or


[12/03/10 - 08:07 AM]
HBO2 Documentary "Top Ten Monks" Debuts Dec. 22
The film track the story of "a small group of Cistercian monks in Austria made music history recently when their album of Gregorian chant climbed England's pop charts."

[via press release from HBO]

"TOP TEN MONKS" TELLS THE STORY OF CISTERCIAN MONKS WHOSE RECORDINGS OF GREGORIAN CHANT MADE THEM AN INTERNATIONAL MUSIC SENSATION WHEN THE DOCUMENTARY DEBUTS DEC. 22 ON HBO2

They rise at 4:30 every morning. They pray more than six hours a day. They've devoted their lives to God. And they're pop stars.

A small group of Cistercian monks in Austria made music history recently when their album of Gregorian chant climbed England's pop charts, landing in the Top Ten for two months and selling more than a million copies worldwide. Directed by Dana Perry (HBO's "Boy Interrupted"), the documentary TOP TEN MONKS takes an unprecedented look at the daily lives of these unlikely celebrities, who rarely allow cameras inside their walls, when it debuts WEDNESDAY, DEC. 22 (8:00-8:30 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO2.

Other HBO2 playdates: Dec. 25 (6:30 p.m.) and Jan. 2 (8:00 a.m.), 7 (6:00 a.m.), 19 (9:00 p.m.), 22 (8:00 a.m.) and 31 (11:30 a.m.)

The story of the monks' success began when Universal Music noticed an increase in back catalogue sales of Gregorian chant, and placed ads in notable Catholic newspapers searching for the most beautiful sacred voices. Father Karl of Stift Heiligenkreuz Abbey, a 12th-century monastery near Vienna, sent the company a link to a website and a YouTube video of the monks' singing, which Tom Lewis, artist development manager at Universal, calls "some of the most beautiful Gregorian chant we heard."

Sung in Latin, the official language of the Roman Catholic Church, Gregorian chant is composed in a free musical rhythm that rises and falls in accord with the inner meaning of each piece. The peaceful and otherworldly - to some ears "eerie" - tonality of Gregorian chant, and its free rhythm, make it the perfect musical form for unfolding the meaning of the sacred texts that are sung in it.

While a monk's primary activity is prayer, which the monks of Stift Heiligenkreuz have engaged in for 900 years, TOP TEN MONKS dives deeply into their everyday lives, dispelling misconceptions about life in a monastery. Rather than a place of constriction and monotony, Stift Heiligenkreuz Abbey enables the monks to strive for lives that are open and calm, healthy and happy. These monks are fully engaged in the modern world, using technologies such as cell phones and the Internet, as well as running a number of businesses, including a gas station and a sawmill.

Their sudden celebrity finds them in the headlines and on TV, but the monks are not inspired by money or fame, believing that for many people, Gregorian chant are an escape from and an answer to the pressures of modern life. Father Karl explains, "The music not only calms, it also gives strength. It has an emotional dimension. It is joy and fear, praise and mourning, jubilation and thanksgiving." He also believes that many people "find it interesting, cool and exotic when they see monks in long white robes, praying together and singing in Latin."

Explaining the monks' popularity, Tom Lewis says, "There's a lot of people out there whose musical appetites aren't necessarily being served by popular culture. And when something fresh comes along, the appetite for it is incredibly strong."

Dana Perry is a noted documentary filmmaker whose HBO documentary "Boy Interrupted" premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. She also executive produced the four-part documentary series "Sex: The Revolution." With husband and partner Hart Perry, she previously produced and directed "The Drug Years" (2006), a four-hour documentary exploration of illicit drugs and popular culture. Nominated for two IDA Awards and a Prism Award, "The Drug Years" received a Cine Golden Eagle, Telly Award and High Times "Stony" Award, and was exhibited at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival and the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival.

TOP TEN MONKS is a Perry Films Production; produced and directed by Dana Perry; director of photography, Hart Perry; original score, Michael Bacon; senior editor, Jennifer McGarrity; editor, Alyse Ardell Spiegel. For HBO: senior producer, Nancy Abraham; executive producer, Sheila Nevins.





