Ipi

Ipi

IPI

Told through a narrative four-act structure, Ipi (the warrior) focuses on a filmmaker revisiting a musical filmed by her late father in Jerusalem forty years ago. While the loss of her father is one of the documentary’s primary themes, the film also explores the magnetic power of music and dance. As the documentary unearths the story of the apartheid-era musical, it illuminates the common threads between its characters, who populate a larger story centered on the challenges and triumphs of individuals living in the shadow of apartheid. Learning more about her father’s goals and the aspirations he was never able to fulfill, the filmmaker travels to South Africa to delve into the musical’s backstory and deeper meaning, and ultimately, to get to know the young man her father once was. By meeting some of the musical’s original cast members, she is inspired to bring some of the dances back to the streets of South Africa, where they appear in a whole new light. In a visual exploration showcasing super 8 mm footage of her family before and after her birth, she simultaneously engages in a cinematic conversation with her father, years after his passing.

 

The musical’s story focuses on a man who leaves his Zulu village to find work in the goldmines, despite harsh and inhumane conditions—and in this theme, the filmmaker finds a parallel to the story of her father, an Iraqi refugee raised in Israel who eventually found his way to America. With many African men leaving their villages and flocking to Johannesburg in search of opportunity, Ipi N Tombi, initially titled the Warrior, mirrored the reality of apartheid-era South Africa at the time. After a successful tour, the show won recognition in Europe, Africa, Israel and Canada, introducing Zulu dance styles and music to worldwide audiences. In New York, however, playwright Bertha Egnos’ musical received criticism for exploiting South Africa’s Zulu culture, with protesters organizing to boycott the show due to the political conditions of apartheid at that time.

 

How relevant is the story in South Africa today? Through conversations with the musical’s original dancers and Zimbabwean miners in Johannesburg, the filmmaker explores the reality behind the production, bringing the dancers to the streets of South Africa to reconstruct and re-choreograph its dances as she ultimately discovers the significance of Ipi.

 

The Filmmaker represents a central character in the documentary and the main thread in the story. As she finds connections between the characters she meets in this process of recreating this musical, she discovers a common thread in each story—including her own, centering on loss and purpose. Her plot points begin with a conversation with her Dutch mother, who tells stories of her father as a young artist studying film in London, with dreams of moving to America. She learns for the first time that he survived cancer five months after they wed, and that he’d always dreamed of making films that centered on music and dance. In discovering more about her father as a young artist, the filmmaker later recalls the day her father tragically passed away in an accident during her teenage years. The documentary’s first act engages her in voiceover conversations with her late father, twenty years after his passing.

 

Todd Twala is one of the original dancers of Ipi N Tombi. When the filmmaker meets Twala at the Soweto theater, they discuss her connection to the mines that are at the core of the musical’s story: “In the mines, it was very bad. They go deep down. That’s why this gold. I don’t like it. I don’t like gold. Because you think why gold is here and why are we digging it? It’s wrong. There’s a reason why this gold is down there. The miners were going crazy, that’s why they kept them singing. Music is a living soul.”

 

In order to capture the origin point of the musical’s story, the documentary will embark in the Eastern Cape, the Kwa-Zulu Natal region where the story originated, and later move to the real gold mines and Johannesburg’s cinematic locations. We’ll see dancers move onto the streets in organic and powerful musical numbers, showcased at different plot points of the musical.

 

 

 

Fiscally sponsored by Dance Films Association:

To support IPI, please make checks payable to Dance Films Association, designated for Ipi (the warrior), and mail to:

 

Dance Films Association
75 Broad Street, #304
New York, NY 10004

 

Dance Films Association, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non profit membership organization since 1956. All gifts are tax deductible as allowed by law.

