to record "Marguerite," a special song written as a gift for a close friend of hers with cancer.
The last film of the night will be "How Could You Ever Forget?" that peeks in on the collaboration between David Saw and Carly Simon. The song "How Could You Ever Forget?" is featured on Ms. Simon's latest album.
The evening promises to be memorable. Featured performers, including the Black Brook Singers, Kate Taylor, and Colin Ruel will perform live between the documentaries. Following the screening, chairs will be removed and a dance floor opened up where guests can move to the sounds of Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish with special guests.
The films themselves will be available for viewing on a number of different video platforms like YouTube, MySpace, and LiveVideo, and will be used to "help raise awareness and funds for social issues." The filmmakers hope, in the event of the kickoff's success, that they will be able to continue with the DocuTunes series and eventually, "take it nationally."
The champagne and oyster pre-screening event begins at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $150 per person, which includes VIP seating for the show. Seats for the screening/ performance are first come, first served: $20. The premiere begins at 9 pm; doors open at 8:30.Tickets are available at Che's Lounge, Alley's, Cronig's, Chilmark Store, the Aquinnah Shop, and online at DocuTunes.TV.
Kylie Paul, a recent graduate of Skidmore College, is a frequent contributor to The Times.