Under African Skies - Trailer
The Critically-Acclaimed Documentary -- Nominated for Three Emmy Awards.
Paul Simon’s milestone album, Graceland, is considered by many to be one of the most important albums of all time, both for its musical mastery and innovative sound, and for the foundational way it brought together the music of two very different cultures. The album elevated global awareness of South African music and politics, and created a watershed moment in musical fusion. It has even been suggested that the global attention that Graceland brought to the culture helped usher in the end of Apartheid.
In honor of Graceland’s 25th Anniversary, radical.media, A&E IndieFilms and Sony Music Entertainment have teamed up to produce a feature documentary film celebrating the album. The story of the film, told by Paul himself, re-traces the incredible journey of the history and evolution of the Graceland album as well as the cultural and political climate of South Africa during that time. We follow Paul in the present day on his current tour, and travel with him to South Africa to revisit the people, places, and music that first inspired him.
As such an integral part of South Africans’ cultural identity, the music is indivisible from the politics of the era. By speaking to anti-apartheid activists, ANC representatives, religious figures, exiled citizens, the incumbent government of the era and other key participants, insight is gained into the complex politics of that time, the conflicting views on the apartheid, and the role that global and native musicians played in that battle.
The narrative threads of the present and past are artfully interwoven to create a story that is at once informative, historical, personal, and emotional. To see these musicians living freely in a South Africa that once oppressed them is inspiring as well. Through interviews with the original musicians, high-profile scholars, humanitarians, political figures, and celebrities, the film also reflects on what the album means, 25 years later.
Partly a portrait of an icon, partly a musical exploration and reminiscence, this documentary allows viewers to get to know Paul Simon in an intimate way, and shows how a series of synchronicities came together to create the album that won the Grammy award for “Best Album of the Year.
The film is directed by Joe Berlinger, an award-winning filmmaker whose films include the celebrated documentaries Brother’s Keeper, Paradise Lost, and Metallica: Some Kind of Monster, and 5 seasons of the critically acclaimed series Iconoclasts.