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Digging for Weldon Irvine is a feature-length documentary about the life and influence of heralded writer, arranger, composer and pianist Weldon Irvine, Jr. Weldon Irvine's socio-culturally evocative work in music and theater drew appreciation from the likes of Freddie Hubbard and Nina Simone to Mos Def and Q-Tip. The film studies his influence on the Black Arts Movement of the 1970s, the evolution of hip-hop, and the development of some of the most well-known figures in jazz today.

Through previously unreleased audio and music from Irvine, and exclusive interviews with those closely associated with the tortured artist professionally and personally, De Costa helps us understand the journey of an artist of moderate success yet monumental influence. Equally as important, how these two realities coexist, and why? Irvine, who wrote over 500 songs and over 50 plays, relentlessly strived to reinvent himself within an industry and a world that didn’t always reciprocate, understand or appreciate his voice. 

A hovering backdrop of generational burdens, toxic vices, and unapologetic blackness paint the complexities that sing an all too familiar refrain of the native sons' inability to fully escape the web of American fate. Yet, the resilience of Weldon Irvine's creative contribution remains a lovely, precious dream.

  • Year
  • Runtime
    111 minutes
  • Language
  • Country
    United States
  • Director
    Victorious De Costa