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New Film on Washington in Jazz History

David Taylor

Umran Safter is a Turkish filmmaker who brings a fresh eye to D.C. history in her new film about 1940s Washington, Leave the Door Open. In early 2020, she came to D.C. to film interviews and locations in the story of the Ertegun brothers and their experiences in the city. I was honored to speak with her about interviewing Ahmet Ertegun.

shows DC jazz historian being interviewed

Then the pandemic hit. My article in the Washington Post magazine shared her struggles of filmmaking during a global shutdown. Readers were heartened by her experience.

Safter managed to complete her film, and she was invited to have its premier in the DC Independent Film Festival. Earlier this month, her dream of returning to D.C. to share her film became a reality. It was screened at the Turkish Embassy, and in the festival at the Arlington Cinema ‘n Draft House. And afterward her film won the DCIFF award for Best Documentary.

Watch for more screenings near you.

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