The Life of Pianist, William DeVan, Set for Featured Documentary
Billed as "The greatest concert Pianist that you have probably never heard of", a feature length documentary about the life of William DeVan is being made by filmmaker, Michael Gordon. The feature length documentary titled, "Nothing To Fall Back Upon", is a real life story about music, passion, dreams and striving to overcome everything in pursuit and against all odds.
"What most people don't know, is that William DeVan grew up dirt poor in the Black Belt of Alabama. Realizing his talent at an early age, William's mother believed in him so strongly that she sold everything to buy William a piano. It was a decision that not only paid off, but also would soon bring the classical piano world a highly talented artist. By the age of 15, DeVan was selected to perform with the Chicago Symphony under the conductorship of Arthur Fiedler (not a student performance but he was the soloist.) and was also one of only five students accepted to Juilliard the first year he applied. To afford and attend the prestigious school, DeVan moved in and took care of his aging aunt in New Jersey where he washed dishes, cleaned the house and performed multiple other chores in exchange for room and board," stated Michael Gordon, of Big Fat Monster Films.
While life was full of obstacles, it was also full of great accomplishments. DeVan is the only American to take first prize at the Vianna da Motta International Music Competition, where Emmanuel Axe place 3rd in the next edition of the prize. Devan also beat 5 major Russian pianists (reportedly one was shipped off to Siberia after the competition). As a result of the competition DeVan toured Portugal during the Carnation Revolution, which deposed the fascist Dictator Estado Novo. During that time, DeVan was forced to practice in the basement of the American Embassy where he could be protected.
In addition to winning numerous awards and appearing in concerts around the globe, DeVan holds the prestigious distinction of being one of twelve "Steinway Presenters" in the world.
Through his selflessness, Devan made the choice to share the gift of music with others in an effort to give back to those who couldn't afford to play. In recognition of William DeVan's extraordinary talent and amazing life, Michael Gordon is determined to share DeVan's story in his new documentary. "Nothing To Fall Back Upon" traverses multiple countries as it tells the story of world renowned concert pianist William DeVan through the eyes of his students: conductors, composers and socialites. Included are BAFTA award winning composer and owner of Nightbird Studios in Beverly Hills, Jed Leiber; Classical Conductor and Dean of Music at Bard College, James Bagwell; Socialite Patron of the Arts and Fashion Designer Christophe DeMenil; as well as a number of other friends and students of William.