WE NEED YOUR HELP TO COMPLETE THIS PROJECT.
To donate by credit card, click the link below. To donate by check: Please make your donation payable to the “The Center for Independent Documentary” and put “The Banjo Project” in the memo line. Please mail your check to: The Center for Independent Documentary 1300 Soldiers Field Road, Suite #5 Boston, MA 02135.
For the past five years, Marc Fields has been working on an interactive documentary that can best be described as a cultural resource center for the history of the banjo from its African roots to the present, built on the 300+ hrs of video interviews, performances and archival materials he has collected. It will be hosted by the server at Emerson College and will be part of their digital collections. Called The Banjo Project: Stories of America’s Instrument, it has interactive features that allow multiple entry points and approaches to discovering the banjo’s colorful and contested history. Viewers will use the video and audio assets to build narratives based on their own interests, or according to suggested themes and topics. The innovative design will include portals for partnering institutions to exhibit relevant holdings within the context of banjo history.
As part of this project, Marc also made a feature-length TV documentary for PBS (Give Me The Banjo, 2011) which was narrated by Steve Martin. You can learn more about that film here.
Marc Fields is a writer/producer/director of arts and cultural documentaries and the winner of five Mid-Atlantic regional Emmys for his work on PBS. His 90-minute music history Give Me the Banjo (narrated by Steve Martin, featuring Pete Seeger, Earl Scruggs, Bela Fleck and Rhiannon Giddens) had its national PBS premiere in November 2011. Previously, he wrote the scripts for two episodes of the Emmy-winning six-part PBS series, Broadway: The American Musical. His one-hour documentary Willie the Lion, about jazz legend Willie the Lion Smith, (narrated by Joe Morton, with Amiri Baraka, Artie Shaw, Dick Hyman and Dr. Billy Taylor) aired on PBS and was shown at the Smithsonian. His production credits include four years as a Series Producer for State of the Arts, a weekly arts magazine on New Jersey Public Broadcasting, for whom he produced over eighty shows and five arts specials. He is the co-author of the award-winning biography/theater history From the Bowery to Broadway: Lew Fields and the Roots of American Popular Theater, (Oxford University Press, 1993), and is a frequent consultant for programs about American popular culture. Funders for his documentary programs include the Southern Humanities Media Fund, N.Y Council for the Humanities, Mass Humanities, N.J. Council for the Arts, The Tides Foundation, the Popular Culture Association and New England Foundation for the Arts. Currently, he teaches documentary production and screenwriting at Emerson College (Boston, MA) and is the Graduate Program Director for the MFA in Film and Media Arts. He previously taught screenwriting and production at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, the New School and at Concord Academy. He is nearing completion on The Banjo Project: Stories of America’s Instrument, a digital interactive museum for the history of America’s quintessential instrument from its African roots to the present.
A.B. Princeton University, Summa Cum Laude
M.F.A. New York University, with honors
Marc's temporary website: http://banjo.emerson.edu/demo/ [work in progress]