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Figuring Out How To Play For "Change"

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The concept of Playing for Change was relayed to me in 1999. I had just finished a directing workshop at the New York Film Academy and was excited to dive into the craft of storytelling on a professional level, but wasn't sure where my path would ignite. I got a call from a childhood friend who was living in Los Angeles at the time and he told me of a documentary idea that his roommate had about street musicians. His roommate was Mark Johnson and his idea was Playing for Change. A month later I was living on their couch, trying to find a way to make the film a reality. Now, a decade later, it is not only a reality, but also a way of life. Mark and I have been creative partners on the Playing for Change film series ever since.

Our first film, Playing for Change: A Cinematic Discovery of Music, explored the lives, culture, and music of American street musicians. In the beginning, my intrigue of the concept revolved around my fascination with the courage, commitment, freedom and artistic expression street musicians possessed. The lifestyle they lead felt very close to my heart and the way I was intending on living my life as a filmmaker. Spontaneous. Nomadic. Open. True. Free. The essence I felt, at its core, was the understanding to reach a belief in oneself, being exactly who you wanted to be and actively doing what you desire to do, what you desire to express to the world. For the street musicians it was their music, for me it was films.

Since then, the concept has evolved into an exhilarating movement toward peace. Playing for Change: Peace Through Music is our second journey, our second film in this everlong vision of connecting the world through music. To whittle down the experiences had while making these films is an immense task not only because each moment had its story, but also because each moment had its wisdom. Those stories and those wisdoms felt along the way have countless paths of thought that I'm still retracing. To travel the earth and to absorb its spectrum of differences and similarities became frustrating, enlightening and exhilarating all at once. To ponder our path is overwhelming, but when I simplify its core, I realize we are all still humans being and we are all one. When this understanding sank in, as it did for me while filming, the mysteries of life disappeared. And then I listened to the music.

Playing For Change: Peace Through Music premieres at Tribeca Film Festival on April 24th.

Thursday, April 24 - 10:00 pm - AMC Village VII, Theater 5
Friday, April 25 - 4:30 pm - AMC Village VII, Theater 1
Sunday, April 27 - 3:00 pm - AMC 19th Street, Theater 2
Tuesday, April 29 - 12:00 pm - AMC Village VII, Theater 4
Friday, May 2 - 9:00 pm - AMC Village VII, Theater 3