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Director Eliane Henri talks about why her Roy Hargrove documentary is so important for Dallas

DALLAS (KDAF) — The late Roy Hargrove was one of this generation’s best trumpet players in jazz and beyond.

The new documentary Hargrove takes us on a journey of his career bridging mainstream jazz to hip-hop and R&B.

Fun on the Run Host Yolonda Williams caught up with director Eliane Henri at the Dallas International Film Festival and talked about why this documentary is so important for Dallas.

Here is their full interview:

I want to know how the whole idea come about to document Roy’s life.

Roy and I have been friends for 28 years at the time of his death. In the summer of 2016, I asked him if I could do the documentary about his life. I knew that he was one of our greats, and he also happened to be a really good friend. So, it almost felt like it was my duty to do it because I have such close proximity.

This is a full circle moment you being right here and Booker T. I went to school here This is our home. A lot of people’s lives changed because of Booker T. and Roy was one of them. This was home for him.

I know that his time here was just such a rich and beautiful and encouraging time in his life. I mean, honestly, after doing the documentary, completing the documentary, and having interviewed so many people from so many different stages of Roy’s life, I really have to say that his time here at Booker T. Washington, was one of the most pure and special enriched times in his life. The student body here, Roy’s friends, and teachers and the community here, already knew how great he was.

This was the first African American High School, and it was actually turned into a high school for performing and visual arts. So it has a lot of historic value in me for a lot of people. I’m rocking this Oak Cliff t-shirt because Roy was from Oak Cliff and I’m from Oak Cliff too. There are a lot of people who’re going to see this film. There are a lot of references that he makes to Texas being in Texas.

This was Roy’s home. He was such a Texan. Then Erykah Badu, our executive producer, also went to school here at Booker T. Washington, and they met at Booker T. Washington. So, in many ways, even though we started shooting in 2018, the film was 28 years in the making.

There are many different things that people can take away from the film. The film has many layers and a lot of depth to it. But it’s also about a lot of really universal life themes like love and art and death and friendship.

Tell me do you think you would have been able to reach your audience as you have without the help of Erykah Badu?

As an unknown first-time filmmaker, it’s really really hard to get your film attention and seen. It’s a really competitive field. It is very helpful that Erykah is my executive producer. It’s also helpful that I have icons like Herbie Hancock, Marsalis and Mos Def. You must love all of those people in the film because even though Roy’s story on its own should be able to get the kind of attention he deserves. It’s not just gratuitous, there are all these people who were really influenced by Roy. I say Roy is your favorite musician’s favorite musician. A lot of maybe the masses don’t know who he is, but they know Erykah and Herbie and Mos Def.

We were talking about the influence of Bernard Wright. Bernard recently passed away this past spring. There is a song that Bernard actually wrote.

We don’t have the album version in the movie, but we have a version that they played live. Just a little piece of that song. It’s in the film when we go into talking about that whole era.


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