A CONCERTO IS A CONVERSATION has been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Subject at the 93rd Academy Awards. The film follows virtuoso jazz pianist and film composer Kris Bowers as he tracks his family’s lineage through his 91-year-old grandfather from Jim Crow Florida to the Walt Disney Concert Hall. It is directed by Emmy-winning filmmaker Ben Proudfoot and Emmy-winning composer Kris Bowers (Green Book, When They See Us, Bridgerton ). It is executive produced by Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning filmmaker Ava DuVernay.
The film is now streaming on the New York Times Op-Docs.
Kris Bowers is one of Hollywood’s rising young composers. At 29, he scored the Oscar-winning film “Green Book” (2018), and this past year he premiered a new violin concerto, “For a Younger Self,” at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. For all that success, though, he says that as a Black composer, “I’ve been wondering whether or not I’m supposed to be in the spaces that I’m in.”
Ben Proudfoot and Kris Bowers trace the process of breaking into new spaces through generations of sacrifice that came before him, focusing on the story of his grandfather Horace Bowers. As a young man, he left his home in the Jim Crow South, eventually ending up in Los Angeles. Encountering discrimination at every turn, he and his wife, Alice, nevertheless made a life as business owners. Today, their legacy lives on through their family and community in South Los Angeles, where a stretch of Central Avenue was recently designated Bowers Retail Square — in case any question remained about whether it’s a place they belong.
About the Film:
The new short subject documentary A CONCERTO IS A CONVERSATION tells the story of virtuoso jazz pianist and film composer Kris Bowers as he tracks his family’s lineage through his 91-year-old grandfather from Jim Crow Florida to the Walt Disney Concert Hall.
Directed by Emmy-winning filmmaker and entrepreneur Ben Proudfoot and Emmy-winning composer Kris Bowers (“Green Book”, “When They See Us,” “Bridgerton”), and executive produced by Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning filmmaker Ava DuVernay, A CONCERTO IS A CONVERSATION had its festival debut at the all-virtual 2021 Sundance Film Festival. The film is currently streaming at nytimes.com. The film was produced by Proudfoot’s Los Feliz based Breakwater Studios