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USA, 1980 (MIFF 1981, New Directors)

Director: Oz Scott

Dreamland labels itself a film based on "the new sound of Gospel Rock" and is the true story of Joanne Crayton Joanne is the star of the Gospel Soul Children and she has the power to send her congregation into ecstasy. But she wants something more, a career where she can sing everything she feels inside her — blues, jazz, disco, gospel rock.

She takes on a new name, Lady B.J., for her new professional life But that new life is hard — she must struggle with her mother who wants her back singing in the church and who tells her that life on the road is too hard for a woman alone with a child. Her manager, however, has big plans for her, plans that don't include Henry, her brilliant, blind pianist who feels too much for her. The struggle for BJ's loyalty and affection erupts backstage in a dramatic confrontation on Mardi Gras night.

Dreamland is an excellent documentary/drama about a black woman singer on the fringe of success and the rather manipulative men in her life. But she's a woman who really can sing and the film's magnificent sound recording does full justice to her voice.

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