Forever [Izzy] Young


The Documentary

Forever [Izzy] Young stars American folk music legend Izzy Young, an iconic figure in the folk music revival of the 1960s. Izzy was the go-to man for starting a career in folk music in New York City. He helped launch the careers of Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Tim Buckley, and others. He introduced the world to the music of the blues legends of the South, fueling the budding rock-n-roll scene. At nearly 90 years old, Izzy still produces concerts at the Folklore Centrum in Stockholm, Sweden.

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The Story


The son of Jewish Polish immigrants who ran a bakery in Brooklyn, Izzy opened his Folklore Center on MacDougal Street in Greenwich Village in 1957. It quickly became the locus of the folk music community, where musicians and enthusiasts would stop by to buy supplies and records, hang out and find out what was going on, and leave and pick-up messages for each other. Izzy produced the first New York concerts of Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Emmylou Harris, Tim Buckley, and many others, including Patti Smith's first professional poetry reading. As a member of the Friends of Old Time Music, Izzy helped to bring the blues legends of the South to NY, helping to fuel the budding rock-in-roll scene in the US and England. In 1961, he organized a protest to allow folk musicians to continue to play in Washington Square Park on Sunday afternoons. He also kept meticulous notebooks, covering every detail of life in the folk music world in his tell-it-like it is, cutting manner. As an archivist, his recordings of events present a uniquely detailed view of this vital time in American history. In 1973, he moved to Stockholm Sweden, where at nearly 90-years-old, he continues to produce concerts at his Folklore Centrum.With no sense for business, Izzy's devotion to folk music comes entirely from the heart. He is a picaresque, unique, loud-mouthed, big-hearted soul, full of New York Jewish passion and occasional bluster. He has begun to receive long-overdue recognition, and his meticulous archives and journals were recently purchased by the Center for Folklife at the Library of Congress. 


Rebecca Seeman is a musician with wide ranging musical interests. She grew up playing folk guitar and Swedish folk dancing, and then became infatuated with the world of voice and classical music as a young adult. She holds a Bachelor's and Master's in Voice and Conducting from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Choral Conducting from the University of Iowa. She teaches in the Music Program at the University of San Francisco, where majors receive a degree in Performing Arts and Social Justice. She is also the director of Sacred and Profane Chamber Chorus in Oakland. She never lost her love of folk music and popular culture, and she is excited to share Izzy’s remarkable story.

Tamsin Orion is founder and principal of Tamzina Films, a full-service production company that creates films from conception to broadcast.  Tamzina Films produces documentaries on a variety of social issue and arts topics, as well as promotional, marketing and educational programs. Working as Producer, Director and Cinematographer, Tamsin has a wide-ranging knowledge of what it takes to turn real human stories into compelling film. Tamsin holds an M.A. in Documentary Filmmaking from Stanford University, and her films have won Telly, Cine Golden Eagle and NEMN awards.  They have screened at film festivals worldwide, and are in international distribution. 

Rebecca and Tamsin met at the Burning Man Festival in the Nevada desert, and quickly developed a strong connection over their mutual commitment to the arts. Tamsin was intrigued by Rebecca's stories about her friend Izzy Young, who waxed profane about his experiences with the great figures of folk, old time music, blues, jazz, and other arts in New York. Their journey with Izzy begins at the Folklore Centrum in Stockholm, where he has lived since 1973.

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So far our entire production has been self-financed. But we cannot afford to self-finance post-production. We know this film will have a huge audience – Izzy’s story appeals to so many communities – lovers of folk music, fans of Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Emmylou Harris, Tim Buckley, and others, people interested in New York history or the history of the 1960s and beyond. We plan to bring our film to festivals that focus on films about music, Jewish film festivals, New York film festivals, Scandinavian film festivals, and more. And we know this film will appeal to educational markets as well, as a fascinating slice of American history.  But we need your help to make it to the finish line. In order to pay for archival images, sound rights, and editing costs, we must reach our fundraising goal.  


We have lots of great gifts for you to thank you for your generosity, including a DVD of the completed film, a copy of a book of Izzy's unpublished beautiful and fun poems, a copy of a book of Izzy's unpublished writings about folk music, a copy of Tim Buckley's Live at the Folklore Center (his debut concert in New York), and more! 


Folk music is more than just pretty music with guitars. From the early years of the folk music revival, it has been a tool for radical political expression that has given voice to people who reject oppression and injustice of all kinds. The late 1950s through the 1960s saw just how powerful folk music could be in uniting people toward societal change. It created fertile ground for people of all cultures, backgrounds, and ethnicities to come together and fight for equal rights for all. As the central figures of the era reach their 70s, 80s, and beyond, we have begun to lose their perspectives on this exciting and vital time. We have been fortunate to spend time and film Izzy as he remains an energetic devotee of music and social justice, and to capture his invaluable memories and stories.  This is entertaining and important living history. With your help, we can get this wonderful story out to eager audiences world-wide. 


We have shot all of our footage, gathered most of our archival materials, and are ready to edit! We still need to pay for rights for some of the music and images we hope to use, but we have lots of fabulous music from our shoots with greats such as Pete Seeger, John Sebastian, Steve Earle, Happy Traum, Jim Kweskin, David Bromberg, Stefan Grossman, and others. After the edit and securing of final rights, we will be ready to submit to film festivals. With this fabulous story, great interviews, beautiful shots, gorgeous never-before-heard music, we know that this film has wings!Tamsin is a successful filmmaker who has made beautiful, poignant films. Rebecca is a successful conductor who knows how to get artistic projects to a wide audience.We have the expertise to make this project a success. We have a long way to go yet, and we're grateful for your help to get us there! 


Spread the word! Please share this campaign with your friends far and wide! Bob Dylan followers (and there are lots of those!) are often curious about what happened to Izzy Young. We are here to reveal that story to them, and they may be willing to help us do that. Help us find them all! Folk music communities are found throughout the world, and will be thrilled to see a film about a man who has been a dedicated promotor of both American and Swedish folk music for over 60 years. Help us tell them about our film! Izzy is an inspiration to us all, still working hard at nearly 90 years old. Help us reach out to people interested in maintaining a vital life into one's senior years! This film speaks to so many communities, but we need your help to make sure that all of those people have the opportunity to help this film be realized.Remember to share our campaign on your Facebook feed, invite friends to see the campaign through Facebook, share on your Instagram and Twitter accounts, and all other platforms you use.

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