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INTANGIBLE ASSET NO. 82 tells the story of a respected jazz drummer and his search for an elusive South Korean shaman and grandmaster musician. The journey becomes a rite of passage as he meets engaging and exotic characters, and overcomes obstacles and the march of time to eventually meet the master only days before his death.
The film takes us inside the thoughts of a dedicated musician as he explores the tools of self-expression. It is a road movie, a philosophical encounter, a showcase of fascinating musicians rarely heard outside of Korea, and a tribute to the universal language of music.
"Sensitive, confident, but also demonstrating a deeper understanding of music, and the creative process in general. So many discussions on Art today focus on what and how art is being done, but Franz manages to go beyond this to ask a more important question - why. -Why is music an essential part of life? The film deals with this without implicitly telling us the answer. We discover it through a kind of participation which all art initiates; a participation of the viewer. It is beautiful and inspiring."
- Rafi Segal (Architect, Author)
"Intangible Asset 82 has deeply touched me ever since I saw it for the very first time. Beyond words, the film dives into the mixing pot of cultural-diversity, bringing to the audience a wonderful insight into-the similarities and synchronicities of different cultures through the unique and most universal language of music. Thru the eyes of director Emma Franz, we can feel that believing in art and intuition is still one of the best roads one can take."
- Rodolfo Stroeter (Music producer, award winning Bassist with Gilberto Gil, Joyce, Tutty Moreno and others)
"It's not often we're given an opportunity to experience life and music through the eyes and ears of people who perceive them so utterly differently from the way we do ourselves but Emma Franz's film tries to make it possibleÑand succeeds admirably."
- Bill Leak (painter, cartoonist, writer; excerpt from review in Extempore Jazz Literary Journal)
"A sublime ending." - Chris Knight (National Post, Canada)
"The long waited appearance of Kim Seok-Chul has more impact than that of Marlon Brando's in 'Apocalypse Now'."
- Cho Sung-Eun (Film Critic, Korea)
"[Intangible Asset Number 82] had a flow that resonated with the subject matter in a most glorious fashion... Incredibly entertaining on its own, [the film is] also a special gift for those who are wise enough and aware enough to grasp its import."
- Dony Wynn (Drummer; Robert Palmer, Steve Winwood, Patty LaBelle)
"In life, the journey itself is more fundamental and fulfilling than the destination, and this tenet has rarely been more transcendently demonstrated than in Emma Franz's magnificent documentary Intangible Asset No. 82... By the time Bae and Kim Dong-won join Barker and his band for a terrific impromptu performance at a local park, the film has succeeded well beyond its origins as an eclectic road documentary. However, the best is yet to come, and though it would be imprudent to reveal the nature of the resolution to Barker's original mission, suffice to say that it serves as the most fitting final movement to this remarkable cinematic symphony, at once surprising and inevitable. Regardless of its title, Intangible Asset No. 82 promises to reward the audience with numerous tangible pleasures."
- Phillip Maher (AllMovie.com)
"Franz does an incredible job. Her lighting (mostly natural) is beautiful and her images are powerful. She is able to capture a singer perched on a waterfall and a private shamanic ceremony, both difficult circumstances under which to film, and disappears into both scenes easily so that the audience feels like its participating in the actionÉ I found myself totally captivated by Barker's journey and Franz's strong imagery." - Ellen Spiro (University of Texas)
"[Intangible Asset Number 82] is a testament to the power of music and mysticism."
- Justin Mover (Washington City Paper)
"By posing questions about why music matters, Franz's film becomes a philosophical investigation as much as it is a showcase of fascinating musicians rarely heard outside of Korea. A great tribute to the universal language of music." - Guelph Festival of Moving Media
"In my opinion, it may be the most profound film of its kind that we will ever show on the channel."
- Michal Shapiro (Link TV, U.S.A.)
After debuting at the Sao Paulo International Film Festival in Brazil, where it was a finalist in the audience vote for Best Documentary, Intangible Asset Number 82 has gone on to screen in competition at some of the worlds most respected film and documentary festivals, including AFI SilverDocs and South By South West in the U.S.A., Hot Docs Canada, and others in places as diverse as Argentina, Chile, China, Korea, India, Egypt and Israel.
Most recently, the film won BEST DOCUMENTARY at the Durban International Film Festival in South Africa, Best Sound in Documentary at the 2009 AFI Awards Australia, and was voted runner-up for most popular Documentary at the Melbourne International Film Festival. It was shortlisted for the Cinema Eye Honors in the U.S.A.