About this project
We're THRILLED that we reached our initial goal of $65,000! We have a new STRETCH GOAL OF $80,000. And just 12 hours left!!!
This new goal will enable us to do more days of filming and editing. With a documentary film like this, there's always additional (and unanticipated) filming to do - and we don't want to miss out on any of it! For example, when we started working on this film a year and a half ago, we never could have predicted we'd be filming Forrest's graduation from high school! This summer will be an especially busy time of filming. Forrest will be having major surgery in late August. We will be there with him as he once again faces another very serious challenge in his journey to a full recovery.
PLEASE JOIN US IN REACHING OUR STRETCH GOAL OF $80,000 AND SPREADING THE WORD TO YOUR FRIENDS, FAMILY & COLLEAGUES. Thank you!
ABOUT THE FILM
High Notes is a film about the power of music to heal and transform lives, often in miraculous ways. It’s a film about hope and the human spirit. It features some of the most courageous and inspiring young people you’ll ever meet – and a remarkable music therapist named Tom Sweitzer, who found meaning in his own life through music.
THE (REAL LIFE) CHARACTERS:
There’s Forrest, who at age 18 suffered a life-threatening traumatic brain injury in a snowboarding accident that left him trapped inside himself and unable to speak, communicating only with the blink of his eyes. For two years, Forrest had music therapy sessions with Tom several times a week. Then one day Forrest started to hum... then sing... and finally find his voice to start speaking again.
Amy, a high school senior, has cerebral palsy -- a result of her premature birth. Smart, funny, and wise beyond her years, Amy writes songs about navigating the chaotic halls of her high school in a wheelchair and her crush on the captain of the football team. She longs to dance, walk on her own two feet, and educate the world about people with disabilities.
Brendan, age 11, and Cameron, age 9, are brothers -- and both were born blind. They're also musical whizzes with perfect pitch. Their unselfconscious joy is contagious as they experience and share their world through music.
Crystal, age 15, describes herself as “creative and misunderstood.” She sings with all her heart, writes imaginative stories, and draws pictures of dragons --- as she tries to cope with the rage she feels inside from being constantly bullied and taunted at school.
High Notes interweaves the stories of these young students, as we witness both their triumphs and the sometimes devastating setbacks. Through it all, the students' love of life is infectious and inspiring. Their challenges recede into the background. It’s their passion, determination and unstoppable spirits that shine most brightly as they discover their voices, and rebuild and transform their lives through the power of music.
WHY I WANT TO MAKE THIS FILM
Once in a while a story comes along that makes you feel better about the world. From the moment I met Tom Sweitzer, Forrest Allen, and the other young people at “A Place to Be” I knew this was a film I had to make – and a story that needed to be shared with a wide audience.
Being part of Forrest’s journey has been one of the most profound experiences of my filmmaking career. Forrest never gave up – and his family and friends never stopped believing in him. Tom and music therapy gave Forrest back his voice. To be able to witness and document this has been extraordinary. Amy, Brendan & Cameron, and Crystal have also deeply touched me – not only because of their strength and courage– but also because of their kindness and compassion towards one another.
This is a film that can have a great impact by raising awareness about music therapy and giving hope to others in similar circumstances. It’s a resonant story about the resilience of the human spirit. At a time when so much seems to be wrong with the world, it’s important to be reminded of this.
WHY WE NEED YOUR HELP
We’ve been filming for a year and a half – and many of us working on the film have been donating our time. We've captured many powerful moments as they happen -- from Forrest saying his first words to Amy walking across the stage to get her high school diploma. We’ve witnessed firsthand the bonds and friendships that have developed. We don’t want to miss these special, one-of-a-kind moments because we can’t afford to do any more filming. And there is still a lot more to do. Forrest (with Tom's help) has written an original musical about his journey that the entire cast will perform. Forrest will also be having a major operation at the end of August.
The contributions received from this Kickstarter campaign will make it possible for us to complete filming -- and then take the many hours of footage and edit it into a beautiful and inspiring film. (And if we're fortunate to raise more than our goal, this will enable us to add additional days for filming and editing, adding both content and productive value.)
But we can't do any of this without your support. We hope you will join us in making this very special film.
You have our deepest thanks and appreciation.
Risks and challenges
Funding, producing, finishing, and releasing an independent film is no easy task - it's a marathon! But as an experienced filmmaker, I know what it takes at each step along the way. I have a long track record of making high quality, award-winning documentaries that premiere at major film festivals around the world (including Sundance, Tribeca, and Amsterdam), screen theatrically and on television (including HBO, Showtime, ESPN, PBS, Discovery, AMC, and MTV) and are available on DVD (Netflix, Amazon). I am also working with an experienced team that are the best in the business – from my producer, Wendy Thompson Marquez, to my cinematographer, Neil Barrett, and frequent collaborator and editor, Jeff Werner. All of us have made many films.
The young people featured in this film have overcome some of life’s greatest challenges imaginable. Thank you again for helping us share their stories with the world.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Support this project
- (30 days)