Music and Film, Two Powerful Mediums – Combined, What Can They Achieve?
Posted by Ebony Butler
Music and Film. They can achieve almost anything. They can bring about world-wide unity, create harmony, promote cross culture and cross border compassion, understanding, peace and care! They can both ignite social action, they can mobilize people all over the world with love, insight and empathy… and every other ingredient necessary for a better world… ‘for you and for me and the entire human race’. (R.I.P Michael Jackson)
I truly believe that the power of music can create positive social change throughout the world. Music being the universal language means that it is one thing that we are all bound together by…. People unite when it comes to music and I hope to see music (and film) being used on a much larger scale than it already is, to bring about social and political change, and to create a better world for all. The same goes for film my friends and fellow film lovers! – Now on a more personal note:
I have just got off the phone to L.A, where I spoke with the amazing Mr. Billy Griffin, Soul King of America… Billy Griffin (born in Baltimore, Maryland)is an American singer and songwriter. He is best known for replacing Smokey Robinson as lead singer of The Miracles in 1972. Griffin has written songs and sung backing vocals for Aretha Franklin, The O’Jays, Ronald Isley, Freda Payne, Edwin Starr, Evelyn Champagne King, Herb Alpert, Martine McCutcheon, The Emotions and many others. Billy has had so many more wonderful achievements in the world of music and was honored with the other Miracles, when the group received a Star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame on March 20, 2009.
Billy Griffin found me through my human rights activism and awareness campaigns, which I am able to conveniently execute through my film production company, Atlantic Star Productions. Billy has been following my work in Africa for quite some time now. It was a year or so ago when he wrote to me and said, ‘Ebony, one day, we should work on something together.’
For the past two and a half years I have been working tirelessly on a documentary about the LRA conflict in East Africa and the child soldiers and other victims of war in Northern Uganda, entitled Child Troopers. In 2010, I set-up a not for profit organization Bikes 4 Life, raising bicycles for neglected, impoverished and isolated victims of war. Billy’s desire to get involved with me on a humanitarian project has never slipped my mind. We have kept in touch over the internet and planned to meet one day. However, until this afternoon, I had never actually spoken to him. (I had tried but he is harder to get a hold of than me!) So I called again today, and I actually got through!
It was great to hear his cool mellow voice, and even better than his voice was when I asked him to guess who it was on the phone. He was like …’EBONY from AUSTRALIA!’. (I did however hint that we had never spoken on the hone before – but still, he got it straight away!)
Lately I’ve been writing to Billy quite frequently, as my film is getting closer to completion, or at least it feels like it is! I am heading to America next month to meet my new co- producer in Hollywood, Alec Pedersen. Alec was involved with the 2009 Academy Award winning documentary film ‘The Cove’ and not only does he bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the project, he he also brings much credibility. During my trip I had also been planning to meet with Billy Griffin while in Los Angeles, to talk about what we would work on together. It was only a few weeks ago when I was looking back on a photograph of Stevie Wonder and Billy Griffin together, (Billy and Stevie are very close friends) that I had a revelation.. I had seen the photo before and loved it, but this time it really got my brain ticking… A few days earlier I had also discovered that Stevie Wonder was awarded the UN (United Nations) Messenger for Peace in 2009.
I had it. I had a brilliant idea, and I knew if I could somehow get it off the ground, that it would have wings, it would fly… it would be absolutely amazing. I told Billy straight away what I was thinking. I basically asked him if he would consider getting together with Stevie Wonder to write a song for the soundtrack in my documentary film, Child Troopers… a song to represent peace, a song to bring about change, a song to end the suffering of the world’s children… Music for Change. Movies that Matter. Music and Movies that Make a Difference!!!
We conversed back and forth and as it currently stands, I may be pitching the idea to Stevie Wonder myself when I am in LA next month! How I wish I had a team of people helping me on this project. Billy stressed the importance of creating media buzz and hype around the project and assured me that there would be no reason Stevie Wonder or any other musician of his caliber wouldn’t get involved! Billy Griffin was so far in. One down and one to go. Now I am after Mr. Wonder. That’s a challenge and half. But boy, do I love a challenge!!
Dear supporters, fellow music lovers and film fanatics, filmmakers and friends alike, I ask you to please help me with some ideas to create buzz in the States (and Oz), all the way from Melbourne Australia. Let’s get Stevie Wonder doing the soundtrack for an Australian production, let’s get these soul kings to help make the world a better place, by making a song that is sung in all corners of the globe, that is a message of peace, a message of hope…! A message to end world wars and to ensure we make it top priority of all political agenda’s to protect our women and children.
I will do my best to achieve these wild, but nevertheless attainable dreams for the very women and children who I dedicate this work to. However, even if it doesn’t come to fruition this time around, I will continue to put my heart and soul into making this film, and attempt to reach out to the masses, to protect the innocent civilians caught up in brutal conflicts throughout the world and to help in the campaign to bring an end to the use of children in war.
Film is a superior medium, music some say, is equal in greatness. However all things united, just like people united, are the most powerful of all. Therefore, when film and music are also united, what results is an integrated medium of the most greatest possible force, infinitely capable of creating significant social, political, economic and environmental change, capable of bringing about peace to the world, love to the planet and justice to all… And right now, such changes are needed most!
I welcome all your thoughts on this project… Thank you!
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About Ebony ButlerI'm a Melbourne based filmmaker and human rights activist with a passion for creating films that educate and that have the potential to inspire social and political change.
Posted on May 23, 2011, in Media, News, Notes and tagged Academy Award, Aretha Franklin, atlantic star productions, bikes4life, Billy Griffin, cause, change, child soldiers, child troopers, conflict, dancing through the pain, documentary, ebony butler, Edwin Starr, film, Freda Payne, hollywood, Hollywood Walk Of Fame, human rights, Indigenous People, injustice, justice, Los Angeles, love, Martine McCutcheon, michael jackson, miracles, Music, peace, people, poverty, protection, Ronald Isley, security, Smokey Robinson, social issues, social media, soul, Stevie Wonder, StevieWonder, terrorist, United States, war, world peace. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.