Billionaire makes jazz flicks his way

armstrong-boldenIf Forbes magazine named you one of the 400 richest Americans (estimated worth: $1.9 billion in 2008), what would you do with that money? If you’re billionaire Daniel Pritzker, you make a silent movie about a jazz artist.

According to Variety, the first-time director wrapped a year-long shoot on a pair of flicks, with Louis being a silent film about the youth of legendary trumpeter and singer Louis Armstrong (complete with title cards) and Bolden detailing the life of cornetist Buddy Bolden whom some are saying “invented” jazz music but of whom no recordings exist (yet).

One of the quotes from the article I find the most fascinating is this one:

“I’m in the extremely fortunate position to be able to do this my way,” Pritzker said. “No studio was going to do this, especially now with what’s going on in the economy. Even if this dream dies with me right here, I’m sure happier having my money into these two films than having given the money to Bernie Madoff.”

And while I’m tempted to jump on Variety writer Michael Fleming’s wagon and wonder why a rich white Jewish son of hotel magnates is making films about influential black jazz musicians, when I learned that Pritzker is a musician, too, it started made sense. I mean, how else would he have been able to get jazz artist Wynton Marsalis to not only compose a lot of the music for Bolden but to also be a producer for it as well if he wasn’t able to explain his love for the art form?

No word on if/when/how these flicks will find distribution but if Pritzker’s as ballsy as this article is making him sound, he’ll probably finance the distribution himself. And if that means more money flowing into indie movie theaters across the nation, Pritzker can do whatever he likes with his money.

Posted on March 18, 2009 at 06:05 by Trisha Lynn · Permalink
In: Around the Intertubes · Tagged with: , , ,