America. Home of Jazz. For some, a dream world. For others, a battleground where ambition is shattered.
Hidden away in a tiny flat in the Roma neighborhood of Budapest’s rundown 8th district, where authentic Romani folk tunes are handed down from generation to generation, we find József Balázs—Jozsika— a shy, young, chubby, and extremely talented piano player.
Despite constant criticism from Elemér, his more successful older brother, Jozsika keeps on making music, playing his piano with a dedicated passion. When he invents a new sound, a Jazz-Gipsy fusion, he is finally able to convince his virtuoso friends to join him in recording an album.
But in a Budapest music scene dominated by pop, DJs and a few underground stars, József struggles to find a place for his new group, the East Gipsy band.
The only hope comes from Tim Ries, an old friend of Elemér’s and a lead saxophonist for the Rolling Stones. Tim falls in love with the new style and understands that Józsika’s fusion is truly unique. He decides to travel to Budapest to jam with Jozsika’s band.
The two men, who could not be more different, now form a musical partnership. Together they break down cultural barriers. But when Tim announces, after a concert in a small village in Eastern Hungary, that he sees huge international potential in the band, the other musicians in the band react with skepticism. For them, the Big American Jazz Dream exists in an unattainable, parallel universe.
And yet, six months later, Ries invites the East Gipsy Band to North America. He arranges a series of live performances for them up and down the east coast. When the East Gipsy Band arrives in New York, making their debut on the American jazz scene, the promise of that unattainable universe confronts them as a potential reality
Are they ready for it?
Shot in and around Budapest— in smoky flats, jazz bars and makeshift recording studios—and in US jazz clubs, Jazz Way Out is at the same time a road movie and an homage to jazz’s creative force.
A ROMA DIRECTOR WHOSE FILMS TRANSCEND THE MISCONCEPTIONS OF POVERTY PORN NARRATIVES
Interview with Katalin Bársony
“My films are self-representations and counter-narratives that try to give an atypical depiction of who we are. You don’t have to see poverty porn in these movies that connect us only to problems and poverty. What you see in these films are lively human characters with their own views and ways of saying things. They are as deep and very real and complex as we are. Human beings.”
Interview with KATALIN BÁRSONY • DIRECTOR OF HOW FAR THE STARS
„What I love in my film is the fact that you see a natural friendship between a world-class star and someone who comes from a small ghetto”
LÁTOM A VÁLSÁGOT, DE NEM VAGYOK HAJLANDÓ ELFOGADNI – BÁRSONY KATALIN PORTRÉJA
“Kell, hogy a szemed előtt alakuljon az emberek élete, ahogy átélik a traumáikat, ahogy túllépnek rajta és megerősödnek.”