United States 2018, 99 min, English, Hebrew subtitles
At the age of 3, the Brown children each got a grand piano and began playing. Desirae, Deondra, Gregory, Melody, and Ryan—all with ready smiles and talent to spare—dedicated their lives to music, and when all five got accepted into the famed school of Juilliard, they instantly rose to stardom, received with adoration first by America, then by the world.
On one of their many world tours, the sisters dared to tell each other their secret: all three had suffered long years of sexual abuse by their father. The discovery turned the quintet’s lives upside down. In their own words, only the music kept them sane. Now, as the siblings record a new album composed for five pianos, they explain how they had channeled this crisis into art and activism—all to the sound of enchanting music.
Previous Festivals: DOC NYC, Sheffield
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Production: Ben Niles, Geralyn White Dreyfous
Production Company: Plow Productions
Editing: Amanda Larson
Cinematography: Andy Schocken
Ben Niles is an award-winning documentary filmmaker. His film, “Note By Note (The Making of Steinway L1037),” (IFP 2005) won top honors at the Sarasota Film Festival, was nominated for an IDA award and selected to the prestigious American Film Showcase, and has screened in over 30 countries. It has now been translated into 5 languages and has aired nationally on PBS since 2009. His follow-up film, “Some Kind of Spark” was also selected to the American Film Showcase and also premiered on PBS. His most recent release, “The 5 Browns: Digging through the Darkness,” recently won an Impact Documentary Award for its efforts to raise awareness about statute of limitation reform for crimes of child sex abuse. He is currently co-directing “Still We Rise” with producer Molly Raskin, a film about mental health in Liberia.