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Directed by John Turner

United States 2015 78 mins.

With his sparking jeweled turban, organist Korla Pandit (1921-1998) was an alluring enigma, television pioneer, and the godfather of exotica music. Though he never spoke a word on any of the 900 episodes of his groundbreaking 1950s TV program, Korla nevertheless captured the hearts of countless Los Angeles housewives with his soulful, hypnotic gaze and theatrical performances, which expertly showcased both popular tunes and East Indian compositions on the newly developed Hammond B3 organ. In the ‘90s he resurfaced as a cult figure with tiki/lounge music aficionados and was immortalized in the 1994 film Ed Wood, Korla lived up to his reputation as a “man of mystery” by taking an amazing secret with him to his grave—a secret which the film Korla finally reveals. Among Korla’s musical admirers are Carlos Santana, Booker T. Jones and Steven Halpern, all of whom are interviewed in the film.

The Northwest Film Center recognizes and honors the Indigenous peoples of this region on whose ancestral lands the museum now stands. These include the Willamette Tumwater, Clackamas, Kathlemet, Molalla, Multnomah and Watlala Chinook Peoples and the Tualatin Kalapuya who today are part of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and many other Native communities who made their homes along the Columbia River. We also want to recognize that Portland today is a community of many diverse Native peoples who continue to live and work here. We respectfully acknowledge and honor all Indigenous communities—past, present, future—and are grateful for their ongoing and vibrant presence.