SF State News {University Communications}

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Homegrown documentary airs on PBS

Sept. 16, 2010 -- A documentary film produced by the campus-based DOC Film Institute will air on PBS's "American Masters" Sept. 20. "Cachao: Uno Más," documents the life and work of the Afro-Cuban music innovator, Israel "Cachao" Lopez.

Movie poster with picture of Cachao and the names of the artists and producers of the film.

A bassist and classical music prodigy, Cachao is credited with inventing the Mambo. The celebrated musical innovator and multiple Grammy-winner died in 2008 at the age of 89.

"You can put him right next to Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, Charles Mingus and Charlie Parker," said actor and Cachao fan Andy Garcia in an "American Masters" press release. "That's the lexicon of names he's up there with."

The filmmaking began in 2005 when the University-based International Center for the Arts (ICA) presented a Lifetime Achievement Award to Cachao. The DOC Film Institute, a project of the ICA, documented the occasion and several live performances that Cachao gave in San Francisco. Screened at several prestigious film festivals, the 68-minute film was expanded to 82 minutes for airing on "American Masters". 

"Our biggest challenge in making the film longer was to keep a balance between the music and the biographical details," said SF State alum and co-producer, Anay Tarnekar, who edited the film on campus. "In the longer version we were given the opportunity to add some rare, archival footage from Cuba which helped us create a richer picture of Cachao's childhood in his native country." The "American Masters" version also includes interviews with Garcia, who narrates the film, as well as Cuban musicians Arturo Sandoval and Gloria and Emilio Estafan, who talk about Cachao's contributions to Afro-Cuban music.

Directed by artist and cinematographer Dikayl Rimmasch, "Cachao: Uno Más" was produced by Garcia, DOC Film Institute curator Tom Luddy and former Cinema Department Chair Stephen Ujlaki. It was co-produced by Tarnekar. SF State alums George and Judith Marcus, Mary Jane Marcus and President Robert A. Corrigan were executive producers of the film.

The ICA was created with a $3 million gift from George and Judith Marcus, who wanted to recognize SF State's accomplishments in the arts and challenge the University to reach the next level of excellence and innovation. "Cachao: Uno Más " can be viewed locally on KQED television on Monday, Sept. 20 at 10 p.m.

-- Denize Springer


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