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MacGillivray Freeman Films and Brand USA Celebrate the Toronto Premiere of “America’s Musical Journey,” the Newest IMAX® Documentary Starring Grammy Award®-Nominated Singer and Songwriter Aloe Blacc

June 20, 2018 Visit USA No Comments Email Email

Brand USA, the destination marketing organization for the United States, and MacGillivray Freeman Films, have rejoined forces, along with global presenting sponsor Expedia Group, to introduce their second giant screen film, “America’s Musical Journey,” to audiences in Canada.  Starring Grammy Award®-nominated singer-songwriter Aloe Blacc, the film premieres in Toronto on Monday, June 18, at the Ontario Science Centre where attendees will also be treated to live performances. Vocal artist Calma Carmona, as seen in Brand USA’s new innovative “Hear the Music, Experience the USA” campaign, will take center stage to bring the cultural sounds of her city San Juan, Puerto Rico to life through a musical performance. Musicians, filmmakers, influencers, and government officials will also join the celebrations for the film’s official launch.

The Toronto premiere of “America’s Musical Journey” comes just four months after the film’s global release in February 2018 to a warm reception from critics and audiences alike in the USA, Mexico, and France. Uncovering the United States’ rich musical heritage, the film follows Aloe Blacc as he traces the USA’s unique musical roots, following the footsteps of Louis Armstrong through the colorful locales and cultures of the United States’ musical heritage. During the film, Blacc visits iconic music cities in the USA including New Orleans, La.; Chicago, Ill.; New York City, N.Y.; Nashville and Memphis, Tenn.; and Miami, Fla., exploring the collision of cultures that gave birth to American music genres such as jazz, blues, country, rock and roll, hip-hop, and more.

As audiences join Blacc on this joyful, tune-filled tour, they’ll experience adventures like paddle-wheel boating up the Mississippi Delta, flash mob dancing in Chicago, and skydiving with Elvis Presley impersonators over Memphis in scenes shot exclusively for the giant screen. Movie-goers will also meet other iconic artists, musicians, and innovators who are currently shaping American culture, including Jon Batiste, bandleader and musical director of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert;” Latin music icons Gloria and Emilio Estefan, and many more.

Academy Award®-nominated director Greg MacGillivray threads all these images together to create an immersive experience of culture and creativity with a soundtrack that showcases the United States’ passion for creative innovation at its purest. “America’s music has its roots in the diverse cultures that came together from different parts of the world, culminating in a unique blend of sound, culture, and innovation,” said MacGillivray. “This creativity and trailblazing spirit is what makes American music such a treasured experience around the world. I hope people are inspired to explore their own creativity after seeing the film.”

“Music is an essential part of the human experience, and I look forward to helping audiences discover the unique cultural influences that gave rise to jazz, the blues, folk, and other musical genres in the United States,” says Blacc. “I love the freedom of expression in this country, which is a source of creativity and innovation unlike anywhere else.”

Ranked first in international visitation to the United States, Canada remains one of the most important inbound markets for the United States. While the most popular itineraries include the New York, Florida, Washington, California, Nevada and Michigan, Canadian travelers are increasingly looking for opportunities to explore new people, places, and experiences beyond the major gateways. Being a bordering neighbor to the U.S., Canada also benefits from direct and frequent airline routes. According to the most recent forecast from National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO) at the U.S. Department of Commerce, the United States is expected to see a 22 percent increase in visitor volume over the next five years from Canada—from an 19.3 million visitors in 2016 to an estimated 23.5 million visitors in 2022.

“Canada is priority for Brand USA, and we are excited to bring this film to this important market where we can reach Canadian travelers on a deep level through the emotional power of music” said Christopher L. Thompson, president and chief executive officer of Brand USA. “This film provides a unique opportunity for us to showcase the diverse destinations, people, and experiences available in the United States to Canadian travelers through the captivating experience of the giant-screen and the universal language of music.”

“Music has the power to bring people together, especially here in the United States where diversity and creative freedom are such an important part of the culture,” says Shaun MacGillivray, producer of “America’s Musical Journey” and president of MacGillivray Freeman Films. “We’re using the immersive, visual giant-screen experience to tell the story of America’s musical and cultural heritage in a new and powerful way.”

“America’s Musical Journey” is a cornerstone of Brand USA’s marketing strategy to promote the United States as a world-class travel destination. Bringing a taste of local beats to the streets of Canada, Brand USA will work with Expedia Group to celebrate the musical heritage of iconic cities in the United States with surprise pop-up performances in high-traffic locations across the city. In addition, Brand USA will launch Interactive Billboards powered by Shazam at select locations, transporting consumers to the “America’s Musical Journey” website to find screenings, purchase tickets, and register for a chance to win a trip the United States.

“As a longtime online travel partner of Brand USA, we are honored to lend support and raise awareness as a global sponsor and exclusive online travel activation partner of this film,” said Wendy Olson Killion, global vice president of Expedia Group Media Solutions. “We believe music has the ability to inspire travelers from all over the world to explore new places and cultures.”

Leveraging the experiential nature of the giant screen to show travelers the nearly limitless experiences that the United States has to offer remains an integral part of Brand USA’s marketing strategies to drive international tourism to communities in all 50 states, five territories, and the District of Columbia. Brand USA’s first giant screen film, “National Parks Adventure,” now available on Netflix, was voted Best Film of the Year by the Giant Screen Cinema Association and became the highest grossing documentary film of 2016. The film is having a material impact on incremental visitation, per a March 2018 in-theatre study conducted by Brand USA, capturing insights from audiences in Toronto, Mexico City, Mumbai, and Paris. The study found 57 percent of film viewers expressed a strong positive impact on their opinion of the USA as a travel destination and 20 percent now plan to visit the USA as a result of watching the film.

“America’s Musical Journey” will play in select IMAX® and giant screen theaters across Canada. For a current list of theaters showing “America’s Musical Journey” in Canada, please click here. To discover more about the USA’s rich musical culture and the diversity of experiences the country has to offer, please visit Brand USA’s consumer website and follow Visit The USA onFacebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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