The Movies of Rolland Jacks

Knights of Swing movie poster

The Knights of Swing

It’s 1947 in post-war Southern California and big-band swing music is all the rage. Best friends, Gifford Williams and Nolan Edwards dream of expanding their combo, The Jammin’ Pajama Men, into a really swingin’ big band at their school, Castle High. They get one of their teachers to lead them, recruit a few more talented guys and gals, and form their dream band, The Knights of Swing.

Gifford and Nolan’s next big goal is that The Knights of Swing will become so good by the end of the school year they’ll win the California Battle of the Bands.  When the 3B’s, a girls’ vocal trio, begin singing with them, they’re well on their way. But they begin encountering obstacles and racially motivated road blocks when a parent, Mrs. Barlutski, for her own seemingly irrational reasons, tries to sabotage them.

However, Lou Arthur, principal of Castle High and a former jazz pianist, loves the band and all that it does for the kids, and puts his job on the line, sometimes using his arthurian powers as ‘King Arthur’ to keep Mrs. Barlutski from realizing her nefarious objectives. She is relentless though, driven by her own personal demons, and enlists other parents who create new problems every time Gifford and Nolan and the band solve an old one.

But Gifford and Nolan and The Knights of Swing are relentless, too. They refuse to give up and, against overwhelming odds, ultimately qualify to compete in the California Battle of the Bands. Living their dream is now within reach but their hopes are rocked by something they never saw coming. Their dream, what they’ve worked for all year,  now seems crushed. Beyond reach. Hopeless. But is it?

Forty-seven Days

Forty-Seven Days was first conceived as a contemplative song cycle. I composed seventeen songs, each about an event during Jesus’ last forty-seven days on earth, each introduced with the appropriate scripture. The goal was to record the songs and produce a CD that people could listen to and leisurely contemplate the significance of each event.

The songs begin with He Is Coming This Way, about Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem before He was crucified. It is followed by The Passover Lamb, in which Jesus explains that He is the perfect lamb of God, the Passover lamb, why he has come to earth and why he will die for the sins of humanity. Next is Jesus on the cross urging his mother not to look at him as he dies. Other songs follow with his final song telling his disciples goodbye.

Once these songs had been recorded my arranger, Emilio Palame, realized that a movie could be created around the songs and wrote a screenplay that includes scenes from both the contemporary and Biblical era. We expect filming to be completed by late August, 2023, and the film ready for distribution by  mid-December.

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