Juilliard School Documentary SOME KIND OF SPARK Premieres at DOC NYC

By: Oct. 17, 2014
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With children's music education sharply declining over 20% since 2001 (according to Music Educators National Conference), Ben Niles, director of the award-winning "Note By Note (The Making of Steinway L1037)," chronicles in his new feature-length documentary, SOME KIND OF SPARK, six kids (ages 8-12) from far reaches of New York City as they embark on a life- changing experience - the opportunity to study music in Juilliard's Music Advancement Program (MAP), a Saturday outreach program for students from communities that are underserved in the arts. Filmed over a 3-year period, SOME KIND OF SPARK intimately follows the students and their dedicated teachers and captures the budding and profound relationships building upon every lesson.

SOME KIND OF SPARK makes its World Premiere in the Metropolis Competition at the Fifth Annual DOC NYC, America's largest documentary film festival, on Sunday, Nov. 16 at 2:00pm at SVA Theatre. Niles will participate in a post-screening Q&A with the MAP students featured in the film.

"I've always been a big believer in music education and what they're doing over at MAP got me excited. They're changing lives through music. I wanted to try and make my own impact through this film," said Niles. "What better stage to hold the film's world premiere than in New York City at DOC NYC!"

With rare access to Juilliard's MAP program, SOME KIND OF SPARK paints a deeply intimate portrait of the students struggles to do well in school and in the program, allowing them to patiently tell their own stories. Spanning borders and ethnicities, gender and class, the film quietly but effectively, illuminates such pressing contemporary social issues as high poverty rates, low family literacy and weak school- family relationships. These kids go on a musical journey, both inspiring and very challenging. This is a new world for these children - many who have never even heard of Juilliard - and the demands are

high, even for beginners. Each child has his/her own conflicts and hurdles to overcome. From a first recital and stage fright, to a lack of practicing and dedication, to a shortage of funding for an instrument.

Ultimately, SOME KIND OF SPARK is about transformation - aiming to serve as an inspiration for other programs across the nation to nurture two of our most valuable national treasures: OUR CHILDREN and our musical heritage.

In order to channel additional funding toward music education, Ben Niles and Plow Productions will partner with museums, universities, symphonies and theaters to organize screenings for their community members and supporters. Plow Productions is also creating an innovative web space that will serve as a virtual stage for kids across the country to upload videos in which they showcase their musical talent and explain the importance of music to their lives.