The Promise of Music
Director: Enrique Sanchez Lansch
Distributor: C Major Entertainment
16:9 shot in 1080i HDTV | stereo & 5.1 surround sound
Length: 93 min. / 2 x 24 min. / 3 x 26 min. / 1 x 45 min.
© 2007, a BFMI production for Deutsche Welle in co-production with Unitel and ZDF
Whenev­er the Simón Bolívar Youth Or­ches­tra of Venezuela and its cha­ris­mat­ic con­duct­or Gust­avo Du­damel per­form, they re­ceive a highly en­thu­si­ast­ic wel­come from audi­ences and crit­ics alike. At just twenty-six, Du­damel has already been Mu­sic­al Dir­ect­or of the youth or­ches­tra for eight years and is ac­know­ledged as one of the most im­port­ant con­duct­ors of his gen­er­a­tion. However, this is not just the story of some prodigy. Du­damel him­self de­scribes mu­sic as a „so­cial life-saver” and it is true that he and the or­ches­tra are top of the bill in a unique mu­sic pro­gramme which may seem more than a little strange in the coun­tries of ori­gin of tra­di­tion­al con­cert cul­ture.

The 220 mu­si­cians who be­long to the or­ches­tra are from all over Venezuela. The young­est mem­ber is fif­teen, the old­est twenty-three years old. The Bolívar Youth Or­ches­tra owes its ex­ist­ence to the mu­si­cian, eco­nom­ist and politi­cian José Ant­o­nio Ab­reu. In 1975 he was gripped by the vis­ion of of­fer­ing chil­dren liv­ing in poverty a new per­spect­ive on life through mu­sic.

Des­pite sev­er­al changes in gov­ern­ment his state-fun­ded net­work of mu­sic schools, the „Fun­dación del Es­tado para el Sis­tema de Or­questa Ju­ven­il e In­fant­il de Venezuela” (or FESOJIV), con­tin­ues to be suc­cess­ful in pulling young people out of dif­fi­cult and crim­in­al situ­ations and show­ing them the way to a new life. There are now around 30 pro­fes­sion­al or­ches­tras, 125 youth or­ches­tras, about 15,000 mu­sic teach­ers and a quarter of a mil­lion pu­pils re­ceiv­ing mu­sic­al train­ing.

All of the tour con­certs by the „Sinfónica de la Ju­ven­tud Venezolana Simón Bolívar” are sold out six months pri­or to their tak­ing place. That ap­plies to their ap­pear­ance at the 2007 Beeth­oven Fest­iv­al in Bonn as well, which fea­tured Beeth­oven’s Sym­phony No. 3, the „Ero­ica” and rep­er­toire from South Amer­ic­an com­posers. The con­cert has also been re­cor­ded and both, the doc­u­ment­ary and the con­cert are re­leased on DVD by Deutsche Gram­mo­phon.
The film is dir­ec­ted by En­riquez Sanc­hez Lan­sch who has real­ised one of the most touch­ing mu­sic films of re­cent years “Rhythm Is It!”; his new riv­et­ing film “The Reich Or­ches­tra. The Ber­lin Phil­har­mon­ics dur­ing Na­tion­al So­cial­ism” hits the theatres right now.
LALIFF
LALIFF 2008

Category: Best Documentary