Teaching the Life of Music
A Film by David New
Narrated by Cory Monteith
Produced by Noemi Weis
Invite-only Screening 6:00pm November 28, 2011
Isabel Bader Theatre, 93 Charles St. W.
with special guest Liona Boyd
World Broadcast Premiere on OMNI Television January 2012
Teaching the Life of Music
is a one hour television documentary, available in English and Spanish.
It is produced by Filmblanc with the participation of OMNI Television’s
Independent Producer’s Initiative fund, a division of Rogers Communications.
Teaching the Life of Music follows El Sistema, a tremendously successful music organization that has transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of children from violent and impoverished environments by giving them healthy lives, driven with passion and discipline, through music education.
El Sistema’s mission is to promote the collective practice of music through symphony orchestras and choruses; their powerful model has influenced other programs like it in Ottawa and Toronto, and cities around the world. It has proven to positively impact not only the children it reaches, but also their communities.
Teaching the Life of Music focuses on El Sistema’s impact in Canada, the U.S., and Scotland, where individuals have started their own organizations, based with the same goals as El Sistema, to attract kids from the lowest income brackets in their respective countries. To date, this has provoked widespread social change, and has inspired many others with the El Sistema model and the universal power of music. With this film, it can only bring more awareness, trigger the need to include more music education in schools, and motivate individuals and governments to recognize the effectiveness of programs like El Sistema in enriching the lives of our most vulnerable citizens, our children.
Founded 36 years ago by Maestro José Antonio Abreu, El Sistema has to-date successfully reached over 350,000 children. One of their most famous graduates is Gustavo Dudamel, the celebrated young musical director of the L.A. Philharmonic Orchestra. It was he who conducted the monumental performance at Toronto’s Roger’s Centre by the El Sistema’s Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra (SBYO) – the same orchestra that performed in Toronto earlier in the year and who received the Glenn Gould Prize; considered to be the musical equivalent of the Nobel Prize – and sections of this concert are part of the footage in the documentary.
“What caught my interest about Teaching The Life Of Music and El Sistema was the transformational effect music made on the children,” says Narrator and Actor Cory Monteith, “and how that transcends boundaries, languages, cultures, and borders, with a huge effect. This musical education can be reproduced anywhere in the world, and can change a child’s life forever.”
ABOUT THE CONCERT
The one hour concert that is part of Teaching the Life of Music was produced by Lenz Entertainment. This concert was the culminating performance for the Glenn Gould Prize Celebration of Music Week and Education, and consisted of 250 young musicians from The Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra (SBYO), performing to an audience of 14,000 students from schools across Ontario. Everyone present got a chance to hear exceptional interpretations of classical master works (including Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony), as well as witness impressive artistic accomplishments by people their own age. The young audience members were also aware that the talented SBYO performers came from a country where 33% of the population live in poverty. The SBYO had the students in attendance on their feet, dancing to the music with the fanfare one would find at a rock concert. Both Teaching the Life of Music and the accompanying one hour concert are exhilarating displays of the talent, enthusiasm and passion that define the SBYO performances. The documentary and the concert will be packaged as a twin DVD set to be distributed in Canada and abroad.
ABOUT FILMBLANC AND NOEMI WEIS
Filmblanc is an international production company – founded in 1998 by producer Noemi Weis – that is dedicated to creating and producing socially relevant documentaries. Amongst Filmblanc’s selected credits is Desert Riders (2011) directed by award winner Vic Sarin, commissioned by CBC’s Documentary Channel and TV5 in Canada; Teaching the Life of Music, directed by award-winner, David New; Abuelas: Grandmother’s with a Mission, written and directed by Noemi Weis; and The Forgotten Woman ( 2008), directed by Dilip Mehta (rated one of the top 5 films to watch by The New York Times, winner of Best Documentary at The Hollywood Film Festival, and Best Human Rights Documentary in Miradas Doc Spain. The Forgotten Woman is part of the “Elite Documentary Series” at The Academy Awards’ Contemporary Documentaries series); Let’s Talk About it (2006) directed by Oscar-Nominee Deepa Mehta (winner of the Jury Golden Sheaf Award and the Gold Ribbon Award as Best Documentary in the Public Affairs Category by the Canadian Broadcast Associaton, featured in schools and universities across North America as an educational tool); and Gloriously Free (2004) (winner of the Gold Ribbon Award from CBA as Best Documentary in the Social Issues category. It continues to be aired on Canadian and International TV Stations). Noemi is a proud member of the Unesco, Team Canada’s Trade Missions, and a Business Ambassador of Ontario, promoting the merits of Canadian production abroad. In this capacity, she has participated in trade missions and has been honoured with the nomination of “Woman Entrepreneur of the Year” for three years in a row, the last one by Export Development Canada. In 2004, she was nominated as a finalist for “Woman Entrepreneur of the World,” as the sole Canadian nominee. Noemi has spent over 20 years telling stories on the big and small screens, ranging from her worldwide advertising projects to her award winning documentaries. Born in Buenos Aries, and educated in both Argentina and Canada, Noemi brings her skills and love for humanity to every project. She continues to create and develop films to promote human rights and social justice. She is fluent in English, French, Italian and Spanish. www.filmblanc.com.
ROGERS OMNI TELEVISION
OMNI(tm) is a free, over-the-air multilingual/multicultural television system committed to positive portrayal and broadcast reflection of Canada’s diversity through the airing of inclusive and accessible programming. With five television stations — in BC; Alberta (Calgary and Edmonton) and Ontario (OMNI.1 and OMNI.2) – OMNI is available to 16.5 million households in major market areas. As well as specializing in Canadian multilingual/ multicultural programming, OMNI carries well-known International series and films – including East Asian Super Cinema and South Asian Bollywood Freetime Movies. OMNI Television is a part of Rogers Broadcasting Limited., a division of Rogers Communications Inc. (TSX: RCI and NYSE: RCI) which is a diversified Canadian communications and media company. For more information visit www.OMNItv.ca
Teaching the Life of Music is a labour of love that could not have been completed without the support of El Sistema, the Glenn Gould Foundation,The Leading Note Foundation in Ottawa, the Toronto and Ottawa School Boards, Jack Lenz and Lenz Entertainment, and individuals from the Canadian music community.