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Documentary Film About Area Nonprofit’s Inclusive Arts Program To Be Broadcast Nationwide

Richmond, VA (May 26, 2016)humanstory and the School of the Performing Arts in the Richmond Community (SPARC) are pleased to announce that their co-produced documentary film, FROM THE WINGS: the Live Art Story, has been accepted by American Public Television for airing on public television stations nationwide, beginning in August 2016.

FROM THE WINGS will air on at least 126 public television stations nationwide. These stations reach 48.73% of all U.S. households.

Underwriters for the film’s national distribution include Richmond-based BrownGreer PLC and CarMax. Significant guidance and support came from central Virginia’s public broadcasting network, Community Idea Stations (WCVE), and funding for the film was provided by more than 300 backers in a Kickstarter campaign. An original short film, an extended preview of the feature length documentary, won the nationwide 2013 PBS Online Film Festival.

About the Film

FROM THE WINGS: the Live Art Story, is a documentary film about a group of children with varying abilities that came together to create an unprecedented performance that would change their community forever.

Erin Thomas-Foley woke up from a dream she had one night with a vision that, while seemingly impossible, planted the seed which turned into a great idea that would inspire those around her. In the dream, kids with special needs were performing alongside typically developing kids on a large stage for a big audience in a musical style performance. Over the years that followed, Erin, and those around her, would turn that dream into a reality.

humanstory (filmmakers Martin Montgomery and Bill Gaff) spent six months with SPARC documenting the inspiration behind LIVE ART, as well as the classes, rehearsals, and public performance for a performing arts program that had never before been attempted: one that blended students with and without disabilities in preparation for a major public performance.

The film follows six students, their families and several staff members on their collective journeys throughout this program. We watch children and adults alike face their own fears, learn what empathy really means, and discover countless things they didn’t know about themselves and the world around them.

The film addresses the questions and fears that many people secretly harbor about the abilities and potential of kids with special needs. It focuses on one way in which the arts and performance can have a lasting impact on a broad range of children and the audience for whom they perform. Through interviews with children and showing them in stages of rehearsing and performing, the film addresses the questions: “How can children find their own voice?” and “Can the arts not only change the lives of children, but also serve as a vehicle for altering the attitudes of the citizens in their community?”

The resulting show consisted of music, dance, and visual art all performed live to a sold-out house at the majestic Carpenter Theatre in Richmond, Virginia. The film includes performances by musical artist Jason Mraz and others, culminating in an unforgettable night of magic.

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About SPARC

The School of the Performing Arts in the Richmond Community (SPARC), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1981, is one of the nation’s most comprehensive, community-based performing arts education organizations. SPARC’s mission is to inspire young people to reach their full potential through quality training in the performing arts. In its 35 years, SPARC has engaged more than 12,000 children, ages 3 to 18, in a variety of arts programs designed for children of all abilities, including children with disabilities. Course offerings encompass music, dance, acting and theatre production for beginners to advanced students, both during out-of-school time in fall and spring, as well as a variety of summer camps. Outreach programs include in-school arts education, after-school enrichment programs, an inclusive arts-education program for children with and without disabilities, and an acclaimed statewide high school playwriting program. For more information about SPARC, visit www.sparconline.org.

About humanstory

Martin Montgomery is a graduate of Longwood College and has been filming live events, short films and commercials for over ten years. His work has won several film festivals, two regional Emmys and one of his films took part in the Cannes Film Festival. He is always seeking new ways to evoke emotion through moving images and discovering new topics to explore.

William Gaff has been a creative storyteller for the past 15 years. He has produced and edited hundreds film and video projects for broadcast, corporate and non profit organizations, advertising and event films. His work has won a regional Emmy and has been nominated for a national Emmy. He continues to explore ways in which filmmaking and journalism are merging and evolving into exciting new ways to tell stories.

Together Martin and William have formed the documentary film company called humanstory. With humanstory they have produced a range of films that have redefined storytelling for corporations and helped bring non profit’s legacies to life. In addition to their many micro-documentary projects they are currently in post-production on a new documentary that tells the story the Richmond Ballet as they prepared for and embarked on a four city performance tour in China this past year.

About APT

American Public Television (APT) has been the leading syndicator of high-quality, top-rated programming to the nation’s public television stations since 1961. For more than 10 years, APT has annually distributed one-third or more of the top 100 highest-rated public television titles in the U.S. Among its 250 new program titles per year, APT programs include prominent documentaries, performance, news and current affairs programs, dramas, how-to programs, children’s series and classic movies. AfroPoP, America’s Test Kitchen From Cook’s Illustrated, Rick Steves’ Europe, Front and Center, Doc Martin, Nightly Business Report, Midsomer Murders, Vera, NHK Newsline, Lidia’s Kitchen, Globe Trekker, Simply Ming, and P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home are a sampling of APT’s programs, considered some of the most popular on public television. APT licenses programs internationally through its APT Worldwide service. Now in its 11th year, Create® TV — featuring the best of public television’s lifestyle programming — is distributed by American Public Television. APT also distributes WORLD™, public television’s premier news, science and documentary channel. To find out more about APT’s programs and services, visit APTonline.org.

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