The ground-breaking documentary Uprooted: The Journey of Jazz Dance, from visionary filmmaker Khadifa Wong, streams exclusively in the U.S. on HBO Max, beginning February 1st, as part of Black History Month celebration. The documentary traces the origin in Africa and follows the evolution through each decade and genre while exploring and commenting on the political and social influences that shaped the artistry of today.
Uprooted is an honest conversation about jazz dance addressing topics such as appropriation, racism, socialism, and sexism with special appearances by Debbie Allen, George Faison, Chita Rivera, Camille A. Brown, and Thomas F. DeFrantz. The film also showcases the works of the Nicholas Brothers, Pepsi Bethel, Jack Cole, Katherine Dunham, Bob Fosse, and Gene Kelly along with a stellar cast of leading industry experts, award-winning choreographers, and legendary performers.
The original idea for a jazz dance documentary came from leading educator/choreographer Zak Nemorin. It is Produced by Lisa Donmall-Reeve with Kimberley Browning as associate producer. The film’s innovative and immersive visuals are created by director of photography Matt Simpkins with Joan Gill Amorim bringing everything together as Editor.
Uprooted made its debut in 2020 at the acclaimed Dance on Camera Film Festival, taking the distinguished Audience Choice Award. Continuing its prestigious circuit run, it went on to receive critical acclaim throughout the year at several premiere festivals including the San Francisco Dance Film Festival, where it won the Audience Award, as well as the Bentonville Film festival, Charlotte Film Festival, Tallgrass Film Festival, Savannah SCAD Film Festival, and the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival as an Official Selection. Other notable wins include the Grand Prize and Best Musical Documentary in the Rhode Island International Film Festival, as well as Best Documentary at The Micheaux Film Festival and Pan African Film Festival. The film was also nominated for Best Documentary Feature at Raindance 2020. Uprooted has continued its rise with numerous awards throughout 2021.
Watch the trailer for Uprooted: The Journey of Jazz Dance