Dave Grusin is well known to Boulder music and film lovers. On the CU campus, the College of Music presents the best in classical and jazz in the Grusin Music Hall. The CU alum after whom the hall is named is a beloved long-time participant in the Conference on World Affairs, most notably in its legendary Tuesday night jazz concerts.
Dave Grusin was born into a musical family in Littleton in 1934 – his violinist father was a Jewish Latvian immigrant and his mother a pianist – and he says music was a natural way to make money when he was young.
Perhaps not surprisingly given his background, the multi-talented Grusin is equally esteemed worldwide as a composer, arranger, producer, and pianist.
With 10 Grammy Awards, he is revered in jazz circles. With one Oscar win, six best score nominations, one best song nomination, and four Golden Globe nominations, Grusin is a living legend in Hollywood. He scored such illustrious films as “The Graduate” (the soundtrack famously featured Simon & Garfunkel songs along with several instrumental pieces by Grusin), “On Golden Pond,” “The Firm” (the daring soundtrack consists of piano solos), “The Fabulous Baker Boys,” “Havana,” “Tootsie,” “Heaven Can Wait,” and “3 Days of the Condor.”
Working in film and TV since the late ‘60s, Grusin composed scores for five dozen feature films, and has won numerous awards for his soundtrack and record work, including an Academy Award for Robert Redford’s 1988 “Milagro Beanfield War,” which will be shown at the Boe on Sunday, March 1 at 3:30 pm.
Grusin’s enduring legacy will be honored at the 8th annual Boulder Jewish Film Festival. The films he scored – alphabetically from “Absence of Malice” to “Yakuza” – are among the best of the era, and he worked with every A-list director in Hollywood. Robert Redford and Sydney Pollack are his most frequent collaborators.
Director Barbara Bentree, a graduate of CU’s College of Music, has crafted an excellent documentary that reveals the warm human being who found fame as composer, pianist, arranger, performer and record company executive.
Enormously talented and incredibly prolific, Grusin is a humble artist who enjoys fly-fishing on his Montana ranch. An articulate speaker, Grusin is often described as “genuine.” The word “Mensch” also applies.
“Dave Grusin: Not Enough Time” opens the 8th annual Boulder Jewish Film Festival on Wednesday, March 4, 2020 in the Dairy Arts Center’s Gordon Gamm Theater. Barbara Bentree will attend the festival and appear at the 5:30 pm reception between the two premiere screenings in the Boedecker Theater.
In anticipation of Dave Grusin’s appearance, the BJFF will screen “Milagro Beanfield Wars” and “The Fabulous Baker Boys” in the Boe prior to the festival. Kathryn Bernheimer and talkback guests will discuss the films.
To read more about “Not Enough Time,” please visit the website: https://www.grusinfilm.com/
(The CWA will present a clips and conversation program with Dave Grusin and Barbra Bentree in April.)
Bentree and her husband and co-producer John Rangel are both jazz musicians; she has also been working on television and film productions and has written original stage plays, books and screenplays, while he has played the piano onstage with Dave Grusin in concert and has performed all over the world in prestigious jazz festivals.
Motivated by a desire to “change the face of documentaries about musicians, especially jazz musicians,” the pair brings a wide range of experience and passion to this film project. “Dave Grusin is one of the most hardworking and accomplished musicians of the past fifty years,” she notes. “A film tribute to his incredible body of work and a retrospective of Grusin’s massive contribution to the film and music industries is way overdue.”
Other Highlights Of The 2020 Boulder Jewish Film Festival
The Boulder Jewish Film Festival celebrates the musical genius of Colorado native Dave Grusin on opening night, and closes with a rambunctious comedy set in the Middle East.
“Tel Aviv on Fire” is a Palestinian comedy. Yes, you read that right. Palestinian director Sameh Zoabi’s hilarious satire is set behind the scenes of a popular Palestinian soap opera. With an almost entirely Palestinian cast, the award-winning comedy will leave audiences laughing at the common vanities of human nature. “Tel Aviv on Fire” won the best film and best screenplay awards at the Haifa International Film Festival, and Palestinian actor Kais Nashef – who plays the hapless nebbish who accidentally becomes head writer on his uncle’s show – won the best actor award at the Venice International Film Festival.
Our Centerpiece this year marks the return of Israeli filmmaker Dani Menkin, whose tale of Israel’s brief basketball glory, “On the Map,” opened BJFF in 2016, with basketball icon Tal Brody attending along with the director.
Two brand new films by Menkin will be shown on Wednesday, March 11 in the Gordon Gamm Theater. The evening screening is bound to appeal to nature and wildlife lovers, photographers, environmentalists, and fans of underwater cinematography. Menkin finds another larger-than-life hero of sorts to follow in “A Picture of His Life,” a riveting portrait of fearless Israeli underwater photographer Amos Nachoum and his quest to swim – unprotected and face to face – with the famously dangerous polar bear in the wild.
Produced by Nancy Spielberg, whose previous two films have played BJFF, “Picture of His Life” is the stunning story of a rugged individual with a tender devotion to natural beauty in all its terrifying splendor.
Another Israeli legend takes center court in Menkin’s other new documentary, “AULCIE.” Those of you who saw “On the Map” may remember the African American player who improbably joined the team when he was the last player cut from the Knicks in 1976. Aulcie Perry, who helped Maccabi Tel Aviv win two Euro League championships during his nine seasons with the team, stayed in Israel, converted, married a supermodel, and, well, the story gets wilder from there. Menkin decided that Aulcie deserved a film of his own, and you will see why when BJFF premieres his heartfelt story of redemption.
Last year, the BJFF honored film aficionado Yehudis Fishman for her contribution to ACE and to the vibrancy of the Jewish community. This year, the tradition continues as BJFF honors Grace and Gordon Gamm for their long and consistent commitment to the festival’s future. True film lovers who understand the power of a good story, the Gamms have been platinum sponsors since the festival’s second year. We look forward to letting you know more about this remarkable arts-boosting couple as we screen “Holy Lands” in their honor. James Caan stars in this dramedy about a cantankerous retired American cardiologist who unaccountably retires to Israel to raise pigs.
Another exciting announcement for the 2020 festival concerns a new committee chaired by Judith Dack that has been charged with creating a program of shorts to be screened at the festival. The eight-person committee will view dozens of shorts and curate a 90-minute program.
A number of excellent new international feature films are also confirmed, including the Ethiopian-Israeli “Fig Tree,” a coming of age story set during the civil war in Addis Ababa in 1989; “Those Who Remained,” a haunting Hungarian post-Holocaust drama that recently screened at Telluride; and “The Mover,” a gripping account of “Latvia’s Schindler.”
Another sports saga, “The Spy Behind Home Plate,” represents American documentary filmmaking at its best. Director Aviva Kempner, whose first hit was “The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg,” and whose subsequent films have all been major league winners, returns with the true story of Moe Berg, a smart and patriotic Jewish player who apparently spied for the US, playing a prominent role in America’s efforts to undermine the German atomic bomb program during WW II.
We look forward to sharing more titles with you as they are confirmed. Please save the date for our Sponsor Sneak Preview on Sunday, February 2, a champagne brunch at which our film sponsors ($700 and above) see trailers and hear about the films from Kathryn Bernheimer, and are able to buy tickets a day before they go on sale to the general public.
To find out more about becoming a sponsor, email Senior Director of Development Heidi Dormandy at firstname.lastname@example.org.