Kino Lorber acquires Jeffrey Wolf’s revelatory BILL TRAYLOR: CHASING GHOSTS
Kino Lorber acquires North American rights for
Bill Traylor: Chasing Ghosts
Jeffrey Wolf’s revelatory documentary on self-taught American artist to release in Spring 2021
“...in Traylor, we can see the power of individual voice...the work is transcendent and essential.”
-- Jerry Saltz, New York Magazine
“Bill Traylor: Chasing Ghosts is not only an important documentary about survival in the Jim Crow South, it is a celebration of art and the best of humanity transcending poverty, racism and despair.”
–Morris Dees, cofounder, Southern Poverty Law Center
New York, NY – (November 10, 2020) – Kino Lorber announces that it has acquired North American rights to Jeffrey Wolf’s Bill Traylor: Chasing Ghosts. The film will be released in Spring 2021.
Bill Traylor: Chasing Ghosts is an inventive feature documentary capturing the vivid life of Bill Traylor, who in his late 80s, living homeless on the street in the thriving segregated black neighborhood of Montgomery, produced a body of extraordinary art. Born into an enslaved family in 1853 on a cotton plantation in rural Alabama, he witnessed profound social and political change during his life spanning Reconstruction, Jim Crow segregation, and the Great Migration. In his later years, he poured out those memories from within, drawing and painting over 1,000 pieces of art from 1939 to 1942. Using historic and cultural context, the film brings the spirit and mystery of Traylor’s incomparable art to life and shines a spotlight to a remarkable creative gift that was long ignored and marginalized.
Recent exhibitions of his work include New York City’s David Zwirner Gallery (culled from The William Louis Dreyfus Foundation Collection) and a one man show at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in 2018 t0 2019.
Bill Traylor: Chasing Ghosts was negotiated by Kino Lorber SVP Wendy Lidell and Wolf.
Lidell said, “Bill Traylor’s journey from his birth into an enslaved family to the exhibition of his drawings in the Museum of Modern Art is one of wonder and inspiration. His revelatory body of work are documents that tell vital stories of African American life, and we are proud to bring Jeffrey Wolf’s keenly observed documentary of Traylor’s life and art to North American audiences.”
Wolf said, "Bill Traylor survived nearly a century of legalized racial tyranny to become one of America’s most prominent artists. The film reimagines the way we see and talk about Bill Traylor’s art and his influence on the art world. Traylor was a chronicler of his time—he devised his own visual language to record and translate an oral culture into something unique, powerful, and culturally rooted."
Bill Traylor: Chasing Ghosts will be released in Spring 2021, followed by digital release on Kino Now and home video. Director/Producer Jeffrey Wolf, Writer/Producer Fred Barron, Producers Daphne McWilliams, Jeany Nisenholz-Wolf, Executive Producer Sam Pollard, Editor Keith Reamer, Cinematographer Henry Adebonojo.
Jeffrey Wolf (Director/Producer, Breakaway Films Inc) made the acclaimed documentary, James Castle: Portrait of an Artist, an award-winning film that delves into the life and creative process of the artist James Castle, as told by family members, artists and members of the deaf community. He has also made short films about the following artists: James ‘Son Ford’ Thomas, Martin Ramirez, Elijah Pierce, and Gregory Van Maanen. As a feature film editor, Wolf is recognized for his film work with prominent directors such as Arthur Penn, Sidney Lumet, John Waters, and Ted Demme. Films include The Ref (1994), Beautiful Girls (1996), Life (1999), Holes (2003), Bachelorette (2012) among others. Wolf is a member of the Academy of Motion Picturess Arts and Sciences in the editing branch and has also authored articles and essays in magazines and catalogs related to self taught and outsider art.
With a library of over 4,000 titles, Kino Lorber Inc. has been a leader in independent art house distribution for 35 years, releasing 30 films per year theatrically under its Kino Lorber, Kino Repertory and Alive Mind Cinema banners, garnering seven Academy Award® nominations in nine years. In addition, the company brings over 350 titles yearly to the home entertainment and educational markets through physical and digital media releases. With an expanding family of distributed labels, Kino Lorber handles releases in ancillary media for Zeitgeist Films, Carlotta USA, Adopt Films, Greenwich Entertainment, Raro Video, and others, placing physical titles through all wholesale, retail, and direct to consumer channels, as well as direct digital distribution through over 40 OTT services including all major TVOD and SVOD platforms. In 2019, the company launched its new art house digital channel Kino Now which features over 1000 titles from the acclaimed Kino Lorber library. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Kino Marquee initiative was launched in 2020 pioneering "virtual theatrical" releases of art house films with revenue shares that allows audiences to support almost 400 local independent theaters.