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Excerpts from “Passion” plus Janusz Stefanski & Co October 23rd, 2009


YARDBIRD SUITE in Edmonton features scenes from ‘PASSION’


Scenes from “Passion” will screen in conjunction with a concert performed by The Polish International Jazz Group which includes two of the original players of the Zbigniew Seifert Quartet: Janusz Stefanski and Jan Jarczyk.


If you attended this show, thank you for coming!  As you may know this project is a labor of love and has been funded 100% by donations.  Our last shoot is this November at the Seifert Festival in Krakow.  Next, we will be moving into the final editing phase once we secure funds — we are so close to the finish line!  You can be a part of this project by donating now.  Click on the link above. Thank you again for your support!  This film cannot happen without you.

This movie serves multiple purposes:  to bring the music and story of Seifert to a modern audience and to help push the process of re-mastering Seifert’s music.   Continue to visit this blog for updates on this process…


Erin talks about “Passion” on Polish TV Chicago April 30th, 2009

Interview w/ Polish TV in Chicago before the screening at The Chicago Int\’l Music and Movie Festival

Scenes from “Passion” screen @ Green Town Jazz Festival in Zielona Góra April 30th, 2009

Excerpts from the feature length of “Passion” screened in Zielona Góra on April 25.  Following a concert with Ron Carter (who played in the string section of Seifert’s record, “Passion”) the festival dedicated a day to Seifert.

The screening followed a panel discussion with Agnieszka Seifert-Beck (Zbigniew’s widow) along with Antoni Krupa (author of the recently released book, “Antoni Krupa – Miasto blekitnych nut…” (City of Blue Notes), Aneta Norek (author of the new Seifert biography) and many others…

A violin summit followed featuring Henryk Gembalski, Mateusz Smoczynski, Adam Baldych – violin, Jan Smoczynski – piano, Wojciech Pulcyn – bass, Lukasz Zyta – drums.

Thank you to my editor/production assistant/second camera Erin Greenwell for her endurance on this short weekend trip.  Besides participating in the festival and screening we shot footage throughout the weekend.

Thank you to Jacek Plichta for the best sound recording any director could dream of and for helping us with the hardest most impossible Polish words to pronounce (see video).

Thank you to Magdalena Warejko, director of the first annual Seifert jazz festival in Krakow, for coming to the screening.

Special thanks to Dariusz Machniak for all night Polish subtitling! (see video) and to Jacek Duzynski for his generous hosting! Dziekuje!!

Interview on “Derby City Film Chat” March 26th, 2009

“ARRIVAL/DEPARTURE” this Tuesday, March 31 @ 7PM

MotherLodge Festival, A Live Arts Exchange

Glass Works, 815 W. Market St., Louisville, KY

in partnership w/ The Louisville Film Society

Listen to Erin and Ray Rizzo (director of the festival) interviewed by Cory Aumiller on

“Derby City Film Chat”

PASSION screening SATURDAY MARCH 7 in CHICAGO March 4th, 2009

Don’t miss the CHICAGO PREMIER of PASSION’ SATURDAY, MARCH 7 at the Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington, Cassidy Theatre) @ 1:30 pm.  Tickets are FREE, but you can reserve them at

‘PASSION’ is screening as part of the inaugural Chicago International Music and Movies Festival ( running from March 4 – 8.

‘PASSION’ follows the film, ‘A CRICKET IN THE COURT OF AKBAR.’ (82 min.).  You can watch the trailer here (  Both films will be done by 3:30pm.

Please let me know if you are coming!  Stay posted for a place to gather afterward for cocktails … any suggestions for that area?

See you in Chicago!

A recent quote about ‘PASSION’:

Erin Harper’s film “Passion” is a compelling portrait of not one but two artists: Seifert the master and Brock the disciple. Remarkably, she creates this vivid tribute in a style that can only be described as the cinematic equivalent of jazz. A sophisticated fusion of style and substance that honors her subjects and salutes the art of self-expression. — David Briggs, Sound Editor, “Cadillac Records, ” “Notorious”


Passion in Chicago last yeardefinitely not the west side highway

FROM ‘PASSION’ to ‘ARRIVAL/DEPARTURE’, MARCH 31, Louisville, KY March 3rd, 2009

“PASSION” is expanding — blossoming out of its short form. I’ve been cutting together the feature length, and have come up with a way to make that process even more invigorating.

If you are curious, you can come to its debut “work-in-progress” showing in Louisville KY MARCH 31, 7:00pm @ Glassworks, 815 W. Market Street.  Tickets are $10 or $7 for LFS Members.  It is part of the Motherlodge performance series ( in conjunction with the Louisville Film Society ( And DO go to the Louisville Film Society website.  When will I ever be on a bill w/ Les Blank, Megumi Sasaki, and Jean Cocteau again?!

The new title of the project “ARRIVAL/DEPARTURE” is an improvised dialogue between documentary film and live music performance.  Documentary footage underscored by live music transpires into improvised edited footage responding to the feautured music.  As we shoot new footage throughout the year, each show will incorporate that changing landscape.  So you can come to all of our shows and always see new stuff!

This new screening/preformance will tour in the US and Europe + to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Seifert’s death.  The core of ‘ARRIVAL/DEPARTURE’ explores the trials and tribulations that artists undergo in search of the fulfillment of their vision. The search for music becomes the search for a man, which becomes the search for the self, for a voice, for a legacy.

More exciting things coming up for “ARRIVAL/DEPARTURE” … in Zielona Gora (April 25), Poland and later in Krakow.

