EXTRAORDINARY ORDINARY PEOPLE is a music-fueled journey through folk and traditional arts in America. At a time when the existence of the National Endowment for the Arts has never been more threatened, Alan Govenar's documentary focuses on one of its least known and most enduring programs: the National Heritage Fellowship, awarded annually since 1982.
Featuring a breathtaking array of men and women who have been awarded the fellowship, including musicians, dancers, quilters, woodcarvers and more, the film demonstrates the importance of the folk and traditional arts in shaping the fabric of America. From Bill Monroe and B.B. King to Passamaquoddy basket weavers and Peking Opera singers; from Appalachia and the mountains of New Mexico to the inner city neighborhoods of New York, the suburbs of Dallas, and the isolated Native American reservations of Northern California - each of the artists share exceptional talent, ingenuity, and perseverance.
Govenar began documenting the artists more than 35 years ago. The enormous breadth of his project, which also includes two 52-part radio series for NPR and three books, allowed him to explore in great detail the intersection of disparate cultures - many brought to our shores by immigrants over hundreds of years - with America itself. His film gives insights into how cultures endure, and how cultural expressions evolve but at the same time remain true to their roots in our 21st century connected world.
***POST-SCREENING CONCERT & FILMMAKER Q&A***
Fri 9/15 & Sat 9/16 after the 8:00PM show