Playing for Change: Peace Through Music
Photos and Video
"When you play on the street, you play to the world," says a street performer captured by directors Mark Johnson and Jonathan Walls in this inspiring tribute to the unifying power of music. It was in this spirit of openness to serendipity that the two roamed across four continents for a year, recording various musicians at work in order to combine their distant voices into one global song. The result is a grand choir that defies space and time: An elderly guitar player in Santa Monica croons "Stand By Me" to the accompaniment of a mean washboard player in New Orleans, a rocking sitar player in India, and a Cuban improvising with a stick and corrugated plastic tube in Barcelona. Johnson and Walls keep the beat with split-screen editing, Super 8 footage, and moving performances of traditional music-from the freedom fighters of South Africa playing the songs that helped topple apartheid to the Zuni of New Mexico performing ancient songs of religious devotion. Manu Chao, whose worldwide success could qualify him as the sound of globalization, makes an appearance as well. Along the way, the musicians interviewed again and again present the idea that music is a tool to promote peace. And in one now-resonant segment, an old-timer in post-Katrina New Orleans expounds on his unwillingness to ever leave his beloved musical hometown. This paean to humanity will have music lovers dancing in their seats.
Director's Statement Collapse
Playing for Change: Peace Through Music is not only a film, but also an ever-long quest of discovering inspiration through music. Since its creation in 2001, Playing for Change has evolved into an exhilarating movement toward peace. Being involved in this journey and sharing it with the world has brought not only a tremendous amount of joy and celebration into my heart, but also an insight into humanity that revealed a common hope toward global unity and acceptance. It is my wish that audiences around the world can absorb this musical essence and become inspired to participate, and to ultimately celebrate its manifestation.
Playing for Change: Peace Through Music is an idea that in a world with so much division, it is time to focus on our connections. Through the process of making this film I traveled around the world and discovered that music opens the door to a place where we can come together as a human race. It is my belief that we can celebrate our differences and still connect our hearts. One Love.
Film Information Collapse
Cast & Credits Collapse
Executive Producers Whitney Burditt, David Ernst Bacon
Producers Joe Carnahan, Mark Johnson, Kevin Krupitzer, Joel Goulder, Jeremy Goulder, Raan Williams
Director of Photography Kevin Krupitzer
Connect to this film Collapse
About the Director(s)Collapse
Jonathan Walls attended the New York Film Academy in New York City. He directed a reality-based series, It's My Life, for MTV Asia. In 2005, Walls' first feature, Automatic, premiered at SXSW and won the top award at the Peniscola International Film Festival in Spain. Mark Johnson is a Grammy-winning producer, an engineer, and an award-winning film director. He is the chairman of the board for the Playing For Change Foundation and has dedicated his life to connecting the world through music.