Kansas native and rookie producer aims to take upcoming documentary Over the Rainbow.
NEW YORK, NY October 23, 2017 — Filmmakers Ryan Jay and Aaron Harburg announced today the appointment of J. Basil Dannebohm as executive producer of, “Song of the Century,” a new documentary film revealing how “Over the Rainbow ” came to be and detailing its ongoing legacy; beyond Oz, crossing all cultures and generations, inspiring hope in the best of what the world can be.
“Basil demonstrated a love of ” Over the Rainbow” that was immediately palpable,” said producer Aaron Harburg. “His extensive expertise across multiple industries, especially in public relations and media, made him a perfect fit to ensure the project would come to fruition.”
Harburg is the great-grandson of Yip Harburg, the Oscar winning lyricist who penned “Over the Rainbow” and the other iconic songs from “The Wizard of Oz.” Yip’s songbook also includes familiar classics such as “Brother Can You Spare a Dime,” “April in Paris,” and “Paper Moon.” For over a decade, Aaron has been producing video and media for the technology sector. His clientele has included everything from small startups to fortune 500 companies like Mercedes Benz, as well as major federal agencies such as the United States Environmental Protection Agency. He has produced a number of short films included a winner of the LA Independent Film Festival.
“Our movie is a passion project, a labor of love, inspired by the opportunity to share with the widest audience possible, the last untold story about the making of “The Wizard of Oz,”” said “Song of the Century” director, Ryan Jay. “When Aaron & I met Basil, we instantly clicked on all levels. His interest in Oz is only surpassed by his impressive resume. We are proud to have him on our team.”
As a producer and director, Jay has worked on major pop culture programming for networks such as Bravo, Showtime, MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, among others. He is one of America’s most popular nationally syndicated TV & radio film critics. Inspired since childhood by his favorite film, “The Wizard of Oz,” Ryan has become recognized as an Oz historian, interviewing the casts and filmmakers of many Oz films, publishing articles, and presenting multimedia lectures, celebrating the legacy of Oz, to audiences from around the world at comic cons, universities, theaters and museums.
“The Wizard of Oz” is among the most viewed and best – loved films in history, featuring the crown jewel of all movie songs: “Over the Rainbow.” It is ranked the “Number 1 Song of the Twentieth Century” by the Recording Industry Association of America and the National Endowment for the Arts.
This will be Dannebohm’s first time serving in the role of executive producer. Over the course of his career as a writer, speaker, and consultant, the Honorable J. Basil Dannebohm worked with an international clientele from a broad range of industry including: technology, real estate, radio, television, newspapers, magazines, religious and non-profit organizations, film festivals, tourism and entertainment venues.
Accustomed to a fast paced, jet setter, on-the-go lifestyle, Basil’s way of life took a dramatic turn in the summer of 2012 when he was diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease.
Trading the corporate world for his, “new normal,” Dannebohm focused his attention on speaking engagements where he would address such topics as economic development, social media engagement, and collaborative approaches to business and community. Basil’s presentations have been enjoyed by audiences nationwide. Known for his straight forward candor and often humorous approach, he has a distinct style of presentation that’s anything but boring.
In 2015, he briefly served in the Kansas House of Representatives, representing the 113th District. While his time in politics was cut short due to his health, Representative-Emeritus Dannebohm stood for his convictions and his constituents, even when it meant going against the “platform.” His political career caused Basil to be admired by some and sharply criticized by others. From his point of view, the experience could either be a stumbling block or a stepping stone in life’s journey he chose the latter.
“Needless to say, I’m honored to be presented with this opportunity, and at the same time, aware of the massive undertaking of such a project,” said Dannebohm. “The song “Over the Rainbow” has been covered by countless major artists in the last century. It is, in essence, more than a song – it’s an international anthem, known and loved around the world. For me, this project is beyond special, it’s personal.”
Born and raised in Kansas, the project has particularly special meaning to Dannebohm, who considers Dorothy Gale, “The beloved daughter of the Sunflower State.”
Harburg and Jay are bringing Dannebohm up to speed on the project already in production. As filming moves forward, the team will lean on Dannebohm’s expertise to ensure a successful roll-out.
“We’re lucky to have Basil,” said Jay. “He has this uniquely special gift to make amazing things happen. For a documentary about a magical song, we needed a magical man – we’ve found that in Basil.”
For more information about the documentary, visit www.songofthecentury.com