As we celebrate the Rafael’s 20thanniversary, we also pay tribute to one of the most popular films from our first year in 1999. Filmmaker Roko Belic and his brother Adrian followed blind, San Francisco-based blues musician Paul Pena to the isolated Republic of Tuva (wedged between Siberia and Mongolia) to demonstrate his talent for the Tuvan art of throatsinging and to collaborate with throatsinging champion Kongar-ol Ondar (1962-2013).
First screened at the 1998 Mill Valley Film Festival, Genghis Blues was subsequently invited to the 1999 Sundance Film Festival, where it received the Audience Award. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary, and it was released nationally by San Francisco’s Roxie Theater, through its subsidiary Roxie Releasing. Genghis Blues opened at the Rafael in July 1999, almost exactly 20 years ago. Camera: Roko Belic, Adrian Belic. Editor/Writer/Director: Roko Belic. (US 1999) 88 min. plus discussion.