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)





[09/16/14 - 03:07 PM]
Lifetime Announces Premiere Dates for "Project Runway All Stars" and "Project Runway: Threads"
Alyssa Milano hosts the former series, which returns Thursday, October 30 at 9:00/8:00c.

[09/16/14 - 03:06 PM]
"Monday Night Football" Helps ESPN Win the Night among All Networks
ESPN spins the numbers for Monday, September 15.

[09/16/14 - 02:31 PM]
GSN and Jerry Springer Taking "Baggage on the Road" in New Traveling Spinoff of Hit Dating Game Show "Baggage"
"It's hard to be shocked in my line of work, but I'm continually amazed at how revealing the contestants on the show have been," says Springer.

[09/16/14 - 02:00 PM]
Nomination Period for Fourth Annual "Fox Writer's Intensive" Begins Today
Nominations can be submitted by one of the FWI's partnering organizations or through submission by talent agents and management companies.

[09/16/14 - 01:20 PM]
Equestrian Coverage on NBCSN Highlighted by Central Park Grand Prix Live Thurs., Sept. 18 at 7 PM ET
The event features some of the world's top show jumpers including U.S. Champion Kent Farrington and Olympic gold medalists McLain Ward and Laura Kraut in a $200,000 FEI world ranking class.

[09/16/14 - 01:18 PM]
"Ray Donovan" Delivers Highest Rated Episode & Night Ever!
Showtime spins the numbers for Sunday, September 14.

[09/16/14 - 01:04 PM]
Season Three Finale of History's "Mountain Men" Hits 3.0 Million Total Viewers, Ranking as Cable's Top Show for the Night
History spins the numbers for Sunday, September 14.

[09/16/14 - 12:37 PM]
Mark Feuerstein Joins "Nurse Jackie"
He will play Barry Wolfe, a high-powered, cutthroat lawyer who will represent Jackie as she pieces her life back together following her arrest last season.

[09/16/14 - 12:07 PM]
"Ebola: Inside the Deadly Outbreak" to Simulcast On Discovery Channel and Discovery Fit & Health Thursday Sept. 18 at 10PM
The one-hour premiere special is a comprehensive look into the history, containment, and medical implications of this highly infectious disease.

[09/16/14 - 12:04 PM]
Adult Swim Ranks #1 Among Basic Cable Networks for Total Day Delivery of Adults 18-24 & 18-34 for the Second Week Of September
Turner spins the numbers for the week of September 8-14.

[09/16/14 - 10:45 AM]
Bears-49ers on NBC's "Sunday Night Football" Is NFL's Most-Watched West Coast Sunday Primetime Game Ever
NBC further spins the numbers for Sunday, September 14.

[09/16/14 - 10:31 AM]
Famed Wire Walker Nik Wallenda to Attempt His Most Challenging Tightrope Walk Yet Over the Chicago Skyline Untethered
"Skyscraper Live with Nik Wallenda" will air live around the world in over 220 countries beginning at 7 PM ET/4 PM PT, Sunday, November 2 on the Discovery Channel.

[09/16/14 - 10:18 AM]
Spike TV Travels the Infamous Silk Road to Develop New Drama, "Deep Web," From Tony Krantz and Gary Oldman's Flying Studio Pictures
The project is the incredible saga of an ambitious computer aficionado in Silicon Valley who, with the help of his friends, evolves into an internet underworld crime boss fueled by a web portal where one can buy anything - from a kidney to cocaine to a rocket-launcher.

[09/16/14 - 10:13 AM]
CMT Heads Back to the Bayou This Fall with the Return of "Swamp Pawn" and "Swamp Hunters" Beginning Saturday, October 11 at 9 PM, ET/PT
A special crossover episode of the two series will premiere Saturday, November 8 at 9:00 p.m., ET/PT.

[09/16/14 - 09:53 AM]
Video: Tuesday's Are Getting a Little Happier When MTV's New Series "Happyland" Premieres on September 30 at 11:00 PM ET/PT
The project is a soapy teen dramedy exploring the underbelly of one of the country's most popular theme parks, going behind the scenes to reveal the not so magical reality of the park workers.