YASMIN HED 
DIRECTOR – PRODUCER

Yasmin Hed received her BFA from Tisch School of the Arts, and after graduating, directed her first short documentary Children of Bahia in the favelas of Salvador. This short documentary premiered at the Havana Film Festival and SXSW. Relocating to Los Angeles, she immersed herself in exploring the actor’s craft with actress Lelia Goldoni, icon of the beat scene of cinema and star of John Cassavetes Shadows. In 2010 she created Unmarked Guide, a curated travel series on the hidden gems of Los Angeles and the people who are its treasure. Her shorts from Unmarked Guide screened on Virgin’s in-flight channel Virgin Produced from 2012-2013. Yasmin has produced photo shoots for Mara Hoffman, Natalie Joos and DVF. In 2017, she directed and produced three short films on groundbreaking South African dancer Tarryn Alberts. Plant the Seed screened at the Moving Body Moving Image film festival in Harlem, New York in the spring of 2018. Currently focused on her feature length documentary Ipi, she loves to create content that explores compelling stories driven by a photographic and curated eye.

https://www.yasminhed.net/about/

 

JEREMY STULBERG
PRODUCER

Jeremy Stuhlberg is a documentary filmmaker, writer, producer and social justice activist. He is a Sundance Documentary Fellow and the recipient of grants from numerous organizations including the New York State Council on the Arts, The Sundance Documentary Fund, The Tribeca Film Institute Documentary Fund, ITVS, The Colin Higgins Foundation, The Arcus Foundation and The Fledgling Fund. Jeremy is the producer and editor of Growing Up Coy (NETFLIX) a transgender youth-rights documentary, whichwas sold to Netflix and released worldwide in 2017 after playing festivals around the world, winning multiple awards.

 

ERIC JUHOLA
PRODUCER

Eric Juhola is the director and producer of Growing Up Coy, a trans-youth rights documentary, which won 2 best documentary awards, and played at film festivals around the world. Over the course of production, Eric was invited to be a Sundance Fellow and participated in the Sundance Producer’s Lab. The film is being distributed worldwide by Netflix, released in 2017. Previously, Juhola produced Jeremy’s films Broken Heart Land and Off the Grid: Life on the Mesa. Juhola is a member of the Producer’s Guild of America and a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts where he currently serves on the faculty, teaching visual storytelling and impact producing.


CHRISTOPHER BLAUVELT
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY

Christopher Blauvelt is a third-generation film craftsman who combines his extensive experience with a fresh creative eye. A protégé of Harris Savides, Chris worked on films for directors Noah Baumbach and David Fincher and operated on Tom Ford’s A Single Man, Spike Jonze’s Where The Wild Things Are, and Gus Van Sant’s Restless. Chris’ work as a cinematographer includes Sofia Coppola’s edgy commentary on spoiled youth, The Bling Ring and The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby with Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy for director Ned Benson, which premiered at the Cannes and Toronto Film Festivals. Chris also lensed Kelly Reichardt’s Meek’s Cutoff and Night Moves, starring Dakota Fanning, Peter Sarsgaard and Jesse Eisenberg, which premiered at the Venice and Toronto Film Festivals, and most recently Certain Women with Kristen Stewart, Michelle Williams and Laura Dern which premiered at Sundance 2016.

IPI is fiscally sponsored by Dance Films Association. Donations may be made online HERE via PayPal.

Or please donate by making your check payable to Dance Films Association, designated for Ipi (the warrior), and mail to:

 

Dance Films Association
75 Broad Street, #304
New York, NY 10004

 

Dance Films Association, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non profit membership organization since 1956. All gifts are tax deductible as allowed by law.

Fiscally Sponsored

In production

IPI is fiscally sponsored by Dance Films Association. Donations may be made online HERE via PayPal.

Or please donate by making your check payable to Dance Films Association, designated for Ipi (the warrior), and mail to:

 

Dance Films Association
75 Broad Street, #304
New York, NY 10004

 

Dance Films Association, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non profit membership organization since 1956. All gifts are tax deductible as allowed by law.