Last Sunday, Mongolian rock reached homes around the United States (and beyond) when the PBS NewsHour broadcast a short piece based on Live From UB. If you missed the broadcast, you can see the full piece here!
I’m thrilled to announce that Live From UB has been awarded a very generous grant from The Pittsburgh Foundation. This funding will go far in supporting the last legs of post-production and distribution for Live From UB. It is an honor to be trusted with such fantastic funding and a real vote of confidence for this project.
Now, an update on the status of Live From UB.
I just finished the film’s third edit. About a month ago, story editor Fernanda Rossi joined the long list of contributors to Live From UB. Over the course of two days, we worked on the film, tearing it apart and putting it back together. As a result, Live From UB is very near completion.
For those of you in the Pittsburgh area, I will be presenting clips from the film on at the Pittsburgh Filmmakers Doc Salon this Friday (April 25) at 7:00. Come at 6:30 for refreshments (477 Melwood Ave, Pittsburgh, PA).
I’ve been editing pretty solidly for the last month and finally, my heaps of footage are turning into something that resembles a documentary film. I brought on a co-editor, Isabelle Strollo (who was amazing!), to help form the story and mold my material into something manageable.
Ahead of applying for additional grant funding, I screened the rough cut of LIVE FROM UB last week. I asked a select group of trusted friends and colleagues to highlight the weak parts, comment on what they enjoyed and what could be cut, and give general feedback on the film.
This experience was much more emotionally involved than I had ever expected. Sitting in a screening room with people who have only heard me talk about the project and subject matter in spurts and showing them a product that I know is still incomplete, I felt utterly vulnerable. I care deeply about this project and am really invested in it’s success. Because of that, however, I want it to be the best it can, and I know that I will need to swallow my pride and take criticism to make that happen. Despite feeling utterly exposed, the screening was a success. I got some great feedback and will now be able to take that into consideration as I work on the second draft.
While it’s clear that I still have some work to do, it was great to hear initial reactions to a subject in which I have become so intimately involved. One of the questions I asked people was “What did you learn?”
“I learned elements of Mongolia’s history and the connection between music and social change that manifested in the culture.”
“I learned so much about the effect of music in a global context and more about Mongolia than I’ve ever known or wanted to – which is a good thing.”
I also asked people to write five words that describe the film. Here are some of those words:
Unique | Optimistic | Intriguing | Truthful | Curious | Well-Done | Thoughtful
Beautiful | Considerate | Pretty | Funny | Encompassing | Informative | Impressive
Educational | Inquisitive | Humorous | Colorful | Positive | Eye-opening | Insightful
Human | Scenic | Compassion | Art | Underdog story | Travel | Adventure | Historical
Not your typical story | No ego | Band with passion | Care for Identity | Transformative
Revolution | Noble | Giant Killer
All in all, I’m pretty happy with the overall reaction. I’m glad to know that Mongolian rock and national identity are subjects that have potential to reach a broader audience. Now, I just need to refine the edit to make sure that happens.
Here’s another exclusive clip from the upcoming documentary! In this clip, several veteran Mongolian rockers and rock fans discuss the importance of The Beatles on Mongolian youth at a time when the West was out of reach. What seems at first like an odd monument to The Beatles in the heart of Ulaanbaatar, is actually a unique way to remember that special period of Mongolian history.
Last May, I gave a TEDx Talk at Greater Johnstown High School outside of Pittsburgh and now you can see it! It covers a brief history of Mongolian rock music and how the genre has played a role in shaping the new Mongolia.
Well, I’m in the throngs of editing “Live From UB”. The sad truth about editing nearly a hundred hours of footage down to less than 2 is that a lot of material just won’t make the cut.
With that in mind, I’ll be posting clips that may or may not be in the final piece throughout the editing process.
Here are two from a day I spent at Amarbayasgalant Monastery with the band Mohanik as they recorded their album.
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!
Thanks to all of you who contributed to LIVE FROM UB’s Indiegogo Fundraising campaign! Your support will make the post-production of this documentary possible!
As they say on Marketplace, let’s do the numbers…
Fundraising Goal: $7500
Total Raised: $9389
Number of Contributors: 169
The money raised from this campaign will go toward hiring translators, assistant editors, colorists, sound designers, graphic designers and more!
This project has been made possible by the kindness of strangers from the very beginning. The generosity of sharing time and information new Mongolian friends and foreigners interested in Mongolia carried me through the research and filming phases. It means a lot to know that there is still a community invested in getting the word out about Mongolian rock!
So, Stay Tuned…
I have one week to go in my Indiegogo Campaign to raise finishing funds for LIVE FROM UB – the upcoming documentary film about rock in urban Mongolia!
I reached my goal of $7500 a couple weeks ago which was HUGE! But every additional dollar will help make the finished product that much better, and give it the boost it needs to reach a larger audience.
For those of you who have already joined the LIVE FROM UB team as a supporter, THANK YOU!
I’m asking everyone who believes in this project to help me make this last week count. Please share it via whatever social (media) means you prefer!
Thanks for helping turn this into a reality!
Go HERE to help!
We did it! Thanks to everyone who so generously contributed to the Indiegogo campaign for LIVE FROM UB.
Your support has been overwhelming and truly inspiring. As of now 136 of you contributed a total of $7,578 ($78 more than my goal) with 20 days still left in the campaign!
But it’s not over yet.
We have 20 more days to make this an even bigger success than it already is. Please continue to spread the word about this exciting project. The more people this campaign reaches, the BETTER!
And thanks again!
The Colors are one of Ulaanbaatar’s youngest and more promising bands. Though they’re still in high school, the group of 5 boys seems to eat and breathe rock music.
Last summer, they were on the line-up at Rock Naadam, the annual rock show associated with the traditional Naadam Festival which takes place between July 11 and 13. I recorded their performance along with the other bands.