At first glance, FOR MY SISTERS is a musical film, a cinematic journey through the jazz age with a charming, eloquent, inquisitive guide, Carole Alston who lives jazz with conviction.
“A voice as dark and sweet as molasses”, the Financial Times referring to Carole Alston who comes from Washington D.C. and has been living in Vienna for almost 30 years.
The singer sets out on a research trip for a stage show concerning her jazz icons, the brilliant and historical “Big Sisters”: Alberta Hunter, Sarah Vaughan and Nina Simone.
Little by little, the musical film FOR MY SISTERS becomes a film expedition, which ventures into unexpected dimensions. On the search for the origins of jazz, a complex socio-political discussion emerges on the issues of slavery, sexism and racism.
The compact scenes in New Orleans, Mississippi Delta and New York are linked to the music on the stage of the Porgy & Bess in Vienna, and the research is interwoven with the stage show. The film exhibits the musical form and a remarkable content.
Music history meets the present.
Carole Alston, a young African-American singer and dancer, decides to move from the USA to Europe. After several engagements and guest performances she finally ends up at the Vienna Volksoper. The city of music becomes her second home. 30 years on, she once again embarks on a journey. A journey to the roots of jazz and the memorable voices of the “Big
Sisters”: Alberta Hunter, Sarah Vaughan and Nina Simone.
In his film FOR MY SISTERS, Stephanus Domanig accompanies Carole Alston on an emotional musical search for places, venues and people that are inextricably linked with the life story of the three jazz singers. These voices of jazz, marked by the resistance against racism and suppression, were brilliant at exposing injustices without actually stating them.
The documentary leads us from New Orleans into the Mississippi Delta and to New York. Carole takes us on a touching yet humorous film journey back to the tragic and harrowing beginnings of jazz: for instance, she gives us an understanding of the work songs, which were sung by the cotton-picking slaves and which ultimately became the songs of the civil rights movement.
The film opens a door into a forgotten world of inequality, the repercussions of which can be felt to this very day. Carole meets old jazz legends and new “Sisters”, thus drawing a link to the present and finding herself and the music in her life: jazz needs to be lived to be played.
FOR MY SISTERS grooves, swings and en passant conveys issues that are deeply moving. An impressive film that will stay with you for a long time.
“I have been making jazz music for over 40 years. But this is a completely new look at it. I really learned something and seldom has a jazz film touched me like this film”
Fritz Thom – Director Jazz Fest Wien
“This film is like a good blues number: it grooves and conveys heavy content in the process”
“You need a bit of patience at the beginning, but the film really picks up after about 15 minutes. It is interesting that this works. Very exciting!”
Mathias Forberg - Producer
“Please bring this film to us in America. This story has never been told.”
“At the beginning, you think it is “just” a musical film, but then a whole world opens up.”
Nina Kusturica – Producer and Director