Film: FANDANGO AT THE WALL (directed by Varda Bar-Kar)

Post image for Film: FANDANGO AT THE WALL (directed by Varda Bar-Kar)

by Lamont Williams on September 22, 2020

in Film


At the heart of the the feature music documentary Fandango at the Wall — which HBO premieres beginning Friday, September 25 — is the “Fandango Fronterizo” music festival that takes place annually on both sides of the Tijuana-San Diego border. In the film, Jorge Francisco Castillo, who founded the festival, invites producer Kabir Sehgal and musician Arturo O’Farrill to Veracruz, Mexico to meet the masters of son jarocho, which is a 300-hundred-year-old folk music that combines indigenous, Spanish, and African traditions. They travel through the scenic countryside of Veracruz recruiting the best of these musicians to join them at the upcoming border festival. With musicians on both sides of the US-Mexico border wall, the festival becomes a celebration of friendship and unity. Executive produced by Quincy Jones, Andrew Young, and Carlos Santana, the film features remarkable and dynamic music that blends quintessential son jarocho songs with lush big band jazz arrangements.

The film will premiere on HBO Latino, Friday, September 25, 2020, with additional HBO broadcasts scheduled for the subsequent days. It will also be available to stream on HBO Max in the United States.

“Paradoxically, our film shows how the border can become a place of friendship and amity by harnessing the power of Afro-Mexican music. I’ve been making music for decades, and I’ve never experienced a more enveloping and transformative artform,” said Sehgal.

Fandango at the Wall features son jarocho legends Andrés Vega, Martha Vega, Ramón Gutiérrez, Wendy Cao Romero, Tacho Utrera, Fernando Guadarrama, and Patricio Hidalgo. There are special appearances by American jazz violinist Regina Carter; CNN Historian Douglas Brinkley; Mandy Gonzalez (Broadway’s Hamilton); The Villalobos Brothers; Rahim AlHaj; and Sahba Motallebi. As part of the project, there is already a released book and smokin’ hot album with the same title published by Hachette and Resilience Music Alliance.

stills courtesy of HBO
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