Awards

Cleveland Int’l FF (2024) – Nominated: Greg Gund Memorial Standing Up Award

Docville (2024) – Winner: Jury Award: Best Belgian Documentary

IndieLisboa Int’l Independent FF (2024) – Nominated: Indiemusic Schweppes Award

San Francisco Int’l FF (2024) – Winner: Persistence of Vision Award

Sofia Int’l FF (2024) – Winner: Grand Prix: International Documentary Competition

Sundance Film Festival (2024) – Nominated: Grand Jury Prize: World Cinema – Documentary

Sundance Film Festival (2024) – Winner: World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award: Cinematic Innovation

The Hague Movies that Matter Festival (2024) – Nominated: Grand Jury Documentary Award: Best Documentary; Camera Justitia Award

Thessaloniki Doc FF (2024) – Nominated: Golden Alexander: Film Forward Competition

Thessaloniki Doc FF (2024) – Winner: Audience Award: Film Over 45' – International Selection

Feature International
SA Premiere

Screenings – CT

Soundtrack-to-a-Coup-d-etat_poster_portrait Poster
Film Poster

This densely hyperactive masterpiece of documentary filmmaking tells the story of how the CIA weaponised African American musicians without their knowledge, using their music and power as cultural ambassadors to extend American influence in Africa, particularly the resource-rich Belgian Congo—where Patrice Lumumba had just been assassinated under very dubious circumstances. With its beautifully controlled barrage of sounds, words, and images building a coherent narrative around the CIA’s use of African American culture to consolidate its soft power and fight Soviet encroachment and the independence movements sweeping the world, the jazzy freeform structure of Soundtrack to a Coup d’État perfectly reflects the music that drives it. Featuring many of the era’s key musical and cultural talents—from Miles Davis to Miriam Makeba to Nina Simone—the film provides a unique perspective on the 20th century and a scorching reproach to US foreign policy and the machinations of the West’s intelligence agencies.

Press

A thrilling, galvanising essay film… A remarkable film — exhaustive, informative and rigorously researched, but also crackling with energy, ideas and formal daring… Political history has never felt so energising and dynamically alive as it does here.
— Wendy Ide, Screen International
Meticulously researched and detailed… Instinctive and impressionistic in its storytelling… Grimonprez’s montage approach sets rapid-fire quotes and headlines to the movie’s era-appropriate jazz soundtrack, a testament to the artistry always at play beneath (or in spite of) the political context upon which the art is applied… A propulsive audiovisual experience… ‘Soundtrack to a Coup d’État” feels loose, snappy, free-flowing, almost improvised. A cinematic translation of jazz.
— Siddhant Adlakha, Truthdig
One of the “10 Best Movies From the 2024 Sundance Film Festival.”
— David Fear, Rolling Stone
I can’t stop thinking about the remarkable “Soundtrack to a Coup d’Etat” (by Johan Grimonprez)
— Alissa Wilkinson, The New York Times