Three Musicians Strive To Live Out Their Dreams In Slice-of-life Documentary NEW YORK SCHERZO
How far would you go to achieve your dream? It's the survival of the arts for Sam Quiggins, Tim Cho and Mathieu Dunoyer whose everyday lives are chronicled in a raw month-to-month portrayal of camaraderie, sacrifice, and a love of the craft. Right here, in the dog-eat-dog concrete jungle that is New York City, French-American Director Shaan Couture followed around three starving artists in their 20s trying to live out their wish to make it as professional musicians in the feature-length documentary New York Scherzo.
See New York Scherzo on Friday, February 15, 2019 in the 7:00pm - 9:15pm screening block at Cinema Village (22 East 12th Street) as part of New York City's 8th Annual Winter Film Awards International Film Festival. Winter Film Awards' Lianna Albrizio recently spoke with director Shaan Couture about the film.
While a career in the arts isn't the most practical career path, these three young men - all graduates of top New York music schools and universities - burn with a passion for classical music which they use as their fuel to focus their time and energy on living out their wildest dreams. This is the ultimate sacrifice in a world where people revolve their lives around making a living that they forget to live.
"We live in a very money-driven world," explained Couture. "When we're young and we're developing, making a living, [paying] rent, and even thinking about having a family at one point, we think about what we want to do and what we're good at and being responsibly and financially all right. For me, we get lost."
As a hopeful filmmaker herself whose father is lauded French singer CharlElie Couture, she saw this documentary as a chance not only to expose the lives of three aspiring musicians who stay true to what they want out of life, but to shine a spotlight on her own cinematic talents and those of her editor and co-writer, Alix C. Duchene.
In this slice-of-life documentary she shot with a Canon C100 over the course of Fall 2016 into the Summer 2017, which she calls New York Scherzo, Couture profiles three musicians whose backgrounds are as diverse as their personalities.
Tim Cho, a Korean-American, is a violinist and a doctoral student in music studies and conducting who aspires to be a professional conductor and game-changer of classical music. He is the level-headed insightful one out of the bunch who splits his time between making money teaching students of the Manhattan School of Music, his alma mater, and conducting several orchestras including the Bergen Philharmonic in New Jersey.
Paris-born Mathieu Dunoyer, a pianist and music producer, made the move to New York City in 1992. A holder of a Master of Music degree from New York University, Mathieu is the no-nonsense, street smart, charismatic, and sometimes unapologetically foul-mouthed one out of the group, jokingly referred to as "The Godfather" who relishes forging friendships and establishing connections. Networking, he believes, is paramount to making things happen. After all, "those who sacrifice freedom for security deserves fucking neither," he cheekily says into the camera. Mathieu is tickled by everything from the whimsy of a beef scene between cat and mouse in Tom and Jerry in which the cat plays Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody on the piano, to the rapture of Chopin and Rachmaninoff.
Sam Quiggins is a NASHVILLE native and cellist who has played in multiple bands including Kristen Estelle and The Heartstrings, The Apartment Sessions, Pink Martini, and most recently with Dolly Parton during The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. He was never interested in the conventional education in school; it was individual projects that he felt the most creative and compelled to perform.
In between finding their place as musicians and lugging their instruments in the frigid city streets where friendship is loose and money is tight, they never forget to have fun, and never take themselves too seriously. The film is a gift to the talented young folk out there whom Couture hopes will become inspired to think twice before giving up on any dream that they may have. Rather, to have the grit to go for it, no matter the circumstance.
"I want to support their mission and their life," said Couture of the guys. "Not to be recognized, but to show other people to keep doing what you love. Keep practicing, follow your heart, and if you work, it will pay off and you will be happy not only financially, but you will be happy you pushed and didn't let it go."
By Lianna Albrizio. Lianna Albrizio is a seasoned journalist and editor passionate about covering all facets of the arts from film to books, music and food. She loves interviewing people and spreading the word about their amazing work for all to enjoy.
About Winter Film Awards
New York City's 8th Annual Winter Film Awards International Film Festival runs February 14-23-2019. Check out a jam-packed lineup of 89 fantastic films in all genres from 32 countries, including shorts, featuers, Animation, Drama, Comedy, Thriller, Horror, Documentary and Music Video. Hollywood might ignore women and people of color, but Winter Film Awards celebrates everyone!
Winter Film Awards is an all volunteer, minority- and women-owned registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization founded in 2011 in New York City by a group of filmmakers and enthusiasts. The program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and the NY State Council on the Arts.