Monday, September 21, 2009

"Chops," jazz documentary, to be released

Virgil Films & Entertainment announces the innovative release of the acclaimed documentary, CHOPS, directed by Bruce Broder, which follows T.J., Owen and other high school jazz students from around the country as they prepare for and perform in Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival. In partnership with B-Side Entertainment and Jazz at Lincoln Center, the film is being offered nationwide as a resource to bring awareness to the importance of arts education, as a fundraising tool for school arts and music programs and as an educational platform for teachers. CHOPS will be screened at schools and theaters this fall leading up to and through the DVD street date of October 6th. A special educational edition complete with lesson plans will be made available later in the year.

CHOPS made its debut at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival and garnered huge accolades for its entertaining storytelling and inspirational message. At film festivals around the country it won numerous awards, including the International Documentary Association’s Alan Ett Music Documentary Award, several Audience Favorite Awards and two Grand Prizes.

Featuring the music of Duke Ellington, arguably America’s greatest composer, the documentary profiles the relentless dedication and teamwork of young aspiring jazz musicians and their unwavering love of music. As they travel to New York City to compete in what has been called the “Superbowl of high school jazz band competitions,” this group—made up of kids from all walks of life—makes the most of their differences and comes to embrace the commitment it takes to be the best. They work together, set goals together and push each other to realize a dream.

In an effort to bolster enthusiasm for arts and music programs in schools, Virgil and B-Side, in association with Jazz at Lincoln Center, have launched a nationwide screening program. Educators are encouraged to book their own screenings of CHOPS in their school as a way to fundraise for arts education programs. As a part of this unique program, screening hosts may charge whatever admission they like and keep 100% of the proceeds.

“I am convinced that by watching this film [CHOPS]…my students will gain a new level of excitement and motivation to improve individually and as an ensemble,” said Dr. Bill Pace, Band Director, Xavier High School, New York City.

CHOPS has already screened at Frederick P. Rose Hall, home of Jazz at Lincoln Center, and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. as a part of the celebrations of Jazz Appreciation Month and Duke Ellington’s 110th birthday. Virgil and B-Side will continue sharing the film at jazz festivals, community theaters, and musical instrument and sheet music retailers across the country

Wynton Marsalis, Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center, said of CHOPS, “This film is so well made, a labor of love…” while Andre Cole of BET wrote, "I really think younger audiences need to see this movie to appreciate jazz.” Andrea Mineo of CNN raved about the film, saying it “…made me laugh, made me tear up, made me feel great. It was fantastic.”

“CHOPS fits into that category of film that gets me excited,” added Joe Amodei, President of Virgil Films & Entertainment. “When we can release a product that entertains and inspires at the same time, we have reached our goal. This film achieves both in a very big way.”

CHOPS is a Bruce Broder film, in association with Winnercomm, Inc. with thanks to Jazz at Lincoln Center. The executive producer is Tim Cremin and the producers are Chip Rives, Joe Carmody, and Warren Skeels. The editor is Jake Pushinsky.

For more information about CHOPS, visit

Virgil Films & Entertainment
Street Date: October 6, 2009
SRP $ 24.95
Run Time: 89 min
UPC code: (8) 29567 0629-2 (0)
Catalog: 67029
Bonus features on the DVD include: the original trailer; an interview with Wynton Marsalis, Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center; extended scenes from Jazz at Lincoln Center clinician Ronald Carter’s jazz workshop

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