The late director Jonathan Demme and I planned to make a documentary about Prof Robert Farris Thompson, known as Master T, as we were both huge fans. Besides throwing out culture bombs that have disrupted the world of art, music, dance and philosophy – Thompson is an amazing performer… His lecture style is full body, and has been described as a meeting of Kerouac and Coltrane. His lectures on Afro Atlantic art and culture at Yale were hugely popular.
To sell the idea of what we hoped would be a feature length doc, we made this 13 minute sample reel that mixes footage of Dr Bob speaking, gesticulating and dancing with stock and archival footage of the images, dances, movies and music that he refers to. As this was just a sample demo of what we proposed, the archival footage especially is sometimes not the highest quality. But you’ll see that even so - the excitement, energy, enthusiasm and love make it through intact.
We shopped the idea around, but sadly didn’t get any bites. (maybe it was the daunting task of licensing all that archival footage?) Here at least you can get a taste of what Thompson was and what he brought to the world.
RFT passed in late Nov. He’ll be missed.