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‘Joe’s Violin’ Examines How a Musical Instrument Can Change Lives

'Joe's Violin' Examines How a Musical Instrument Can Change Lives

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Joe’s Violin

Logline: A Holocaust survivor donates his violin to an instrument drive, changing the life of a 12-year old girl in the Bronx.

Elevator Pitch: When Holocaust survivor Joe donates his violin to an instrument drive, it ends up in the hands of Brianna, a 12-year-old Bronx school girl. Next month, they will meet for the first time and Brianna will surprise Joe with a song that his mother sang to him before the war. The same violin that brought him so much comfort and joy for 70+ years, now brings a similar comfort and joy to Brianna. Through a simple act of generosity, these two strangers will forever be connected.

Production Team:
Kahane Cooperman is an Executive Producer on the new Amazon Studios docu-series “The New Yorker Presents.” Prior to this role, she was Producer of “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.” Originally hired because of her background in documentary, Cooperman was with “The Daily Show” since its inception in 1996, starting out as a field producer before becoming Senior Producer, Supervising Producer and then Co-Executive Producer from 2005-2013. For her work on the show, she received ten Primetime Emmy awards and two Peabody awards. Cooperman began her documentary career at Maysles Films in NYC. She has produced and directed several documentaries including “Cool Water,” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, and “Making Dazed,” about Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, which was broadcast on AMC and acquired by the Criterion Collection. Cooperman also produced the feature doc “Heidi Fleiss: Hollywood Madam,” directed by Nick Broomfield.

Raphaela Neihausen is the founder and Executive Director of DOC NYC, America’s largest documentary film festival. She is also Executive Director of Stranger Than Fiction, a weekly series at the IFC Center now in its 10th year, described as “indispensable” (New York Magazine) and voted “NY’s best documentary programing” (Time Out New York). From 2011-2014, she also launched the Montclair Film Festival and served as its Executive Director. Neilhausen produced the documentary “Miss GULAG” (recipient of grants from the Ford Foundation and Sundance Documentary Fund) that premiered at the 2007 Berlin Film Festival and was subsequently broadcast all over the world.

Bob Richman began his career in film working with vérité pioneers Albert and David Maysles. He worked his way up from production assistant to assistant cameraman to cameraman. In 1991, he shared the director of photography credit with Albert Maysles on “Christo’s Umbrellas.” In 1993, Richman teamed up with Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky to shoot “Paradise Lost: the Robin Hood Hills Child Murders,” which went on to win an Emmy and Peabody award. He continued his collaboration as director of photography with Berlinger and Sinofsky on “Paradise Lost 2, Metallica: Some Kind of Monster,” and the Sundance series “Iconoclast.” Other doc credits include “The Producers: A Musical Romp with Mel Brooks,” “Good Rockin’ Tonight,” “A Tickle in the Heart,” “Constantine’s Sword,” “Killing Kasztner and My Architect”(nominated for an Academy Award in 2004). In the spring of 2005, Richman filmed former Vice President Al Gore. The footage eventually became an integral part of the film “An Inconvenient Truth, “one of the highest grossing documentaries of all time and winner of an Academy Award. In 2007, he shot “The September Issue” and won the Sundance Grand Jury Prize for Best Cinematography. In 2009, Richman directed “Ahead of Time,” which premiered at TIFF.

Newlyweds Andrew Saunderson and Amira Dughri fell in love making short documentaries together. Now, they work together under the creative umbrella of Knockbangboom Productions. In addition to “Joe’s Violin,” they are working together with directors Brian Lindstrom and Andy Brown on “How To Give My Heart Away,” a feature-length documentary about the life of musician Judee Sill. Dughri is also in post-production on a short documentary about the dreams of indigenous women in the Andes and producing shorts with the Women’s Prison Association. Saunderson is finishing post-production on the short film “Birthday Boy,” with Executive Producer Jean-Marc Vallée (director of “Dallas Buyers Club” & “Wild”). He is also in development on two narrative feature films. Before moving to New York last year, Saunderson edited and produced the award-winning documentary “Alien Boy.” Meanwhile, Dughri worked on “Magic Trip,” cut the TV show “Northwest Wild,” and taught documentary workshops at NW Documentary. They have edited numerous films together for director Brian Lindstrom including, “Writing Myself” and “Mothering Inside.

About the Film: I heard a promo for WQXR’s instrument drive and those 15 seconds sparked an intense curiosity about the history of one instrument, its donor and recipient. I was drawn to the idea that two different people might benefit from the same violin, years apart. At the time, I was a producer on “The Daily Show.” My background, however, was in documentaries and my passion for them never faded. I had worked for Maysles Films and directed/produced several docs. The journey of this violin was the perfect reason to return to my love for storytelling, a siren call back to my roots.

Current Status: We have 3 days left in our Kickstarter campaign that will fund our remaining shoots, edit, animation, archival footage and music.

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