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Song of Lahore

Synopsis

SONG OF LAHORE examines the lives and the cultural heritage of Pakistan's classical musicians, and asks whether there is still room for them in a society roiled by social and religious upheaval. After toiling in obscurity for years, an innovative album leads Sachal Studios to international acclaim, and a triumphant concert with Wynton Marsalis and his orchestra at Jazz at Lincoln Center. This feature length documentary by Academy Award winning filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and Andy Schocken follows their dramatic journey, and asks if they will ever find an audience at home.

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The Filmmakers

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy Producer, Director

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy is an Academy Award and an Emmy Award winning documentary filmmaker. She has made over a dozen multi-award winning films in over 10 countries around the world. Her films include SAVING FACE, TRANSGENDERS: PAKISTAN'S OPEN SECRET and PAKISTAN'S TALIBAN GENERATION. Her work has aired on channels spanning 4 continents including, HBO, CNN, PBS, Channel 4, CBC, Arte, SBS and the Discovery channel.

In 2012, Time Magazine included Sharmeen in their annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world. In 2013, the Canadian government awarded Sharmeen a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for her work in the field of documentary films and the World Economic Forum honored her with a Crystal Award at their annual summit in Davos.

Andy Schocken Producer, Director

Andy Schocken is a documentary filmmaker and cinematographer living in Brooklyn, NY. He was a co-producer and cinematographer for THE LAST CAMPAIGN OF GOVERNOR BOOTH GARDNER, which was nominated for an Academy Award and aired on HBO. His cinematography credits include recent and upcoming theatrically released documentaries such as BEYOND THE BRICK: A LEGO BRICKUMENTARY, FIRST POSITION, FIGHT CHURCH, and GERHARD RICHTER PAINTING. SONG OF LAHORE is his directorial debut. Andy holds a Masters degree in documentary filmmaking from Stanford University.

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Festivals & Awards

Tribeca Film Festival 2015

Since the time of Pakistan’s independence, the city of Lahore was world-renowned for its music. Then with the Islamization of Pakistan in the 1970s, many of Lahore’s most accomplished and celebrated musicians struggled to continue their life’s work. Song of Lahore turns the spotlight on a group of brave musicians that kept on playing.

Sachal Studios has attracted an audience from around the world for their experimental sound, fusing traditional music with contemporary Western flare. When their rendition of Dave Brubeck's piece ‘Take Five’ gets the attention of Wynton Marsalis, they are invited to take the stage at New York’s Jazz at Lincoln Center. Directors Andy Schocken and Oscar®–winner Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy offer a moving and uplifting look at cultural preservation and a group of passionate and skilled musicians who risk their own safety to inspire listeners from all over the globe. 

—Dan Hunt

+ Festival Website

IDFA 2015

The town of Lahore was a center of musical culture - until music was considered sinful under Sharia law in 1977. Musicians were partly vilified and music was banned into private homes. After restrictions eased, an amazing recording of “Take Five” goes viral and several Pakistani musicians are invited by jazz legend Wynton Marsalis to perform at Lincoln Center. Andy Schocken and Academy awarded Sharmeen Obaid tell a different kind of story about Pakistan – a story about its people, not its politics and how music has the ability to bring people together across cultural divides. 

+ Festival Website

Hamptons Film Festival 2015

Reviews

Elegant and moving.”

-THE NEW YORK TIMES

'Song’ positively sings. A fascinating study in cross-cultural pollination.”

-VARIETY

A joyous and riveting film. Will have audiences grinning from ear to ear. Tells a fascinating story and mixes glorious artistry with a background that has real resonance.”

-THE WRAP