As one of the most acclaimed documentarians working today, Matthew Heineman (winner of PFF30’s Best Documentary Feature for THE FIRST WAVE) has carved out a lane as a chronicler of historic, large-scale events, from the Mexican drug war to the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. For his latest doc, Heineman takes a far more personal approach, homing in on celebrated musician Jon Batiste as he navigates one of the most professionally rewarding yet personally challenging years of his life. In 2022, THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT bandleader Batiste was riding a wave of acclaim and was getting ready for an exciting new project: an ambitious symphonic patchwork of American regional sounds set to premiere at Carnegie Hall. In the midst of this joy, Batiste’s partner, writer Suleika Jaouad, learned that her leukemia had returned after years in remission. Heineman brings viewers into Batiste’s life over the course of a chaotic year, following as he juggles symphony rehearsals and awards show performances with therapy appointments and visits to the hospital. At once a triumphant concert film and an intensely intimate document of a couple facing daunting personal struggles, AMERICAN SYMPHONY is one of the most captivatingly well-rounded artist portraits in recent memory.
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