Songs of Social Justice documentary to air on RI PBS, Feb. 22

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KINGSTON, R.I. — February 17, 2009 — The University of Rhode Island’s 2006 honors colloquium, Songs of Social Justice: The Rhetoric of Music, was an immensely popular series. The colloquium explored how music has been –and continues to be–a constant refrain in shaping the political and social experience.

Hundreds flocked to the Kingston campus each week to hear such noted activist musicians as Tom Paxton, Buffy Saint Marie (shown here), Bill Miller, Kim and Reggie Harris, Magpie, and Sonny Ochs, Chuck D, and Rhode Island’s own Joyce Katzberg discuss and perform their music.

The musicians were captured on film and the best footage was edited into an hour-long documentary, which will be shown Feb. 22 on RI PBS at 11 p.m. More airing dates will be announced.

“While the film does not reflect all of the nuance and vibrancy of the 2006 Honors Colloquium, it is indeed a wonderful snapshot of the questions it raised and is an especially vivid portrait of the live performances, which reflect the artists’ lifelong dedication to social justice through their music,” says Mary Healey Jamiel, URI assistant professor of communication studies and film media, who oversaw the project.

“I wish to congratulate the students who worked for 15 weeks filming this project – Marisa Barone ’08, Bryan Smith ’08, Matt Hedges ’09, Kylie Tanner ’08 and Allie Pirolli ’08, who then worked for another 15 weeks selecting, organizing and rough editing the footage from multiple cameras, and assembling the material into smaller sequences. It was a tremendous effort on their part, and provided them a great opportunity to refine their filmmaking and editing skills,” says Healey Jamiel.

During the past two-plus years, the URI professor worked with Jeff Hellyer, an editor who lives in Chicago, to finesse student-edited footage into a coherent 56 -minute performance documentary.

“Filmmaking on this scale is frightfully complex, and the project was a bit of a big ol’ bear to manage,” says Healey Jamiel who invites her colleagues, friends, and fans of the Honors Colloquium and all others to sit back and enjoy the labor of love on Sunday night.