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Patrinell: The Total Experience
United States, 93 min., Color, English
The story of the Patrinell Wright and her Total Experience Choir, an internationally recognized Seattle institution, is told against the backdrop of the city’s gentrification and racial history. Seattle was a rude awakening for singer Patrinell Wright when she moved here from East Texas in 1964—far from the bastion of racial tolerance she'd expected. But she did have musical talent, deep faith, and unstoppable drive, which she channeled into founding the Total Experience Gospel Choir, building it into an internationally recognized pillar of Seattle's black community. Not without opposition: Church leaders gave her flak for singing in nightclubs, and years later for her ordination, and teachers at Franklin High School weren't crazy about having someone without academic credentials come in and start a choir. This Franklin group, launched in 1973, was the seed of the Total Experience Choir, which by 1977 was touring the country and eventually the globe. Generous home-movie footage shows the choir's shrinking, aging, and whitening over its 45 years, a transformation that played out against the Central District's similar gentrification. Although Wright finally retired the choir in 2018, Patrinell remains as a loving testament to her extraordinary career and the joy and spiritual solace her music brought to thousands.
Screening with: Destiny's Road,
Screenings
Producer
Tia Young
Editor
Andrew Elizaga
Featuring
Rev. Patrinell Wright
Unknown
KATYA PALLADINA

Tia Young
Producer; Co-Director Tia is a Seattle native who joined the Total Experience Gospel Choir as a young girl in 1975. Through the choir she made new friends, learned about African American culture, and traveled for first time. The experience opened her eyes to the possibilities of the world and showed her true friendship within the unity of gospel music: “Throughout all the music, choreography, and performances, I learned the art of giving your best in all you do through true discipline and dedication.” Patrinell: The Total Experience is Tia’s directorial debut.
Andrew Elizaga
Editor; Co-Director Andrew spent his teenage years reading Film Comment magazine and skipping school to watch films in Seattle’s art house cinemas. His documentary filmmaking career grew out of making short videos about sea kayaking, wooden boatbuilding, and traditional arctic kayaks.
Rev. Patrinell Wright
Rev. Patrinell Wright is a cultural icon, music legend, and matriarch in Seattle's black community. She had a brief career as a nightclub singer, sang at Jimi Hendrix's funeral, and is acclaimed as Seattle's “First Lady of Gospel.” In 1973 she founded a youth choir consisting of over 100 African American children called the “Total Experience Gospel Choir.” The highly popular choir inspired audiences all over the world and traveled to at least 38 states and 28 countries and won over 150 awards. Over the years the composition of the choir changed from almost all African American children to mostly white adults. Today Pastor Wright attributes her inability to achieve an authentic gospel sound on the lack of black voices in the present choir and the gentrification of the Central Area, Seattle’s historically black community.
KATYA PALLADINA
Director of Photography- Katya moved to the mild climate of the Pacific Northwest from the continental plains of Russia in 2001. Having a degree in industrial design from Stroganov Moscow State University of Arts and Industry, Katya is well versed in visual arts and is the art teacher at the independent Open Window School in Bellevue. Her father inspired in her a life-long interest in photography, which eventually lead her to filmmaking. Katya’s greater influences are works of Andrei Tarkovsky and the cinema verité style.
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