Sunday, April 4th at Arlington Drafthouse,VA
4:00pm – 6:30pm
Leave the Door Open
Directed by Umran Safter
Turkey / 2021 / 62 mins / World Premiere
Q&A with the director and in-person conversation with DC jazz experts
Ahmet and Nesuhi Ertegun, founders of Atlantic Records hosted jazz jam sessions with artists such as Duke Ellington, Lester Young, Teddy Williams, Johnny Hodges and Count Basie at the Turkish Ambassador’s residence in Washington DC. See Washington Post Article Here
Director: Ümran Safter is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. For more than two decades she covered Turkey and the Middle East including the wars in Iraq and Syria for both print and television media. She started her filmmaking career in 2014 and has produced and directed several feature documentary films including The Eye of Istanbul, Sevan the Craftsman, The Sin of Being a Woman and On the Wings of Hope. She is the recipient of numerous national and international awards. She has also produced a number of TV documentaries including a feature on life in Guantanamo Prison filmed on location.
Director Statement: I was extremely touched and affected after reading an article in the US media about how Ahmet and Nesuhi Ertegun broke all barriers of racial prejudice and hosted Black musicians at a diplomatic facility during a very dark period of human intolerance. Following lengthy research, I went to Washington DC and New York to interview a host of people including historians, experts, music producers and musicians. I also got the opportunity to film at the historic Everett House, which was the scene of the famous mixed Jazz jam sessions, and which still serves as the Residence of the Turkish Embassy in Washington DC. I used the documentary to share and tell this awe-inspiring story through the views, knowledge and personal experiences of people with expert knowledge of the Ertegun brothers, their involvement with Jazz, and the social and political conditions of the time. Interviewees include Maurice Jackson, Anna Celenza, Dan Morgenstern, Renee Pappas, Bob Porter, Herb Scott, Larry Appelbaum, John Hasse, David Taylor and Willard Jenkins among others. In the film, Selma Ertegun Goksel — the last living member of the Ertegun family — also recalls the family’s experiences in Washington.