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Dennis Redmont and the filmaker Hugo Berkeley

Ambassador Eisenberg delivers his remarks

Networking before the screening

Group photo at Villa Taverna, the residence of the US Ambassador to Italy, where the screening took place

2018 - The Jazz Ambassadors

On Wednesday March 28, 2018 the Young Leaders Alums of the Council gathered in Rome for a special occasion: an exclusive screening of “The Jazz Ambassadors”, a documentary written and directed by Peabody-award winning and Council’s Young Leaders Alumnus, Hugo Berkeley (YLC Ann Arbor 2005).

Hugo gave to Young Leaders Alums a preview of the film. Its official world premiere will be at the 21st Annual Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durham, NC on April 8, and it will go out nationally across the US on PBS on May 4, then on BBC and Arte.

The event was held in a prestigious location: the theater of Villa Taverna, the residence of the American Ambassador to Italy. Both Ambassador Lewis Eisenberg and Hugo Berkeley participated in the event, together with about 50 guests.

Told through remarkable film and photographic archives (eight years in preparation), and featuring iconic music performances throughout, “The Jazz Ambassadors” tells the story of great jazz musicians thrust into global politics at one of the most combustible moments in 20th Century history.
In 1956, America announced a new Cold War weapon to combat the USSR; jazz musicians like Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie and Dave Brubeck, along with their racially-integrated band, would cross the globe to counter negative Soviet propaganda about racial inequality in America. But the unfolding Civil Rights movement back home forced these cultural ambassadors into a moral bind; how could they promote a tolerant image of America abroad when equality remained an unrealized dream? This is the story of how jazz musicians fought back, winning Civil Rights a voice on the world stage when it needed one most.