Sierra Leone Refugee All-Stars in Montana Reviewed

Check out this nice review that the Missoula Independent just published of a short film I have in the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival this year.

Refugee All-Stars in Montana

The most common complaint with short films is that they are, well, too short. In this case, local director Colin Ruggiero focuses on a tiny piece of an epic story, and does so with a grace and subtlety that fits perfectly in a 10-minute package.

Refugee All-Stars in Montana

There’s already a feature-length documentary about the Sierra Leone Refugee All-Stars, a musical group that emerged from the war-torn nation and proceeded to tour the world. In fact, that film screened at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival in 2007, and hit the Wilma again in 2008. Days after the 2008 screening, the band took the Wilma stage for a sold-out live concert. Ruggiero uses footage from that Wilma show and a KUFM radio interview to provide a glimpse of the international musicians’ brief stop in a wintery college town.

It’s the little moments that make big impressions. There’s the hushed retelling of what it was like to survive civil war and be displaced to Guinea juxtaposed with raucous crowd shots of dreadlocked Missoulians. There’s the post-show giddiness outside the tour bus, when one band member uses an issue of the Indy as a drum and another sings.

You can get the full story of this band somewhere else; Ruggiero provides a few precious moments that may mean more to a local audience. (SB)

Showing: Sat., Feb. 18, at 4:45 p.m., at the Crystal.

Click here for the Independent’s guide this year’s festival.

Leave a Reply