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Just a few hours left to join our kickstarter! HIGH NOTES is a story about hope, healing and the power of music to transform lives. Read more

250
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$75,536
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Funded!

This project was successfully funded on July 1, 2014.

Just a few hours left to join our kickstarter! HIGH NOTES is a story about hope, healing and the power of music to transform lives.

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.

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Rewards

  • You selected
    Pledge $10 or more

    26 backers

    Our sincere thanks for helping us make this film. You are now part of our extended High Notes family and will receive regular updates about our progress and film-related news & events.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $25 or more

    29 backers

    A digital download of an original song from the film (written by Forrest & Tom & performed by the cast) AND a High Notes film poster and regular updates from the filmmakers.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $50 or more

    29 backers

    A DVD or digital download of the film when it's released PLUS a digital download of an original song and the High Notes film poster. (Please add $10 for shipping costs for a DVD.)

    Estimated delivery:
    Only ships to: United States
  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    49 backers

    A private online screening of the film prior to its release, followed by a Q and A with the filmmakers & cast PLUS a DVD or digital download of the film when released, an original song, & movie poster. (Please add $10 for shipping costs for a DVD.)

    Estimated delivery:
    Only ships to: United States
  • You selected
    Pledge $250 or more

    17 backers

    Take a front seat with 2 tickets to a special musical performance in Middleburg, VA (or by Skype) by the High Notes cast AND recognition as a High Notes SUPPORTER on our website PLUS a digital download or DVD of the film when released, and a movie poster.

    Estimated delivery:
    Only ships to: United States
  • You selected
    Pledge $500 or more

    23 backers

    A "SPECIAL THANK YOU” in the film’s on-screen credits and on our website AND 2 tickets to the film’s Washington, D.C. area premiere. (Transportation not included.) PLUS a digital download or DVD of the film when it's released and movie poster signed by the cast.

    Estimated delivery:
    Only ships to: United States
  • You selected
    Pledge $1,000 or more

    10 backers

    An invitation to join the filmmakers & cast for a private sing-a-long & dessert party in Middleburg, VA. (For those who can’t join us in person, we'll it do by Skype!) PLUS a "VERY SPECIAL THANK YOU" in the film’s On-Screen Credits and on our website, 2 tickets to the film's Washington, D.C. area premiere (transportation not included), a digital download or DVD of the film when released & movie poster signed by the cast.

    Estimated delivery:
    Only ships to: United States
  • You selected
    Pledge $2,500 or more

    3 backers

    Let your love for music inspire others!! An opportunity to join the director for a day of filming in Middleburg, Virginia, just a short distance from Washington, D.C. (Transportation not included.) PLUS you will receive a SCREEN (and Website) CREDIT thanking you for your GENEROUS SUPPORT, 2 VIP tickets to the film’s premiere in Washington, DC (transportation not included), a DVD or digital download of the film when released, and movie poster signed by the cast.

    Estimated delivery:
    Only ships to: United States
  • You selected
    Pledge $5,000 or more

    1 backer

    Let us share the magic of music with you! The filmmakers will join you for a private screening of the film in your home or other venue that you provide. (U.S. only.) PLUS you will receive a SCREEN (and Website) CREDIT thanking you for your VERY GENEROUS SUPPORT, 4 VIP tickets to the film’s premiere in the Washington, DC (transportation not included) and a DVD or digital download of the film when released, and movie poster signed by the cast.

    Estimated delivery:
    Only ships to: United States
  • You selected
    Pledge $10,000

    1 backer

    We are singing your praises! The cast of High Notes will write and dedicate a song to anyone you select. You will also be invited to all film premieres and festival and theatrical screenings (Transportation not included.) PLUS you will receive a SCREEN (and Website) CREDIT recognizing you as a MAJOR SUPPORTER, 4 VIP tickets to the film’s premiere in Washington, DC (transportation not included), a DVD or digital download of the film when released and movie poster signed by the cast.

    Estimated delivery:

Funding period

- (30 days)