Some Kind of Spark
http://www.somekindofspark.com/
Directed by Ben Niles
USA, 2015, 85 min, in English
 
Illustrating the transformative power of music and mentorship, SOME KIND OF SPARK is an uplifting look at the outreach music program for inner-city youth at Juilliard. The film paints a deeply intimate portrait of six students, illuminating the universal challenges of arts education and the capacity of music to enrich our lives.
 
"Ultimately satisfying."
Indiewire


PREVIOUS SCREENINGS

Stamford, CT
May 4, 2016
Avon Theatre
 
Charlotte, NC
March 22, 2016
Catawba College
 
Chicago, IL
December 17, 2015

Salt Lake City, UT
November 24, 2015
Utah Film Center

Vermillion, SD
October 24, 2015
Coyote Twin in Collaboration with National Music Museum

Nantucket, MA
June 27-28, 2015
Nantucket Film Festival

Montclair, NJ
May 3 & 8, 2015
Montclair Film Festival

New York, NY
November 16, 2014
DOC NYC

SYNOPSIS

SHORT SYNOPSIS

Some Kind of Spark is a feature-length documentary that follows six inner-city kids (ages 8-12) from the New York area as they embark on a life-changing experience—the opportunity to study music in Juilliard’s Music Advancement Program (MAP). Made over a 3-year period, the film intimately follows the students and their dedicated teachers, capturing the budding and profound relationships building upon every lesson.

LONG SYNOPSIS

Some Kind of Spark is a feature-length documentary that follows six kids from all over 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 kids from communities that are underserved in the arts.

Painting a deeply intimate portrait of the students' struggles to succeed in school and the program and patiently allowing them to tell their own stories, Some Kind of Spark illuminates the universal challenges faced by students and educators in communities worldwide: high poverty rates, low family literacy and weak school-family relationships. Spanning borders and ethnicities, gender and class, the film is uniquely positioned to quietly but effectively illuminate these pressing contemporary social issues.

Throughout the course of the film, these kids go on a musical journey that is both inspiring and very challenging. This is a new world for these children—many of whom have never even heard of Juilliard—and the demands are high, even for beginners. They come from the far corners of New York City, from Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn, Washington Heights and The Bronx, making the long trek, at times taking hours, as they navigate the buses and subway trains through rain and snow to reach the school every Saturday morning.

There is a natural arc to the story as the film follows the kids through some of the most formative years of their lives—and in the early beginnings of their relationship with music and their teachers—over a 3-year span. In this time, 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, this is a film about transformation. It aims 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.

TRAILER

REVIEWS

"Ultimately satisfying."
Indiewire

"This is an inspiring program and a lesson not just in music but in life."
School Library Journal

"Recommended."
Video Librarian

INTERVIEWS & MEDIA

“A film of great depth.”
NY Examiner

"This is the story of music education's impact on the daily lives of everyday students."
Huffington Post (16 Documentaries To Watch Out For This Year)
 
 
The Brian Lehrer Show
WNYC
 
 
"Spanning borders and ethnicities, gender and class, the film quietly but effectively illuminates...pressing contemporary social issues."
Broadway World
 

STILLS

SKoS Poster

Kara Charles

Pete Torchon and Gretchen Pusch during a flute lesson

Weston Sprott and Rahman Amer during a trombone lesson