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The Filmmakers

photo of the filmmakers
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Director of Photography Bruce Petschek, his son Jules, Pete Seeger, and The Banjo Project Producer, Marc Fields Taj Mahal with (left to right) camera operator Lynn Weinstein, producer Marc Fields and director of photography Bruce Petschek, after an interview and performance at the home of Jim Bollman
The Banjo Project team with Alison Brown, in the studios of Compass Records
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Seated: Earl Scruggs, Bela Fleck and Tony Trischka. Standing: Marc Fields, Richard Battaglia, Bruce Petschek and Robert Battaglia

MARC FIELDS—PROJECT DIRECTOR/WRITER/PRODUCER

Marc Fields is a five-time Emmy winner whose public television documentaries on the arts and humanities have been funded by the CPB, the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, the New Jersey Council on the Arts, the New York Council for the Humanities, and the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities. His most recent documentary is Willie the Lion, a one-hour musical biography of jazz piano legend Willie “the Lion” Smith, featuring Artie Shaw, Dr. Billy Taylor, Dick Hyman and narrated by Joe Morton. Willie the Lion aired on over 50 PBS stations nationwide; it received a regional Emmy for Outstanding Cultural Program and a CINE Golden Eagle, and it was screened at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in April 2002. Willie the Lion is available on DVD from Shanachie Entertainment. Previously, Marc was Series Producer for State of the Arts, a weekly arts magazine produced by New Jersey Public Television, for whom he produced over 80 shows.

He is the co-author of the biography/theater history From the Bowery to Broadway: Lew Fields and the Roots of American Popular Theater, with a foreword by Helen Hayes (Oxford University Press, 1993). From the Bowery to Broadway won the first Kurt Weill Prize, an award recognizing "distinguished scholarship in the field of 20th century musical theater and opera." Because of his expertise on this subject, he has been a consultant for the National Portrait Gallery exhibit Red, Hot and Blue: A Smithsonian Salute to the Musical and for the PBS American Masters program, “Vaudeville USA.” He is the writer for two episodes of the six-part PBS series, Broadway: The American Musical produced by WNET/Thirteen, nationally broadcast in October 2004. In 2005, Broadway: The American Musical received a primetime Emmy for Outstanding Nonfiction Series.

Tony TrischkaTONY TRISCHKA—MUSIC DIRECTOR

Banjo virtuoso TONY TRISCHKA is widely regarded as one of the most innovative and accomplished instrumentalists on the scene today. To date, he has recorded seventeen albums under his name, featuring such folks as Earl Scruggs, Pete Seeger, Steve Martin, David Grisman, Bela Fleck, Jerry Douglas, William S. Burroughs, Alison Krauss, members of REM, Charles Osgood and the Turtle Island String Quartet. Trischka’s World Turning CD (Rounder, 1994) traced the banjo’s evolution from Africa to contemporary jazz and crossover, and was an inspiration for The Banjo Project. His radio appearances have included A Prairie Home Companion, Mountain Stage, and Weekend Edition; for television he recently performed on the Ellen DeGeneris show and Late Night with David Letterman. Tony’s 2007 Double Banjo Bluegrass Spectacular was nominated for a Grammy and won three IBMA awards including Instrumental Performer of the Year. His new CD, Territory, was released in Spring 2008 by Smithsonian Folkways.

In an interview with Marc Fields, Tony's former student Bela Fleck said, “You think about somebody like Miles Davis or John Coltrane, people who learned everything about jazz and then digested it and it came out a new way. I think Tony's very similar; he's that kind of figure in the banjo world…”

The Banjo savors strongly of the plantations through which the back streets of New York City run.

~ Joel Chandler Harris, 1883