'Sweet Sisters of Zion' doc celebrates the Barrett Sisters

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The Barrett Sisters

DeLois Barrett Campbell -- leader of the legendary Barrett Sisters gospel trio -- with her her sisters, Billie Barrett Green Bey (left) and Rodessa Barrett Porter (right). (Alex Garcia, Chicago Tribune / March 8, 2006)

Having completed the project, though, filmmaker Rene and the Barrett family are attempting to figure out what to do with it.

"We're trying to see how to get some television rights going," says Rene, who's now working at BET (Black Entertainment Television) in Atlanta on the show "Let's Stay Together." "We're looking into possibilities for BET or whatever is out there."

Above all, the film – which had its first screening last month at the Life Center Church of God in Christ at 5500 S. Indiana Ave. – needs to be seen on television and in art-film theaters in Chicago, the birthplace of the modern gospel era.

Beyond that, "We want to get it to some of the film festivals," says Mary A. Campbell, daughter of Delois Barrett Campbell. "We're also interested in getting it to some of the major Chrisitian (television) networks."

For now, gospel fans can purchase the DVD of the film at barrettsistersonline.com.

"I would like for it to have a life," says director Rene, "maybe as a companion piece to 'Say Amen, Somebody.'

"I want the world to see it."

And the world very much needs to.

Farewell Ed Bland

Ed Bland, who was born in Chicago in 1926 and grew up on the South Side, did not like boundaries. As reedist-composer, he worked in jazz, funk, classical, television and film. As visionary, he produced the 1959 short film "The Cry of Jazz," its edgy cinematography paired with bracing social commentary.

Bland died March 14 in his home in Smithfield, Va., at age 86, after having been diagnosed with cancer, according to the Smithfield Times. Funeral arrangements will be private, according to the Times.

To read more from Howard Reich on jazz, go to chicagotribune.com/reich.

hreich@tribune.com

Twitter @howardreich

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