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Arts & Culture

Some Kind Of Spark

Promotional still of Kara from the film “Some Kind Of Spark.”
Courtesy of Argot Pictures
Promotional still of Kara from the film “Some Kind Of Spark.”

Airs Monday, Jan. 15, 2018 at 10:30 p.m. on KPBS TV

“Children’s access to music education on has been declining sharply in recent years — over 20 percent since 2001. This alarming trend is compromising our children’s education and jeopardizing our culture.”Music Educators National Conference

“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, a Saturday outreach program for kids from communities that are underserved in the arts.

Some Kind Of Spark - Trailer
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Painting a deeply in mate 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 ethnicity, gender and class, the film is uniquely positioned to quietly but e 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.

Promotional still of Weston and Rahman from the film “Some Kind Of Spark.”
Courtesy of Argot Pictures
Promotional still of Weston and Rahman from the film “Some Kind Of Spark.”
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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.

Promotional still of Pete and Gretchen from the film “Some Kind Of Spark.”
Courtesy of Argot Pictures
Promotional still of Pete and Gretchen from the film “Some Kind Of Spark.”

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.

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"Some Kind Of Spark" is on Facebook.

CREDITS:

Produced/Directed by Ben Niles. Edited by Sara Pellegrini. Cinematography Ben Niles With Emma Cott, Hope Hall, Melanie Vi Levy, Orlando Richards, Andy Schocken, Ben Wolf and Ben Wu.

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