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Still from Paris is in Harlem (Camera: Dave Sharples)

Christina Kallas’ Crowdfunder for PARIS IS IN HARLEM, the third film in what the press has started calling her gun trilogy, is off to a great start, having met more than 40% and climbing of its goal in the first three days of the campaign! Kallas has chosen Seed&Spark as her platform, which she says is exceptionally supportive of women filmmakers, and in line with her obsession with numbers launched the campaign at 1:11pm on Thursday the 15th.

Christina Kallas in front of Paris is in Harlem’s main location (Photo: Lauren Sowa)

In the last few years Kallas has become a creative force to be reckoned with in the American indie scene. THE RAINBOW EXPERIMENT (2018), her award-winning ensemble film, a post-modern whodunnit set in an New York City high school when a student is permanently injured during a science experiment on school grounds, was acquired for worldwide release earlier this year by Gravitas Ventures. It will be released on December 7, more details to follow. The film had its international premiere at the Moscow International Film Festival, and has played a number of key film festivals for independent films, like Cinequest, Cleveland, Ashland, St. Louis, FIRST in China and Thessaloniki, winning numerous accolades along the way. In 2016, Kallas scored on the film festival circuit with her award-winning debut feature, 42 SECONDS OF HAPPINESS—currently on Amazon and other platforms in 68 countries. PARIS IS IN HARLEM is scheduled to release early 2020.

Still from Paris is in Harlem (Camera: Dave Sharples)

PARIS IS IN HARLEM is set in 2017, on the day the Cabaret or No Dancing Law was finally repealed. It was one of NYC’s darkest secrets, a law which has terrorized and decimated this city’s culture and which impacted jazz clubs, bands and musicians the most. It was established during the Harlem Renaissance in 1926, geared towards minimizing the spread of jazz—one could call it a war on jazz—and other ethnically-cultural music. Using this unknown fact as a backdrop and in a storytelling style that has become Kallas’ signature, PARIS IS IN HARLEM is a multi-character mosaic which follows several characters through separate but intertwined storylines that converge one winter night during an alleged shooting at a jazz bar in Harlem. Kallas describes it as a film about ‘a world at the verge of a nervous breakdown, created through the absurdity of the current moment.’ The film is structured like what she calls ‘the biggest contribution of America to the world, Jazz’ and is ultimately telling the story ‘of a neighborhood, a city and an America that will find a way to dance again.’ We are intrigued.

Like with her previous films, Kallas’ film features an ensemble cast—this time not only of actors, but also of musicians and dancers. Among them are vocalist and tenor saxophonist Camille Thurman, whom The New York Times recently described as ‘you’d be hard-pressed to find rising talents more exciting than Camille Thurman, whose sound is as commodious and strong as Hank Mobley’s,’ prodigy drummer Kojo Roney, up-and-coming bassist Marlon Martinez and tenor and soprano saxophonist and bass clarinetist Antoine Roney, one of the most charismatic jazz artists to have emerged in the 90s. Kallas is also working on an elaborate musical number with dancer and choreographer Martin Lofsnes, a principal dancer with the Martha Graham Dance Company and the 360º Dance Company. The cast features some of her regular ensemble members as well as some exciting additions such as Souléymane Sy Savané, the famous ‘Solo’ in Ramin Bahrani’s critically acclaimed ‘Goodbye Solo,’ for which he was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead, and a Gotham Independent Film Award for Breakthrough Actor.

Camille Thurman, in the recording studio for Paris is in Harlem (Photo: Lauren Sowa)

PARIS IS IN HARLEM is produced by Josh Mandel, a producer and festival programmer who is known for his keen eye for discovering emerging directing talent. Josh produced Nathan Silver’s breakout drama, Uncertain Terms, which was named one of the Best Films of 2016 by The New Yorker and Indiewire, as well as Silver’s Thirst Street, a French/US co-production that premiered at the Venice Film Festival and Tribeca, and was released by Samuel Goldwyn Films in 2017. He also produced Mark Jackson’s debut feature, Without, which won an Independent Spirit Award in 2017, as well as Jackson’s This Teacher, which won Best Film at the LA Film Festival this Fall.

If you are as intrigued as we are, you can check out and follow the film for updates at–and do not forget to browse through the many unusual incentives that Kallas and her team have put together, as there is never anything coincidental in what this unusual filmmaker puts out there!

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