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  • Behind the Scenes at Tribeca Festival 2023 With Sony Music’s Premium Content Team 
  • Jul 10, 2023
Behind the Scenes at Tribeca Festival 2023 With Sony Music’s Premium Content Team 

The Sony Music Premium Content team premiered two films at this year’s Tribeca Festival, giving music and film fans alike the first look at the personal and professional journeys of two iconic artists. 

Let the Canary Sing and Carlos, feature length documentaries focusing on the lives and careers of Cyndi Lauper and Carlos Santana respectively, premiered at the Tribeca Festival this June. In a conversation with Krista Wegener, EVP, Development, Sales and Distribution, she shares her thoughts on both premieres, the decision to hold an OCAP (Open Captioned) screening of Let the Canary Sing, and if we can expect to see more films from the Premium Content team at future festivals. 

Q: Sony Music’s Premium Content division premiered two films at the Tribeca Festival this year. Can you give us a brief overview of both documentaries and why you chose to premiere them at Tribeca? 
In partnership with Legacy, we were proud to host the world premieres of Cyndi Lauper’s Let the Canary Sing and Carlos Santana’s Carlos at Tribeca Film Festival. The Festival serves as a great launching pad for documentaries to create industry buzz and fan excitement as we engage in sales discussions with potential distributors or prepare films to launch in the general marketplace. It also has the added benefit of taking place in New York, which made it possible for many of our Sony Music colleagues to join the celebration of these two films.    

Directed by Alison Ellwood, Let the Canary Sing is a spirited documentary that takes the audience on a nostalgic exploration of the life and career of legendary artist Cyndi Lauper. Anchored by Lauper’s own narration, the film showcases the artist’s deep New York roots and her outspoken personal and career journey, which is why Tribeca was such a perfect place to premiere the film. The film highlights Lauper’s activism on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community, so along with our partners Fine Point Films and Concord, we were delighted to have the opportunity to screen the film during Pride Month.

The festival was also a great opportunity to launch Carlos, directed by Rudy Valdez, a lively and intimately-crafted documentary immersing fans into rock icon Carlos Santana’s life and musical journey. We partnered with Sony Pictures Classics and Imagine Entertainment to make Tribeca the first stop before the film is released in theaters later this year.

Q: Both Cyndi Lauper and Carlos Santana performed after their screening. How does the performance element come together and enhance the experience for audiences?  
This was only the second year Tribeca was creating opportunities for artists to accompany their respective film’s premiere with an exclusive performance for fans. Having the chance to expand the experience at the beautiful and iconic Beacon Theatre was such a special event because after watching these films, you can’t help but to feel a connection to the artist and respect for their craft. It was an incredible opportunity for the audience to experience an intimate live performance right after watching the artists each open up in their films in such a raw, organic and inspiring way.   

Q: Why did you decide to hold an OCAP (Open Captioned) screening of Let the Canary Sing?   
In a tribute to Cyndi Lauper’s pioneering vision, one of our screenings at Tribeca was open captioned. Cyndi was the first artist to feature captioned videos on MTV, beginning with ‘My First Night Without You.’ She also incorporated the use of American Sign Language in the music video for ‘Time After Time’, an act of inclusion that is now cemented in history. Cyndi’s emphasis on accessibility welcomed the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing community into the heart of pop culture. 

Our goal is to make the emotional journey of music and cinema available to everyone, so Sony Music was incredibly proud to screen the only feature at Tribeca with Open Captioning. 

Q: Can we expect to see more films from the Premium Content team premiere at festivals in the future?   
Absolutely! From Tribeca to TorontoSundance and Cannes, we are always considering film festivals as part of our sales distribution strategy, so we will likely debut more films at other festivals around the world in the future.

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