Dante James wrote and directed Harlem in Montmartre: A Paris Jazz Story. The film tells the story of the jazz age in Paris between the First and Second World Wars and explores a fascinating yet often neglected era of African-American cultural history.
After the peace treaty was signed at Versailles, many Black Americans remained in Europe rather than return to the brutal segregation and racism of America. Over the next two decades, they formed an expatriate community of musicians, entertainers and entrepreneurs, primarily congregating in the hilly Montmartre neighborhood.
Inspired by the book Harlem in Montmartre: A Paris Jazz Story by William A. Shack this performance driven documentary features the stories and music of such key figures as James Reese Europe, Josephine Baker, Sidney Bechet, Ada "Bricktop" Smith, Eugene Bullard, Django Reinhardt and more. A band of gifted musicians lead by Victor Goines recreates the fun, artistry and tenor of the times. The film is a colorful, musical, poignant look at the triumphs, struggles and disappointments of a select group of Black Americans seeking artistic, intellectual, economic, social and political freedom in Paris. Harlem in Montmartre: A Paris Jazz Story was selected to screen at the prestigious FIPA International Film Festival in Biarritz, France. The film was awarded best documentary at the 2010 Pan African International Film Festival and screened at the Paris, France Noire/Black France Film Festival .