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The 78 Project Movie a celebration of music and culture

by Mark Burger

The Blue Ridge Music Center in Virginia will be presenting special, one-nightonly screenings of the critically acclaimed documentary The 78 Project Movie at theaters in Winston- Salem, Mount Airy, and Galax, Va.

The 78 Project Movie enjoyed its world premiere at the 2014 SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas, and has since been an official selection at Independent Film Festival Boston and the Nashville Film Festival. The film premiered in New York City in August as a selection of the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Sound & Vision Series, and made its international premiere at the BFI London Film Festival this past month.

The 78 Project, which began as an online web series, is the brainchild of writers Alex Steyermark (who also directed) and Lavinia Jones Wright, who spent a year traveling across the country and interviewing musicians in their homes in order to cut 78 rpm records in a single, threeminute take.

A wide variety of acclaimed performers participated in the production of the film, including John Doe, Victoria Williams, Reverend John Wilkins, Holly Williams and Chris Coleman, Joe Bussard, Sea of Bees, Gaby Moreno and Adam Levy, Dylan LeBlanc, Ella Mae Bowen, John Reilly and Tom Brosseau, Jaron Lanier, The Bo-Keys with Percy Wiggins, John Paul Keith, Corey Ledet and Ashlee Michot, Dawn Landes, Ben Vaughn and others. The film encompasses numerous genres in music, including rock ‘n’ roll, folk, gospel and Cajun.

The musicians who perform and are profiled discuss their love of music, their personal and professional histories, and their feelings about the importance of preserving a musical legacy for subsequent generations of musicians and aficionados.

The 78 Project Movie also features interviews with experts from every facet of field recording, including music producers, music historians, 78 rpm record collectors, the family of the inventor of the Presto Machine (upon which many of these songs were originally recorded in the 1930s and 1940s), curators from the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Institute and sound technicians.

The 78 Project was conceived to complement the ongoing mission of the Blue Ridge Music Center to preserve Blue Ridge Mountain music traditions alive and thriving in the 21 st century. The Blue Ridge Mountain Center is a museum on the Blue Ridge Parkway that celebrates the illustrious musical heritage of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The film will be screened Thursday at a/perture Cinemas in Winston-Salem, next Thursday (Nov. 13) at the Rex Theatre in downtown Galax, and Tuesday (Nov. 18) at the Earle Theatre in downtown Mount Airy.

The film has received positive feedback from audiences and critics alike.

“The 78 Project grabs American music by the roots,” wrote USA Today. The Austin Chronicle opined: “The ineffable romance of old recordings makes for magic “¦ ripe with wonder.” Billboard SXSW: The Fest’s Top Films reported: “For fans of pure recording and its history, it’s compelling and informative,” and The Village Voice stated that the film “rises above simple vintage worship and does more than just glorify the past “” it helps us experience it.”

The official 78 Project Movie website is http://the78project.com/. !

WANNA go?

A/perture Cinemas is located at 311 W. Fourth St., Winston-Salem. Showtime is 8 p.m. Thursday. Tickets are $11.50. For more information, call 336.722.8148, or visit the official website: http:// aperturecinema.com/. The Rex Theater is located at 113 E. Grayson St. in Galax, Va. Showtime is 7 p.m. Thursday (Nov. 13).Tickets are $8. For more information, call 276.236.0329, or visit the official website: http://www.rextheatergalax.com/. The Earle Theatre is located at 142 N. Main St., Mount Airy. Showtime is 7 p.m. Tuesday (Nov. 18). Tickets are $8. For more information, call 336.786.2222, or visit: http://.surrycountymusic.com/.

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