World Premiere at HOT DOCS
A film by Shelley Saywell
Saturday April 25 | 8:30pm | Tiff Bell Lightbox Cinema #2
Other Hot Docs Screenings:
Monday April 27 | 6:30pm | Scotiabank Theatre 3
Saturday May 2 | 6:30pm | Scotiabank Theatre 4
Music is an expression of the spirit for everyone. But for some who survive on the periphery of society, it can also be a life-saving coping mechanism and the last stand of their dignity.
Emmy-winning Director Shelley Saywell’s moving and inspiring documentary Lowdown Tracks was created with singer/activist Lorraine Segato. Filmed over 18 months, it captures the music and stories of five musicians who are homeless or on the margins. Inspired in part by the famous Depression Era recordings of Allan and John Lomax, the film is a look at our society from way down low, the place where people who have been forced or opted out of the mainstream find themselves.
Produced alongside award-winning Deborah Parks (Out of Mind Out of Sight) Saywell’s Lowdown Tracks will have its World Premiere at Hot Docs, and later in the year a broadcast premiere on TVO.
Recorded in the streets, under bridges, in shelter rooms, or in places that have special meaning in their lives, the songs combine passion, talent, misfortune and despair. The view from the ground is a troubling one, “because you have to know pain and heart ache to be out there,” says Katt Budd, one of the musicians in the film who became a runaway street kid at age 13.
The film features Hole in the Wall, a track from Lorraine Segato’s new CD, Invincible Decency, along with a soundtrack of music never heard or recorded before, from people who should be listened to. From folk, punk hobo, Americana, and blues, their music resonates with hard times, eerily resembles past times, and throws a new perspective on our times.
“The songs they’ve written come directly from their experiences – the hell of their lives,” says Segato, who was first exposed to the caliber of street music at a benefit concert for homeless relief.
“As our homeless crisis grows, life on the margins threatens more and more people,” adds director Saywell. “The causes, from abuse to mental health to simple bad luck, are all touched on in the stories in the film, but at its heart Lowdown Tracks is about bringing into focus the heartache and the beautiful potential we should see when we walk by someone on the street. In the end, it is a celebration of the power of music and survival.”
Lowdown Tracks was written, produced and directed by Shelley Saywell. Produced and also partly shot by Deborah Parks, cinematography by Michael Grippo CSC and John Tran CSC, sound recording by Peter Sawade and edited by Deborah Palloway. www.bisharifilms.com
Lowdown Tracks was commissioned by TVO, Executive Producer Jane Jancovic
To hear music and out-takes from the documentary, please go to www.lowdowntracks.com created by Lalita Krishna, InSync Media.
About Shelley Saywell
Shelley Saywell has been making documentaries for almost 30 years with Deborah Parks and the Bishari Films team. She was Hot Docs Festival Director in Focus in 2003, where she earned two Best Canadian Feature Awards. Her films have been official selections at festivals worldwide been broadcast in more than 30 countries, and where she made the short list (top 10 documentary features) at the Academy Awards, and received numerous awards including an Emmy for Investigative Journalism. Saywell has been personally honored with the Gandhi Medal for Promoting the Culture of Peace and Women in Film and Television’s Creative Excellence Award.
About Lorraine Segato
Lorraine Segato is a Juno-award winning singer-songwriter, best known and loved for Rise Up! (Parachute Club). She is also a social activist who has produced and performed at numerous benefits on issues ranging from the homeless crisis, to Aids in Africa. She is currently the first Artist in Residence at Regent Park in Toronto. Her new CD Invincible Decency was just released and is available through itunes.