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Body and Soul: An American Bridge

African American, American History, Music , Jewish Film, Jewish Highlights
Robert Philipson
58 minutes


Best Music Documentary
San Francisco Black Film Festival

Official Selection
Oakland Int'l Film Festival
San Francisco Black Film Festival
Washington Jewish Film Festival
Baltimore Int'l Black Film Festival
San Diego Jewish Film Festival
Atlanta Jewish Film Festival
Pan African Film Festival (Los Angeles)
East Bay Jewish Film Festival
Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival
American Documentary Film Festival
Portland Jewish Film Festival



Out of all the cross-cultural encounters that have resulted in the richness of American popular music, none has been so prominent or so fraught with fraternity and conflict as the relationships between African Americans and American Jews. Body and Soul: An American Bridge aims to tease out the strands of this cultural knot by focusing on the early performance history of the jazz standard, “Body and Soul,” one of the most recorded songs in the jazz repertoire.

“Body and Soul”
Music by John W. Green
Lyrics by Edward Heyman and Robert B. Sour

With performances by:
Dianne Schurr • Jack Hylton and His Orchestra • Libby Holman • Louis Armstrong and the New Cotton Club Orchestra • The Benny Goodman Trio • John Coltrane



Robert Philipson backed into filmmaking when he took an Introduction of Videography course at Berkeley City College while trying to learn how to operate a camera. Already an experienced writer and college professor (Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of Wisconsin), Robert was blessed with an intuitive sense of form and structure. He quickly mastered the independent filmmaker’s art of seducing others to his projects and turned his multimedia classes to good account. His first film festival entry, “Ma Rainey’s Lesbian Licks,” (2005) played in 20 different film festivals. His subsequent documentary shorts have played in over 70 film festivals and have won an award or four. While acknowledging that he has much to learn, Robert has no plans to attend film school. Body and Soul: An American Bridge is his first feature-length documentary.


KSDS Jazz - Interview with Robert Philipson for "Inside Art"

WABE - Interview with Robert Philipson 2/12/2017


Body and Soul (DVD) - Educational Use



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