Sponsored by Lisa Oakes
Brasslands explores the explosive recent popularity of Balkan brass music through the stories of three musicians whose lives revolve around playing the music for very different reasons: a Serbian trumpet master, a virtuosic Roma street musician, and a dedicated American who isn’t from the Balkans but has been playing this music in New York for the last 30 years. Their stories all converge at the 50th anniversary of the world’s biggest trumpet competition in a hidden valley in Serbia. Brasslands is a character-driven feature documentary about the power of music to inform our identities, unite communities, and reach across political borders. 25 year old “master trumpeter” Dejam Petrovic returns to defend his championship title, as Demiran Ćerimović, a world-class Roma Gypsy trumpeter, struggles against deeply ingrained racism for the opportunity to make money for his family. Through it all, a fish-out-of-water American band plays to validate their very existence in front of a population still scarred by U.S. bombs dropped on Belgrade a decade ago. Brasslands chronicles this bizarre unfolding scene of colliding histories, political tension, and musical ecstasy.