The Patrinell Team. From left to right: Andrew Elizaga, Katya Palladina, Pastor Patrinell Wright, and Tia Young.
In the spring of 2017, Katya and Andrew of Baby Seal Films presented a short documentary they made at a fundraiser for the Seattle-based nonprofit Shirts Across America. Pastor Patrinell “Pat” Wright was there and had graciously recorded a song specifically for the film, a haunting version of the Negro spiritual, “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen”.
Tia Young, the administrator for the Total Experience Gospel Choir, was impressed with the film and asked Katya and Andrew afterwards if they would be interested in making a documentary about the history of Pat Wright and the choir. The three of them immediately began work, filming choir rehearsals and performances as well as interviews with Pastor Pat, friends, family, and current and former choir members. With Pastor Pat’s permission to go through her personal collection of memorabilia, Tia uncovered a mountain of archival material including newspaper articles, photographs, audio recordings, and video.
How does one begin to tell the 45-year history of the illustrious Total Experience Gospel Choir, one of Seattle’s cultural treasures? Pat Wright, Seattle’s iconic “First Lady of Gospel”, is celebrated not only for her sublime voice and musical talent, but also for her activism in the African American community and for helping victims of Hurricane Katrina along the Gulf Coast, a humanitarian effort that continues to this day through the organization Shirts Across America. Pastor Pat took her choir to perform around the United States and the world. While it’s not possible to include all the extraordinary moments Pat and the choir have been through in the span of a feature film, we believe the stories that we have selected, told to us by Pastor Patrinell Wright herself and those closest to her, result in an revealing and intimate portrait worthy of a music legend.
Katya Palladina, Director of Photography
Andrew Elizaga, Co-Director
Tia Young, Producer, Co-Director
THE PATRINELL TEAM
TIA YOUNG, Producer/Co-Director
Tia Young, whose racial background is both Black and Indigenous, joined the Total Experience Gospel Choir as a young girl in 1975. Through the choir she made new friends, learned about African American culture, and traveled for first time. The experience opened her eyes to the possibilities of the world and showed her true friendship within the unity of gospel music: “Throughout all the music, choreography, and performances, I learned the art of giving your best in all you do through true discipline and dedication.”
ANDREW ELIZAGA, Co-Director/Editor
Andrew Elizaga spent his teenage years reading Film Comment magazine and skipping school to watch films in Seattle’s art house cinemas. His documentary filmmaking career grew out of making short videos about sea kayaking, wooden boatbuilding, and traditional arctic kayaks. In partnership with cinematographer Katya Palladina, he has completed a number of short films including three award-winning documentaries A Hospital in the Pines, Fake It Till You Make It, and Dancing With Hope.
KATYA PALLADINA, Director of Photography/Graphic Designer
Katya Palladina moved to the mild climate of the Pacific Northwest from the continental plains of Russia in 2001. Having a degree in industrial design from Stroganov Moscow State University of Arts and Industry, Katya is well versed in visual arts and is the art teacher at the independent Open Window School in Bellevue. Her father inspired in her a life-long interest in photography, which eventually lead her to filmmaking. Katya’s greater influences are works of Andrei Tarkovsky and the cinema verité style.
JOEL ELIZAGA, Sound recordist
Sound technician, web designer, and occasional third camera, Joel is pleased to be writing about himself in third person for the veneer of professional distance. Joel holds a degree in Informatics from the University of Washington in Seattle.