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    Keep On Keepin' On

    Keep On Keepin' On |

    Director: Al Hicks

    Country: USA

    Year: 2014

    Length: 86'

    Language: In English

    Introduction by David Wacker, the diplomat of the U.S. Embassy in Tallinn.

    The Embassy of the United States in Estonia and American Film Showcase present:

    Shot over the course of five years by first time film-maker Al Hicks, the film depicts a 23-year-old, blind piano prodigy, Justin Kauflin, and the music legend and teacher Clark Terry, 89. After a life spent working with and teaching the most totemic figures in jazz history, Terry continues to attract and cultivate budding talents.

    The documentary highlights Clark Terry’s friendship with the preternaturally gifted Justin Kauflin, who suffers from debilitating stage fright. Not long after Kauflin is invited to compete in an elite jazz competition, Terry’s health takes a turn for the worse. As the clock ticks down, we see two friends confront the toughest challenges of their lives.

    Terry, now 93, was Quincy Jones’ first teacher, and a mentor to Miles Davis. He is among the few performers ever to have played in both Count Basie’s and Duke Ellington’s bands. In the ‘60s Terry broke the colour barrier as the first African-American staff musician at NBC: on The Tonight Show. Kauflin’s work on the film’s score with the composer Dave Grusin sets the tone for a story covering decades. Keep On Keepin’ On is a film crafted with great affection by Hicks – another former student of Terry’s – a grace note for his teacher, infused with soulfulness and serendipity. Paula DuPre’ Pesmen (behind the Academy Award winning The Cove and the Oscar-nominated Chasing Ice) produced the film with seven-time Academy Award nominee Quincy Jones, who also counts Terry as his mentor. Jones came on board as producer after walking into the film as one of its subjects, and discovering Justin’s talent purely by chance during a visit to Clark’s home.

    2014 Tribeca Film Festival - Best New Documentary Director, Heineken Audience Award
    2014 Hot Docs - Top Ten Audience Favorite
    2014 Boulder Film festival - Audience Award