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Anita O’Day: The Life of a Jazz Singer (USA 2007), the astonishing story of a musical genius, featuring interviews and legendary filmed performances with the greatest jazz artists of the day, will open at SFFS Screen at the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas on Friday, September 26.

Anita O’Day was one of the greatest American jazz singers, and this is her astonishing story—a journey of survival, and above all the endurance of her talent, told in a number of frank interviews with O’Day and with those who knew her. O’Day’s career was long and eventful, spanning seven decades, her last album recorded when she was 84. The film showcases performances with such artists as Gene Krupa, Roy Eldridge, Stan Kenton, Louis Armstrong and Hoagy Carmichael. Also included is footage of O’Day’s legendary performance at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival, singing “Sweet Georgia Brown.” Entering a field that was dominated by African Americans, O’Day, because of her musical genius and pioneering artistry, earned the respect of the most hardcore jazz aficionados. She was commonly regarded as one of the top female artists of her time, together with Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Billie Holiday. Calling this a “fast-paced, enthralling film,” Stephen Holden writes in the New York Times, “O’Day, who died two years ago at 87, invented a cool, dry jazz singing style that influenced many. . . . It was all about rhythm, improvisation and hip attitude. What repeatedly comes to mind when people invoke Ms. O’Day is her feral, instinctive drive for freedom, both artistic and personal.” Directed, written, photographed and edited by Robbie Cavolina and Ian McCrudden. With Anita O’Day, Buddy Bregman, Johnny Mandel, Annie Ross, Billy Taylor. (92 min) Distributed by Élan Entertainment. One of the filmmakers is expected to attend the screenings on Friday and Saturday night.

At the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas all seats are reserved and an amenities fee is in effect for most shows. Tickets will be available through the Sundance Kabuki box office, at kiosks in the lobby and online at www.sundancecinemas.com with print-at-home capability. San Francisco Film Society members will receive discounted admission to SFFS Screen programs at the box office only (not online or at the lobby kiosks). More info at www.sffs.org.

Official Website: http://www.sffs.org

Added by cinesoul on September 23, 2008