Docs That Rock

IFP Doc Lab Sees the Hand of Fatima


In 1968, Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones traveled to a small village in Morocco to find the birthplace of world music. By some counts, the legendary Master Musicians of Jajouka have played for 1300 years, distinguished by african oboes, lutes and bamboo flutes. Beat Generation hoi polloi like artist Brion Gysin, and authors Paul Bowles and Williiam Burroughs were fans. (Gysin introduced Jones to the group.) Before he died, Jones recorded Brian Jones Presents the Pipes of Pan at Jajouka. Three years later, Robert Palmer, who was the first-ever rock critic for the New York Times, repeated the journey. (Before his death in 1997, Palmer was also a contributor to Rolling Stone and was considered the country’s pre-eminent music critic.)


Palmer’s relationship to the Jajouka players will be the subject of an upcoming film called The Hand of Fatima, directed and written by his daughter Augusta. I caught notice of this film because it was recently named one of ten winners of the Independent Film Project’s Documentary Lab. The program mentors filmmakers in a four day seminar and provides info on technical, creative, and post-production issues for films in the rough cut stage. The docs later screen at IFP’s Independent Film Week in September. I’m definitely catching this one. When cross-continental music docs cohere, they can be pretty unforgettable music and cultural works. (We still get requests to show our project where Dave Matthews and Trey Anastasio went to Sengal to play with Orchestra Baobab. It predated our VH1 Rock Doc franchise but helped give us confidence to proceed with a documentary series.)


To whet your appetite for The Hand of Fatima, here is a clip of the Master Musicians of Jajouka:

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May 27, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

1 Comment »

  1. I will be moderating the Arts Engine DocuClub session this month with Augusta where she’ll be presenting a cut for feedback. Jan. 28 at 7:00 at The Tank in Manhattan. Hope to see you there.

    Comment by Pamela | January 7, 2009 | Reply


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