I had been going to see Reverend Vince’s weekly concert for a few years and was always amazed at the power of his performances. It wasn’t just the music that blew me away, it was the feeling of community in the room. Here in the most unlikely of places, a bar in Brooklyn, people from all walks of life were meeting to have a spiritual experience.
Reverend Vince’s music, ‘Dirty Gospel’ as he calls it, is a unique high-energy type of gospel music - he rains sweat on the keyboard as he pounds the keys, he wades into the crowd to embrace them, climbs around on the bar, and has been known for getting naked on stage. His band, The Love Choir, is made up of incredibly talented musicians from well-known bands. So few residencies are left in the music world, and this one has become an institution - every week for over 25 years. People come to the iconic Union Pool from all over the world to see Reverend Vince play, and are enthralled by his kaftan-clad stage presence and his Americana music. I knew I had to bring these incredible performances to larger audience.
Though what makes Reverend Vince’s story special goes well beyond the music, it is the community he fosters at his shows, the change he affects with his activism, and his compassion for humankind. His modern and inclusive spirituality is a different, progressive kind of Christianity, one that resonates with believers and atheists alike, and can be a force for good. This film gives audiences something we have all been missing, the feeling of being together in shared joy.
I am a firm believer in the effectiveness of atmospheric, character-based observational documentary. Personal stories can be the best way for viewers to connect with a larger issue.
My mentor Albert Maysles used to say that there are so many singular people in the world who don't get to have their stories told, but these stories are what help us to understand each other and the human condition. I make films to tell these unique stories, visually and authentically.
THE REVEREND is a feel-good film about the power of music to bring our communities together, something I think we all need right now.
NICK CANFIELD - Director / Producer / Cinematographer - is an award-winning Director and Cinematographer from New York City. He got his start working closely alongside legendary documentary filmmaker Albert Maysles, developing an intimate vérité style. His first film, the feature music documentary The Reverend, premiered at DOC NYC where it won the 2021 Audience Award. Distributed theatrically by Factory 25, it is available to stream on The Criterion Channel. Working on the camera teams for a range of projects, Nick has enjoyed the opportunity to learn from a diverse group of subjects and filmmakers. His camera work can be seen in documentaries such as Iris (NYFF premiere, distributed by Magnolia Pictures), The Fifty Year Argument (HBO, directed by Martin Scorsese), Born to Fly (SxSW premiere), In Transit (Tribeca Special Jury Mention), and Making a Murderer (Netflix). Nick is a member of the Documentary Cinematographer’s Alliance, and still serves as the archivist for Maysles Films. His films have been covered in publications including The New York Times and Rolling Stone. He was named one of DOC NYC’s 40 Filmmakers Under 40 in 2022, and was a member of their Short Films Jury in 2023.
PAUL LOVELACE - Editor / Co-Producer - is an Austin, Texas based filmmaker who has directed, produced and edited a wide range of documentaries, including IRIS (which he edited and co-produced for the late Albert Maysles, released by Magnolia Pictures), AFTER SPRING documenting the Syrian refugee crisis, RADIO UNNAMEABLE (released by Kino Lorber and aired on PBS), HOT GREASE for the Discovery Channel, among many others. In 2019, Paul edited DIANA KENNEDY: NOTHING FANCY which won the audience award at the 2019 SXSW Film Festival and is being distributed by Greenwich Street films.
NICHOLAS DANIELE - Co-Producer - is a New York City based Producer, who began his career at the Maysles Documentary Center in New York City. He has gone on to produce content for Netflix, MTV, feature films and global news documentaries, and has worked on films that have screened at Hot Docs, SXSW, The Berlin Film Festival, and The Hong Kong International Film Festival. Nicholas was the originating member of the Filmmakers Without Borders Film Fellowship in Bhutan where he worked with Royal Thimphu College to set up one of the country’s only film education programs. He has also worked on international film collaborations in London, Budapest, and the Philippines.
NELSON WALKER - Cinematographer - is a New York based filmmaker whose work spans production, education and film programing. He has directed and produced numerous films including LUMO (Winner of the Student Academy Award, broadcast on PBS's POV); SUMMER PASTURE (Winner of the Peabody Award, broadcast on PBS); and IN TRANSIT made in collaboration with the late Albert Maysles (Special Jury Prize, Tribeca Film Festival). Nelson's cinematography has appeared in many highly lauded projects including THE FIGHT, MAKING A MURDERER Season 2, DIOR AND I, IRIS, WATCHERS OF THE SKY, and THE GATES. Along with his partner Lynn True, he is founder of the Congo in Harlem film series, now entering it's 12th Year, and the Kahm Film Project, which seeks to expand opportunities for Tibetan filmmakers. Nelson currently serves as the Board Chair of Maysles Documentary Center, a non-profit cinema and education hub based in Harlem that uses non-fiction cilm to promote community, education, and social justice.
DAVID USUI - Cinematographer - began his career producing television for NBC, the Discovery Channel and MTV. As a filmmaker, he has contributed work to The NY Times, the Atlantic and VICE and co-directed In Transit a feature length documentary with acclaimed filmmaker Albert Maysles which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and won the Special Jury Prize. In 2009 he co-founded Lost & Found Films, a non-fiction production company based in NYC that produces documentaries and commercials with brands, ad agencies, broadcasters and NGOs. David studied philosophy and environmental studies at Western Washington University and is currently an adjunct professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.