Brothers Hypnotic Premieres on Independent LensMonday, April 7, 2014, on PBS

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(San Francisco, CA) — The eight young men who make up the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble are all sons of Phil Cohran, a legendary Chicago trumpeter who turned his back on commercial music to pursue astral jazz (with Sun Ra), proto-funk, and a passionately Afrocentric lifestyle. Cohran’s ultimate avant-garde experiment, however, are his own sons who were raised communally on Chicago’s South Side with Cohran and their two mothers, complete with homemade clothes, veganism, and alternative holidays. Starting at age four, the boys also joined the family band, learning to play the trumpet, tuba, drums, French horn, cornet, and trombone. Rehearsals began early each morning but, unlike the Jackson Five, Cohran’s sons were not bred for pop stardom. Instead they were taught to “create sounds to fuse with the body and heal the soul,” and to serve as an inspiration for the community. Meet these musical brothers in Reuben Atlas’s Brothers Hypnotic, premiering on Independent Lens, hosted by Stanley Tucci, on Monday, April 7, 2014, 10:00 - 11:00pm ET on PBS (check local listings)

Cohran’s “boys” are now young men in their 20s and 30s, and when they raise their horns, they make transcendent music that ties currents from jazz and funk to soul and hip-hop. But although they are working together as their father had hoped — whether playing for quarters in Times Square, negotiating with managers and record labels, or jamming with Mos Def and Prince — they find the unwavering ideals bred into them by their father repeatedly tested. Ultimately, they must decide whether his values will be their own. Brotherhood, whether biological or ideological, is never easy. 

Visit the Brothers Hypnotic companion website ( which features information about the film, including an interview with the filmmaker and links and resources pertaining to the film’s subject matter. The site also features a Talkback section for viewers to share their ideas and opinions, preview clips of the film, and more. 

Producer/Director: Reuben Atlas
Producer: Sam Pollard
Editor: Keiko Deguchi
Additional Editor: Paul Greenhouse
Cinematographers: Sean Porter, Ari Issler & Dan Fridman
Consulting Producers: David Van Taylor & Jamin Mendelsohn
Advisors: Bonnie Friedman & Doug Pray St. Clair Bourne 

About the Filmmaker
Reuben Atlas (Producer/Director/Cameraman) is a New York-based producer, director, and non-practicing lawyer. Brothers Hypnotic, which premiered at the SXSW Film Festival, is his first feature-length documentary. He has received support for the film from ITVS, the Jerome Foundation, the National Black Programming Consortium, the New York State Council on the Arts, and NTR Dutch TV. He has also worked at Legal Aid, at a maximum-security prison, and taught English in Costa Rica. He is currently working on a Sundance Institute and IDA-supported film about ACORN, as well as on a film about the world of rare wine. 

About Independent Lens
Independent Lens is an Emmy® Award-winning weekly series airing on PBS which recently won the 2013 Award for Best Continuing Series bestowed by the International Documentary Association (IDA).The acclaimed anthology series features documentaries united by the creative freedom, artistic achievement, and unflinching visions of independent filmmakers. Presented by Independent Television Service (ITVS), the series is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private corporation funded by the American people, with additional funding from PBS and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The senior series producer is Lois Vossen. More information at Join Independent Lens on Facebook at

Posted on January 30, 2014