Filmmaker Jonathan Demme has passed away, it was announced today. He was 73. Demme is known for many films, among them The Silence of the Lambs, for which he won the Best Director Oscar. The award-winning director and screenwriter was a fervent Haitian art collector, and one of the paintings in his collection was once used as the cover of the first edition of Breath, Eyes, Memory! Danticat and Demme were good friends, joined by their love for Haiti.
In the mid-2000s, Demme directed and produced The Agronomist, a documentary about the life of Jean-Leopold Dominique, a radio journalist slain in the early 2000s in Port-au-Prince.
Demme’s interest in Haiti was not just based on film and art. According to an article written by Larry Birnbaum in the archives of Spin magazine, Demme co-produced a collection of Haitian music that was released in 1990 called Burning Rhythms in collaboration with two other producers Fred Paul and Edward Saxon, helping bring Haitian music to wider audiences. He also used Haitian music in the soundtrack for the film Silence of the Lambs. And speaking of soundtracks, he recruited producer Jerry Wonda and Wyclef for the soundtrack that accompanied the release of The Agronomist.
Kreyolicious sends out ondolences to Mr. Demme’s family and loved ones.
Main Photo: Jonathan Demme with Michele Montas, featured in The Agronomist, during a showing of the film in 2003. Photo Credit: Getty
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