Commissioned by Duke Performances, New Work for Goldberg Variations is the brainchild of pianist Simone Dinnerstein and choreographer Pam Tanowitz. The two have fashioned something fresh and vital from Bach’s storied piece for solo piano. Integrating footage from the world premiere on October 6 and 7, 2017, as well as rehearsals from the week before and interviews with the artists and producers, this short film explores both artists’ respective creative process, and how they complemented one another to bring this project to life. Read more about the project at its website and reviews in The New York Times and The New Yorker.

Festival tells the story of three music events—the electronic music festival Moogfest; the jazz, R&B and hip-hop-infused Art of Cool; and the traditional African American Bimbé—that took place in Durham, N.C., in May 2016. In this fast-revitalizing (some would say “gentrifying” or even “homogenizing”) midsized city, this short documentary offers audiences an opportunity to reflect on the churn of past, present, and conflicting visions of the future. Watch the film and read a related article at Public Books.


The Big Ears Film

A quiet film about sound

A river of sonic exploration through The Big Ears Festival in Knoxville, Tennessee, this atmospheric film combines eclectic performances with visions of the city and intimate musings from audience and musicians.

Nothing is fixed—musical genres fall away, judgments are destabilized, acoustic and digital intertwine, performers and audience blend.

Knoxville cradles the flow.

Nazoranai: A Documentary

“I just want to hear things I've never heard before.”

In March 2014, the improvisational sound trio Nazoranai came together for their U.S. premiere, at the Big Ears festival in Knoxville, T.N. Nazoranai: A Documentary goes behind the scenes, spending time with members Stephen O’Malley, Oren Ambarchi, and Keiji Haino.

The Education of Ida Owens

A story of integration, civil rights, and Duke University

This 30-minute documentary follows Ida Owens from her upbringing in rural North Carolina to her years at Duke University, where she became the first African-American woman to receive a Ph.D.

A personal exploration of Southern history, higher education, and the civil rights movement, The Education of Idea Owens brings to the forefront the past and its lingering effects.

Big, Bent Ears

A serial in documentary uncertainty

A 10-part series for The Paris Review—the famed New York literary journal’s first foray into multimedia—Big, Bent Ears combines writing, video, audio and photography.

“a unique and beautifully designed combination of critical literary writing, documentary filmmaking, and event review–seems like a great reason for the Internet to exist. If this is the future of ‘content,’ then…YES!” — Best Music Journalism: March 2015, Red Bull Music Academy

Leaving Traces

Eight (or so) ways of looking at a baseball game

In 2013, a team of artists converged on the stadium of the legendary minor league team The Durham Bulls to document the home season. None had a specific assignment.

Leaving Traces chronicles their efforts. Features work by photographers Alex Harris, Frank Hunter, Kate Joyce, Leah Sobsey, Alec Soth, Hank Willis Thomas, Hiroshi Watanabe, and Jeff Whetstone, and writer Adam Sobsey.