We are currently in the process of submitting Patrinell: The Total Experience to film festivals for a year-long festival run and plan to have the film available for streaming online sometime in 2020. Please check in regularly for news about festival screenings, outtakes, and archival material from the film.
Patrinell: The Total Experience is a feature-length independent documentary film about Rev. Patrinell “Pat” Staten Wright, an extraordinarily gifted African-American gospel singer who grew up in the segregated South and now strives to maintain the world-famous Total Experience Gospel Choir that she has directed for 45 years in the rapidly changing, historically black neighborhood of Seattle’s Central District.
This is the true story of one woman’s journey to share faith and create community through music.
The Patrinell Team with former Total Experience Choir Member, singer/songwriter, and Grammy Nominee Ray Dalton. (From left to right: Joel Elizaga, Tia Young, Ray Dalton, and Katya Palladina. Not shown: Andrew Elizaga.)
We are often asked how we all got involved in making this film. In the spring of 2017, Katya and Andrew of Baby Seal Films attended a fundraiser for Shirts Across America where they presented a short documentary they made about the organization’s relief effort in New Orleans. Pastor Patrinell “Pat” Wright had graciously recorded a song specifically for the film, a haunting version of the Negro spiritual, “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen”.
The administrator for the Total Experience Gospel Choir, Tia Young, asked Katya and Andrew afterwards if they would be interested in making a film about the history of Pat Wright and the choir. They immediately began work, attending choir rehearsals and performances, filming interviews with Pastor Pat and her friends and family, as well as current and former choir members. Tia came up with a mountain of archival material to sort through, including newspaper articles, photographs, audio recordings, and video.
How does one begin to tell the 45-year history of the Total Experience Gospel Choir? Pat Wright, Seattle’s “First Lady of Gospel”, has been called a “matriarch”, “icon”, and legend”. She is known 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 which she inspired.
It is an honor and privilege to have been chosen to make this film. Consistent with the way Pat Wright has managed the choir, this film is an entirely volunteer effort, funded by donations, and ultimately dependent on the fans of the choir for its success. If you happen to be a former member of the choir and are interested in becoming involved, we invite you to send us any interesting old photographs or video of the choir, or simply spread the word and let your friends and family know about our project and invite them to follow the movie’s progress on our page. Thank you!
Katya Palladina, Director of Photography
Andrew Elizaga, Co-Director
Tia Young, Producer, Co-Director
Rev. Patrinell Wright and co-director Andrew Elizaga
THE PATRINELL TEAM
TIA YOUNG, Producer/Co-Director
Tia is a Seattle native who 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’s passion for indie documentary filmmaking grew from making short videos about sea kayaking, wooden boatbuilding, and traditional arctic kayaks. In partnership with photographer 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 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.