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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

ODU Alum Drumming Up Support for Documentary

By Sherry DiBari

Filmmaker Trevor Banks '09, is using crowdfunding to finish production of "Give The Drummer Some," a feature-length documentary about the life and influence of drumming pioneer Clyde Stubblefield.

Banks raised nearly $21,000 on the crowdfunding platform, Seed&Spark. The fundraising campaign ended May 5.

Stubblefield, the former drummer for James Brown, transcended the genre of funk music that he helped pioneer.

"The revolutionary breakbeat he played on a record called "Funky Drummer" made Stubblefield one the most sampled musicians in history, and in turn became a cornerstone during the evolution of hip-hop," Banks explained.

Stubblefield was named as one of the greatest drummers in history by Rolling Stone magazine and LA Weekly.

Banks, who majored in communication with an emphasis on film and video production, came to Old Dominion University on full soccer scholarship.

"For me, I couldn't pass up on the opportunity to not only compete for a top-20 program in the nation, but simultaneously earn an education in a field that I was equally passionate about pursuing," he said.

At that time, the film department was just beginning to expand.

"It was clear to me that the faculty and University were committed to creating an elite program that can be categorized as one of the best in the country," he said. "I gained a foundational understanding of what it takes to be successful in this industry, and lessons I still apply in my work to this day."

"It is exciting to see our students find success in their chosen professions and to do work they find meaningful," said Avi Santo, associate professor and chair of the Department of Communications and Theatre Arts. "Mr. Banks' accomplishments will inspire a future generation of documentarians and non-fiction storytellers,"

Banks began the project on Stubblefield in 2015. In addition to capturing some of Stubblefield's final interviews, performances and medical treatments, Banks filmed interviews with some of Stubblefield's former bandmates including John "Jabo" Starks, Fred Wesley, Fred Thomas and funk icon George Clinton.

"ODU cinema and TV production majors learn not only the artistic and technical craft to become documentary filmmakers, but also the research skills necessary to create documentary films," said David Mallin, director of ODU's film Program and associate professor of communication and theatre arts.

Stubblefield died from kidney failure in 2017.

"I'm beyond committed to telling his story and ensuring that his legacy as a pioneer and innovator becomes cemented within American music history," Banks said.

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