Stay tuned!


Why I am making this film… May 28th, 2008

My passion for this subject matter stems from my fascination with jazz and loss: jazz and renewal.

Jazz has been the music accompanying my life for about 15 years, both in my artistic endeavors and in my personal life. Music (especially improvisation) is my greatest inspiration for film. Melody is story. Harmony is texture. Improvisation is character. Rhythm is editing. In all its parts, I like to imagine I’m creating similarly to the way a musician does.

As a dancer with the company Jump Rhythm Jazz Project under the tutelage of Billy Siegenfeld, we danced to rhythmic jazz music — even be-bop. I have always physicalized this music, and I translate that into movement in images. This dance company was in Chicago where I first met jazz violinist Zach Brock. For the following decade I became immersed in the jazz scene in different ways: attending concerts/clubs, co-producing records, booking and tour managing, and shooting footage of musicians at concerts and on the road. I have developed a profound love and appreciation of the music and the musicians who devote their lives to it.

Along that path, with Zach, I discovered the music of Zbigniew Seifert. I was so moved by Seifert’s record, “Solo Violin” — an epic 45 minute solo piece — that it became the soundtrack to my every day. It was the only music I listened to on my ipod for months. Meanwhile, Zach discovered the out-of-print record “Passion” at the Chicago Jazz Record Mart. Intrigued by Seifert’s selection of sidemen: John Scofield, Jack DeJohnette, Eddie Gomez, and Richie Beirach, Zach bought it and put it on. As a jazz violinist, this was a watershed moment for him. He connected to the virtuosity and modern innovations found on this old 1978 LP, and we both connected to the transcendent, visceral force that we could only compare to someone like Coltrane. So the ultimate question presented itself, “WHY are we (especially Zach, being a jazz violinist) not familiar with Zbigniew or his music?” That is where it all began…

We are both on a mission to recover this music which transforms those who have experienced it. This process — traveling all over the world talking to those who knew and played with Zbigniew — is being documented. The unraveling investigation IS the film. Seifert’s music is mostly out of print, and if it doesn’t get re-mastered the magnetic tape will quickly deteriorate.

I am inspired by the writing of Ben Ratliff in his recent book, “Coltrane: the Story of a Sound.” In his introduction he writes, “The rhetoric surrounding jazz is changing. The notion that jazz is the music of the underdog’s liberation, that it is intrinsically radical is not to be found in most serious discussions about jazz today. The best jazz playing today has made room for the notion that this music makes its own meaning without the superimposition of any political or intellectual one, that it will advance by slow degrees, and that it will go around and around in further understanding and refinement of itself, eating its own tail. Structural newness, genre newness, is not necessarily what we are looking for; what we want is the musician’s individual expression: honoring the past while being yourself.” This struck a chord for me — the theme of my movie! ‘PASSION’ contrasts both the historical notion and the modern day evolution of jazz. The “underdog’s liberation” is Zbigniew excelling in the political environment where he escaped the tight hold of a communist government that allowed only two American jazz records within its boundaries. Later in his life he fought a much more devastating and personal battle. This compelling context butts up against individual expression demonstrated through Zach’s personal journey and his drive to realize, in a modern context, Zbigniew’s extraordinary story and music.

I am reminded of one of my favorite filmmakers Andrey Tarkovsky who said,

“Touched by a masterpiece, a person begins to hear in himself that same call of truth which prompted the artist to his creative act… In those moments we recognize and discover ourselves, the unfathomable depths of our own potential, and the furthest reaches of our emotions.”

4am JetLag November 1st, 2007

We’re back. To be expected my sleeping schedule is off. With the combination of little sleep, lots of travel and a six hour time difference, it might take me a few days to straighten out. At least I get to experience TWO time changes … one in Germany last weekend and again in the US this coming weekend. As Kasia (our interpreter) says, we are “winning” an hour. I’ll gladly WIN as many hours as necessary!

Each time I grabbed a moment to attempt blogging on the trip I couldn’t manage to match with words the experiences I was having, so I decided to post screen grabs instead. I plan on putting up captions and maybe a few reflective blogs as I unwind out of this unforgettable adventure … also look for English translations from parts of Polish interviews.

I DO want to thank my crew. I’ll never forget the feeling I had the first night we arrived as I settled into my little single mattress with the typical length-wise folded coverlet, no sheets, and big square pillow in Warsaw’s cozy Hostel Helvetia. So far we had managed to get six of us and our ridiculous amount of luggage from New York to Poland, shoot in the airport, get questioned by security in Warsaw, meet up with Maria, our SUPER production manager, just in time to resolve the mix up, keep shooting, get driven to our hostel (and later everywhere else in Poland), get fed at maybe the only vegetarian restaurant in Poland (4 of us vegetarian on the crew), have a production meeting in Polish and English, kick off with a toast “Nostrovia” and get handed the itinerary for the next day.

I nestled (or collapsed) into bed falling asleep with assured thoughts of batteries charging, tapestock labeled, and lenses cleaned. NONE of this could have been so without the incredible crew that has supported this project from the beginning. With each person not only doing their job incredibly well, but also reacting with enthusiasm and interest to what was happening each day was more than I could have asked for. This film has been a collaboration that will reflect each person working on it. I think the pictures (to be posted) reveal how well we all got along … enjoy and thank you all for everything you have given to this production so far.

More pictures! October 28th, 2007

Click the picture below to start the slideshow!

Pictures from the first week of travel in Warsaw and Krakow October 19th, 2007

Click the picture below to start the slideshow!