Serving the San Francisco Bay Area New Music Community

Mon, May 25 2020 5:00 PM

Click for Venue page

Streaming:Click for stream  
Join us for a special online film screening of "The Whistleblower of My Lai", a film produced and directed by Connie Field based on Jonathan Berger's opera "My Lai". Stay after the screening for a Q&A with film producer and director Connie Field, Kronos Quartet's David Harrington, Vân-Ánh Võ, Rinde Eckert along with director Mark DeChiazza, librettist Harriet Chessman, and composer Jonathan Berger.

Mon May 25 at 5pm PDT

The Whistleblower of My Lai
A Clarity Films Production
Produced and Directed by Connie Field


The Whistleblower of My Lai is a unique fusion of opera and documentary that blends the emotional crystallization of a dramatized human story with the concreteness of real life. It tells a story that captures both the best and worst of humanity through the examination of one incident in one man’s life: Army helicopter pilot Hugh Thompson and his discovery and exposure of the My Lai massacre in Vietnam. The opera is created by composer Jonathan Berger and librettist Harriet Chessman, and performed by the Kronos Quartet, tenor Rinde Eckert and master Vietnamese musician, Vân-Ánh Võ. The richly evocative score by Berger alternates between bursts of dense, frenzied activity and slow, hymn-like harmonies of aching sweetness. The story portrays Thompson in his final days, dying of cancer and desperately trying to make some sense of the events of 40 years earlier.

The Whistleblower of My Lai Film Credits

Directed and Produced by Connie Field
Edited and Produced by Gregory Scharpen
Camera: Connie Field
Additional Camera: Dana Kupper, Marilyn Mulford, Gregory Scharpen
Sound: Gregory Scharpen
Associate Producer/Archival Research: Sage Brucia
Sound Mix: Brandon Proctor, Steve Boeddeker, Skywalker Sound
Colorist: Heather Weaver

My Lai Opera Credits

Producer: Janet Cowperthwaite
Production Management: Kronos Performing Arts Association
Composer: Jonathan Berger
Librettist: Harriet Scott Chessman
Performed by: Kronos Quartet (David Harrington, Hank Dutt, Sunny Yang, John Sherpa), Vân-Ánh Võ and Rinde Eckert
Directors/Set Design: Mark DeChiazza, Rinde Eckert
Lighting: Brian H. Scott
Audio Engineer: Brian Mohr
Production Manager: Gregory T. Kuhn


Connie Field - Director, Producer
Connie Field is an Academy Award nominated, and Emmy Award winning, director who has made a number of high profile documentaries that have been shown all over the world. Before getting involved in film she worked as an organizer in many social and human rights organizations where she established her commitment to progressive social change, which she has carried into her film career. Many of her films focus on hidden histories, stories that had not been told before which should be an important part of our collective memories. Her most recently finished films are The Whistleblower of My Lai and Oliver Tambo. Some of her previous work includes Al Helm: Martin Luther King in Palestine, about an African American gospel choir touring Palestine in a Palestinian play about Martin Luther King Jr.; the eight-part series Have You Heard From Johannesburg, on the global movement that ended Apartheid in South Africa, which aired on PBS and the BBC in January 2012; Freedom on My Mind a history of the civil rights movement in Mississippi; the feminist classic The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter and ¡Salud! on Cuba's role in the struggle for global health equity. She has won numerous awards including Academy Award nominations, the Sundance Grand Jury Prize, a primetime Emmy Award, British Academy Award Nominee, Best Series, and Best Feature Documentary from numerous festivals, as well as having her films listed as the Best Doc of the Year or One of the Ten Best Films of the Year by a number of film critics. Her work has been broadcast in over 30 countries including Japan, Brazil, South Africa, Britain, Australia, Denmark, Germany, France, Spain, England, and in the US. She is a recipient of the John Grierson Award as most outstanding social documentarian, and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship and is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Gregory Scharpen - Editor, Producer
Gregory Scharpen was the series editor for Clarity Films' Emmy-winning series Have You Heard From Johannesburg, and edited Al Helm: Martin Luther King in Palestine, The Whistleblower of My Lai and Oliver Tambo for them. He has also edited music videos for Project Soundwave, Zoe Boekbinder, Kronos Quartet, and Vân Ánh Võ.

He is the resident sound designer for the Berkeley-based theatre company Central Works, having designed over 50 world-premiere plays for the company, as well as dozens of other theatrical productions for companies including Shotgun Players, Shakespeare Santa Crus, Theatre Rhino, TheatreFIRST, and others. Under the name Thomas Carnacki he records and performs what is occasionally referred to as "experimental music", having released several lps, cds, and ep under that monicker. Over the course of over a decade of activity, Carnacki (or Scharpen) has worked with luminaries such as Carla Bozulich, Nurse With Wound, irr. app. (ext.), and Carla Kihlstedt. Carnacki has scored films (e.g. Steven Okazaki's HBO documentary Heroin: Cape Cod, USA, Sylvia Schedelbauer's Sounding Glass) and dance performances (e.g. Margaret Jenkins Dance Company's Skies Calling, Skies Falling, Micaela Gardner's Landward). An avid proponent of terrestrial radio, Scharpen co-hosts KALX 90.7fm's weekly film show Film Close-Ups and produces the weekly Artsinreview program.

Composer Jonathan Berger’s “dissonant but supple” (New York Times) compositions integrate science and human experience. Referred to as “lush and inviting” by the San Francisco Chronicle, Berger’s music ranges from vocal, orchestral, and chamber works to electroacoustic constructions. His creations include The War Reporter(chamber opera for fivesingers, chamber orchestra, and digital audio. Commissioned by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts; Theotokia (chamber opera for fivesingers, chamber orchestra, and digital audio.). Commissioned by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts; and Yaqira (flute, clarinet, violin, ‘cello, piano)Commissioned by Plural Ensemble (Madrid) and Earplay (San Francisco)

Writer Harriet Scott Chessman is the author of the acclaimed novels The Beauty of Ordinary Things, Lydia Cassatt Reading the Morning Paper, Ohio Angels, and Someone Not Really Her Mother. Her fiction has been translated into ten languages.

Music Performers, Kronos Quartet: David Harrington, John Sherba (violins), Hank Dutt (viola), and Sunny Yang (cello)—has pursued a singular artistic vision, combining a spirit of fearless exploration with a commitment to continually re-imagining the string quartet experience. In the process, Kronos has become one of the most celebrated and influential groups of our time, performing thousands of concerts worldwide, releasing more than 50 recordings of extraordinary breadth and creativity, collaborating with many of the world's most intriguing and accomplished composers and performers, and commissioning more than 800 works and arrangements for string quartet. In 2011, Kronos became the only recipients of both the Polar Music Prize and the Avery Fisher Prize, two of the most prestigious awards given to musicians. The group’s numerous awards also include a Grammy for Best Chamber Music Performance (2004) and "Musicians of the Year" (2003) from Musical America.

Music Performer Van-Anh Vanessa Vo is a virtuoso of unique Vietnamese instruments who has composed Emmy award winning documentary soundtracks. Her music is riveting, her stage presence theatrical and her contribution to Vietnamese musical culture is outstanding.

Actor and singer Rinde Eckert is a 2007 Pulitzer Prize finalist for Drama and the Obie Award-winning creator of And God Created Great Whales, is renowned as a writer, composer, director and performer whose Opera / New Music Theatre productions have toured extensively.

Cost: FREE
✚gCal  ✚iCal