  [december 2010]  
S
M
T
W
T
F
S
   


· SHOWATCH
(series past and present)
· DEVWATCH
(series in development)
· MOVIEWATCH
(tv movies and mini-series)





[05/26/17 - 12:31 PM]
Senators-Penguins Game 7 Double-OT Thriller on NBCSN Averages More Than 3 Million Viewers
NBCSN spins the numbers for Thursday, May 25.

[05/26/17 - 10:01 AM]
Disney XD's "Star vs. The Forces of Evil" Two-Hour TV Movie Event to Premiere Saturday, July 15
Season three of the fan-favorite and Annie Award-nominated series is slated to debut this fall.

[05/26/17 - 09:07 AM]
"Into the Badlands" Closes Its Second Season as a Top Scripted Series on Cable
AMC further spins the numbers for the series to date.

[05/26/17 - 08:36 AM]
NBC's 10 P.M. "The Red Nose Day Special" #1 in Timeslot in 18-49 and Improves on Last Year's Telecast by 40% in Demo and 27% in Total Viewers
NBC spins the numbers for Thursday, May 25.

[05/25/17 - 11:55 PM]
3rd Annual Red Nose Day Raises Over $35 Million for Children in Need, Top Stars Join NBC's Night of Red Nose Day Programming & Live Special
The donation total was calculated after the broadcast finished airing on the West Coast.

[05/25/17 - 03:59 PM]
Video: Netflix Reveals Trailer and Key Art for CounterPunch
The film brings to light the true stories of a number of young boxers determined not only to turn around the fate of the industry, but to also make sure their names end up in the firmament alongside the most remembered and revered champions.

[05/25/17 - 03:50 PM]
Top Ninja Warriors Will Show Off Their Strength on NBC's Annual Three-Hour Special "USA vs. The World" Airing Sunday, June 4 (8-11 PM ET/PT)
Matt Iseman and Akbar Gbajabiamila are set to host and Kristine Leahy will co-host.

[05/25/17 - 02:36 PM]
ABC Wins Its 4th Consecutive May in Adults 18-49, Delivering Its Longest Winning Streak for the Sweep in Over 25 Years
ABC further spins the numbers for the May sweeps period.

[05/25/17 - 02:32 PM]
Production Team for "69th Primetime Emmys" Announced
Glenn Weiss and Ricky Kirshner of White Cherry Entertainment will executive produce this year's telecast.

[05/25/17 - 01:27 PM]
Video: First Look at Ludacris in MTV's "Fear Factor"
The series returns this Tuesday, May 30 at 10:00/9:00c.

[05/25/17 - 11:59 AM]
Rubber Hits the Road on the New Season of CNBC's "Jay Leno's Garage" Premiering Wednesday, June 28th
Celebrity guests this season include President George W. Bush and Laura Bush, Ted Koppel, Wanda Sykes, Michael Strahan, Brad Garrett, Josh Duhamel, J. B. Smoove, among others.

[05/25/17 - 10:59 AM]
History Orders Robert Zemeckis Scripted Drama Series "Blue Book"
"Blue Book" chronicles the true top secret United States Air Force-sponsored investigations into UFO-related phenomena in the 1950's and 60's known as "Project Blue Book."

[05/25/17 - 10:46 AM]
Summer Is Blazing Hot with "Teen Choice 2017" Live Sunday, August 13, on FOX
For 19 years, the special has presented performances and appearances by some of pop culture's brightest stars.

[05/25/17 - 10:30 AM]
The Avengers Return for an Action-Packed One-Hour "Marvel's Avengers: Secret Wars" Season Four Premiere on Saturday, June 17, on Disney XD
Picking up right after the events of season three "Ultron Revolution," the fourth season finds Tony Stark trapped in another dimension.

[05/25/17 - 10:04 AM]
"Legends of Chamberlain Heights" Returns for Season Two on Sunday, June 18 at 11:30 P.M. ET/PT on Comedy Central
"Legends of Chamberlain Heights" is an urban animated series mixing raucous comedy and social commentary that centers on three high school freshman basketball benchwarmers.