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Banjo is subject of popular, new documentary

Visual and Media Arts Associate Professor Marc Fields’s documentary Give Me the Banjo, which was originally aired nationally on PBS, will be screened at five festivals this month. It will also be screened locally at Berklee College of Music on Wednesday, October 17, at 6:00 pm. Admission is free, but an RSVP is required. The Berklee screening will feature live performances by two of the film’s musicians, Tony Trischka and Bill Keith.

Give Me the Banjo was recently screened at the Raindance Film Festival, the Tucson Film and Music Festival, and the Hot Springs Documentary Festival. The film will also be screened at the Reel Music 30 Festival (Northwest Film Center) on October 18 and the Arlington International Film Festival on October 21.

In addition to having been viewed by an estimated 4.5 million viewers during the initial broadcast, Give Me the Banjo is available on DVD with 30 minutes of additional content, and can be downloaded from many popular online sites.

Narrated by Steve Martin, the 82-minute film tells the story of what Fields calls “America’s quintessential musical instrument”—the banjo. The film covers the instrument’s history, from its African roots to the present, and features performances and commentary by musicians such as Pete Seeger, Earl Scruggs, Bela Fleck, and the Carolina Chocolate Drops.

Previously, Give Me the Banjo was selected for the Nashville Film Festival, the Park City Film Music Festival, the Green Mountain Film Festival, and the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival.  

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