MILFORD GRAVES FULL MANTIS has received the honor of being invited into the inaugural Smithsonian African American Film Festival, presented by the National Museum for African American History and Culture, taking place Oct. 24–27 in Washington, D.C.
Sheffield Doc/Fest, with support from the BFI, has selected MILFORD GRAVES FULL MANTIS to be the first film for their Doc/Circuit, a new initiative which aims to develop regional audiences for independent documentary films. Director Jake Meginsky will tour with the film and participate in Q&As at the following venues:
Bertha DocHouse, London - Wednesday 29 August
Hyde Park Picture House, Leeds - Thursday 30 August
Dundee Contemporary Arts - Friday 31 August
Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle - Saturday 1 September
Glasgow Film Theatre - Sunday 2 September
"The musician Milford Graves is a rare example of a truly holistic artist. This stunning documentary, directed by Jake Meginsky with the assistance of Neil Young (a musician, but no relation to the rock star) does not offer anything like a conventional biography or career trajectory of the percussionist, who was and continues to be a unique force in jazz."
"The new documentary directed by Jake Meginsky and co-directed by Neil Young explores the life of Milford Graves well beyond his contributions to the avant-garde. While pioneering the role of the drummer in free jazz, the Queens native managed to become an acupuncturist, a sculptor, a martial artist, and an expert of the human heart, writing software that turns its pulse into melody. The film, with Graves serving as its only voice, is a lesson in autodidactism."
"Through Young’s gorgeous cinematography and an expert interweaving of interviews and footage, Full Mantis is a celebratory incantation of human achievement."
"In one scene, Mr. Graves, now 76, stands in his backyard garden in Jamaica, Queens, speaking to the film’s director, Jake Meginsky. A vegetable provides more nutrients if you eat it directly, he says. Then he bends over and gobbles up a spinach leaf, chewing it down to the stem. This moment shows where his creativity flourishes — at the square root of super-seriousness and total innocence." Read more here >>
Film Society of Lincoln Center announced today: "By popular demand, a second screening of MILFORD GRAVES FULL MANTIS has been added on May 6" after the Friday, April 27 screening sold out several days in advance. Both screenings will feature a Q&A with Milford Graves, director Jake Meginsky and co-director Neil Young in person. Tickets are now available here: https://www.filmlinc.org/films/milford-graves-full-mantis/
MILFORD GRAVES FULL MANTIS was awarded the Sarasota Film Festival's Independent Visions Jury Prize this weekend, making it the first documentary to receive that award in the festival's twenty year history.
"There would be no point in trying to make a straightforward portrait on drummer Milford Graves – this free-jazz musician who's played with Bill Frisell, Albert Ayler, Sonny Sharrock and John Zorn, among others, is one of those guys who literally marches to his own beat. Thankfully, documentarians Jake Meginsky and Neil Young (no, not that one) figured this out early, and simply made a movie about Graves' life and work that's similar to his percussive style: unpredictable, out-of-sync yet somehow rhythmically right on, jagged and likely to zig when you think it's going to zag." - ROLLING STONE