HBO will premiere the feature music documentary Fandango at the Wall. The film is a joint production between Tiger Turn Productions and Sony Music Latin. Directed by Varda Bar-Kar and Executive produced by Quincy Jones, Andrew Young, and Carlos Santana. The film follows Multi-GRAMMY Award-winning musician Arturo O’Farrill and Multi-GRAMMY Award-winning producer Kabir Sehgal who journey to Veracruz, Mexico to recruit master musicians for a live album recording at the U.S.-Mexico border wall.
“We’re thrilled to premiere this exceptional and heartwarming film, which explores U.S.-Mexico relations through beautiful Mexican folk music. We believe that the film’s meaningful story and magical music will resonate deeply with our audience. Fandango at the Wall is a must-see addition to our programming,” said Leslie Cohen, Senior Vice President, Content Acquisitions at HBO and HBO Max. The film will premiere on HBO Latino, Friday, September 25 with additional HBO broadcasts scheduled for the subsequent days. It will also be available to stream on HBO Max in the United States.
“Paradoxically, our film shows how the border can become a place of friendship and amity by harnessing the power of Afro-Mexican music known as son jarocho. I’ve been making music for decades, and I’ve never experienced a more enveloping and transformative artform,” said Kabir Sehgal who is a producer of the film. “We are elated to partner with HBO, which has long demonstrated a commitment to documentarians like us who make socially-conscious films that explore important issues like immigration and identity,” said Doug Davis, who is also a producer.
At the heart of the film is the “Fandango Fronterizo” music festival that takes place annually on both sides of the Tijuana-San Diego border. Jorge Francisco Castillo, who founded the festival, invites Sehgal and O’Farrill to Veracruz, Mexico to meet the masters of son jarocho, which is a 300-hundred-year-old folk music that combines indigenous, Spanish, and African traditions. They travel through the scenic countryside of Veracruz recruiting the best of these musicians to join them at the upcoming border festival. With musicians on both sides of the US-Mexico border wall, the festival becomes a celebration of friendship and unity. The film features remarkable and dynamic music that blends quintessential son jarocho songs with lush big band jazz arrangements.
“I appreciate HBO’s commitment to providing a platform for diverse filmmakers who tell compelling stories with authenticity, artistry, and layered meaning. I’m grateful that our cross-cultural collaboration that celebrates the richness of diversity will join the ranks of HBO’s magnificent programming,” said Varda Bar-Kar, the film’s director.
Fandango at the Wall features son jarocho legends Andrés Vega, Martha Vega, Ramón Gutiérrez, Wendy Cao Romero, Tacho Utrera, Fernando Guadarrama, and Patricio Hidalgo. There are special appearances by Regina Carter, Multi-GRAMMY Award nominee and MacArthur Foundation Fellow; Douglas Brinkley, CNN Historian; Mandy Gonzalez, who performs in Broadway’s Hamilton; The Villalobos Brothers; Rahim AlHaj, GRAMMY Award nominee; and Sahba Motallebi. As part of the project, there is already a released book and album with the same title published by Hachette and Resilience Music Alliance.