What prompted you to make “Play: The Documentary”?
I wanted to make my first feature film, a documentary, something that I was passionate about. Music has always been at the core of my passion throughout my entire life. I am not a professional musician now but I understand that the music classes I had in school growing up helped create the well-rounded person I am today. I want to help make sure children will always have the chance to play music.
Why is it important to keep music education in schools?
Music is a very important tool to teach children while they are developing. Singing and playing songs in a group or class together forces the child to have to listen and commit to being a part of something. Performing in front of other students, teachers, and parents builds self-esteem and confidence that cannot be matched by any other form of education. There are so many benefits to music education, it’s amazing that so many schools in the U.S. stripped down their music programs over the past 13 years.
Who were some of the inspirational people you met while making this film?
Really everyone in the film is in some way inspiring. They are all amazing musicians. The one that stood out to me was David Wish from Little Kids Rock, a nonprofit organization. He was an elementary school teacher whose school took away their music programs, so he started teaching music in his class as part of his everyday routine. David founded Little Kids Rock to help get instruments back into the hands of public school students across the U.S. You see in the film that they have now donated thousands of instruments to schools all over the U.S. and continue to grow and help provide access every day. Just being around David in San Francisco at their summer concert was amazing. He truly walks the walk in doing anything he can to help make a positive impact on his students. This inspired me to want to make a very positive film.
What have been the positive outcomes and responses to “Play: The Documentary”?
We have screened the film in six theaters independently including Sedona, Long Beach, and Salt Lake City. Four sold out screenings in Phoenix at FilmBar that included the VIP screenings awarded through our successful Kickstarter. The film was an Official Selection at the 2016 Phoenix Film Festival. We recently signed with an independent distributor to help us host more screenings in theaters that benefit music nonprofits in the U.S. Each official screening benefits local music nonprofits directly from the ticket sales. It is our goal to give this film to nonprofits to be used as a fundraising event to help keep music in public schools.