A young black man sits politely at the "whites only" counter in a diner as white men berate him, throw food at him, and eventually beat him. But when he hits the floor, another man takes his place at the counter. Watching this ghastly footage, captured during the bitter days of segregation, it seems impossible to imagine anyone willing to endure such senseless brutality. But pair images like this with soul-stirring folk songs like "I'm Gonna Sit at the Welcome Table," "Keep Your Eyes on the Prize," and "We Shall Overcome," and suddenly anything seems possible. Soundtrack for a Revolution tells the story of the American civil rights movement through the music that fortified protestors as they struggled for equality.
Directors Dan Sturman and two-time Oscar® winner Bill Guttentag (codirectors of Nanking, TFF '07) pair provocative vintage footage with emotional interviews with the men and women who endured the threats, the dogs, the night sticks, and the fire hoses, among them Georgia congressman John Lewis, Harry Belafonte, Coretta Scott King, and many more. But ultimately the filmmakers want the music to do the talking, so they've also gathered Wyclef Jean, Joss Stone, John Legend, TV on the Radio, the Roots, the Blind Boys of Alabama, and others to let loose on modern renditions of those timeless songs.
Bill Guttentag is a two-time Oscar®-winning documentary and feature film writer/producer/director. His films include Live!, a dramatic feature he wrote and directed, starring Eva Mendes and Andre Braugher, and the documentary feature Nanking, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Guttentag also created and executive produced (with Dick Wolf) the nonfiction series Law & Order: Crime & Punishment (NBC, 2002-2004). He recently completed his first novel, Boulevard, which will be published by Pegasus Books/W.W. Norton this winter. He also teaches a course at Stanford University.
Dan Sturman cowrote and codirected Nanking and produced Twin Towers. He has reported and produced for ABC News, CBS News, and the BBC while based in Los Angeles; for Reuters and NBC News while based in London; and for 20/20 in New York. Sturman was the associate producer of the Oscar®-winning documentary A Time for Justice.