Orchestrating Change Documentary Airs 9/5-6 on WORLD Channel and on Public TV this Fall
ORCHESTRATING CHANGE shows triumphs and challenges of the Vermont- and Massachusetts-based Me2/Orchestras. Premieres Sep 5 @ 8pm EST / 5pm PST and Sep 6 @ 12am EST (Sep 5 @ 9pm PST) on WORLD Channel. Public television stations across the country will air the film throughout the fall.
LOS ANGELES — August 12, 2020 – ORCHESTRATING CHANGE, a new documentary about the first orchestra created for people living with mental illnesses and the people who support them, premieres nationally next month on WORLD Channel, and airs on public television stations throughout the country this fall (check local listings).
Directed by Margie Friedman and Barbara Multer-Wellin, ORCHESTRATING CHANGE is presented by KTWU/Kansas Public Television and distributed by American Public Television. It premieres nationally on WORLD Channel Sep 5 @ 8pm EST/5pm PST and Sep 6 @ 12am EST (9pm PST on Sep 5). Public television stations across the country will air the film throughout the fall. A list of stations and airdates is available here. It will air locally on PBS 6+ channel 398 at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 19. [NOTE: Airings are listed approx. 14 days in advance; see Media/Contact section market-specific schedule requests.]
ORCHESTRATING CHANGE follows the triumphs and challenges of the Me2/Orchestra that was created in 2011 by Music Director Ronald Braunstein, whose rising career as a world-class conductor was cut short when he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Along with his wife, Executive Director Caroline Whiddon, Braunstein first created the organization with outposts in Burlington, Vt., and Boston, building a stigma-free zone for musicians like him. Since the orchestra’s founding, Me2/Orchestra has performed in theaters, at community events, at professional medical conferences, in detention facilities and more.
Me2/-affiliated music groups have been started throughout New England and in Portland, Oregon, with plans for expansion to Pennsylvania, Georgia and Maine. The 90-minute film covers two years of Me2/Orchestra’s work, highlighting stories of musicians whose lives take unexpected turns, and for whom the organization serves as an alternate family, a judgment-free support system, and a reliably positive part in their lives. The film opens as Braunstein’s long-sought dream to bring together the Boston and Burlington performers for a combined concert begins to take shape. Viewers watch as Braunstein and Whiddon race from Boston to Burlington and back, working to arrange and conduct rehearsals, and supporting the players in both cities, some of whose personal struggles factor into the work of the orchestra. If things go as planned, the two ensembles will play a public concert together for the first time — on the same stage where Braunstein conducted his last professional concert before disclosing his illness and being fired from his job. Friedman says ORCHESTRATING CHANGE features captivating characters and the group’s beautiful music, along with striking animation that challenges viewers to reconsider their preconceptions about living with mental illness. “The Me2/Orchestra itself erases stereotypes of people with mental illness diagnoses,” Friedman says. “We hope the film’s humor and heart raise awareness about stigmatization, and highlights the fulfilling, creative lives these musicians lead. Multer-Wellin adds, “mental illness cannot be something we talk about only in the wake of something horrible happening. At this moment in our country’s history, it’s more important than ever to talk openly about mental health and mental illness.”
Braunstein describes the process of filming a crucial point in his life – and the life of the orchestra – as freeing. “I’ve been out about my condition for quite a few years now,” he says, “and it’s been the greatest experience to hear peoples’ responses to the film, and the poignant questions they ask about me and the orchestra.” Whiddon hopes the film reaches broader audiences with a more positive idea about what it means to live with mental illness. “One woman in a test screening came up to us and said if her son had known a group like Me2/ existed, he might have lived. There aren’t enough positive stories of people living with serious mental illness.”
- Executive Producers/Directors: Margie Friedman & Barbara Multer-Wellin
- Composer: Bronwen Jones
- Editor: Ralph Herman
- Additional editing: Joanne D’Antonio & Matt Dean
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
Margie Friedman and Barbara Multer-Wellin are Emmy Award-winning filmmakers with years of documentary and non-fiction television experience. Their previous films have appeared on PBS, including its prestigious series, “Independent Lens.”
ONLINE & SOCIAL MEDIA
Hashtags: #OrchestratingChange, #OrchestratingChangeTheMovie, #ClassicalMusicForMentalHealth
- Downloadable photos from the film are available here.
- An electronic press kit with synopses and other details available here.
ORCHESTRATING CHANGE was made possible with the support of The David and Lura Lovell Foundation, The Phyllis & Jerome Lyle Rappaport Foundation, The Lucius and Eva Eastman Fund, Nina Zacuto, the Passim Iguana Music Fund, The Puffin Foundation, the United Way of Northwest Vermont, and the Hard Rock Heals Foundation.
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