This weekend, Oct 9-11, the Creatively Speaking Film Series, now in its 20th year, takes over Harlem.  With its theme as – Discovery Weekend: Uncovering Truths, Finding Ourselves – a number of films will be screened, including PAN! Our Music Odyssey.

Written by Kim Johnson, directed by Jerome Guiot and Thierry Teston, and produced by Jean Michel Gibert, “PAN!  Our Music Odyssey,” re-tells the story of the origins of pan, in Trinidad & Tobago.

The 90-minute docu-drama, PAN! Our Music Odyssey, intertwines re-enacted vignettes of pivotal moments in the pre-history and history of pan from 1820 to 1963, from the banning of slave drum dances, to the first Panorama, with today’s “reality” narrative of the competition, in which various pan players from Trinidad and Tobago and abroad join the bands to prepare for the big stage.

Jevanni, a 10-year-old ghetto boy, struggles to qualify to play in Trinidad All Stars, the band founded by his grandfather. Eva, a footloose 27-year-old Frenchwoman in Trinidad for the first time, hopes to play on the big night—the Panorama finals, the dream of her recently-deceased father. But her band, birdsong, has been eliminated at the semi-finals so she must quickly learn a new tune well enough to get into another band. Raven, 19, known as a “crackshot” for illegally playing in several bands under different names, can learn in hours what takes others days. But he is on the verge of being thrown out of his first love, Phase II Pan Groove. Also knocking on the Phase II door are Yukari, Sayori, Kentaro and Chihiro, who are from Japan and can barely speak English but sacrificed job security to be here.

Will they get on the team? If they do, will their team win? This story of the adventure and passion of pan derives its momentum and drama from the intersecting lives and ambitions of these and other characters as they prepare for battle in Panorama: the Olympics of music. Their stories are interlaced with re-enactments of the rags-to-riches tale of the steelband movement, which was born into poverty and violence but climbed to the highest levels of social and artistic acceptance without losing its life-or-death urgency.

Watch the trailer:

PAN! will be screened at Mist Harlem, 46 W116th Street, on Saturday, Oct 10, at 9pm.  For more information on the Creatively Speaking Film Series’ Discovery Weekend, visit their website: