North and East
Producer: Daniel K. Hunter
North and East is a music education film that is centered around composition, financial hardship, socioeconomic class differences, and performance anxiety. Iconic films set in the music world such as Mr. Holland’s Opus, Shine and Amadeus were all very successful. However, none of those films concentrated on a minority perusing a career as a composer. The lead character in North and East, Justin Mial, is someone that does not come from great wealth but he does come from a family of great education. Justin doesn’t look like he’s educated at first glance but education is his secret weapon.
Knowledge is the ultimate equalizer in today’s society. Unfortunately, we live in a world where many people believe that “you are what you wear.” In societies eyes, Justin isn’t a composer because he doesn’t look like one. He’s a basketball player, the next great rapper, or maybe even a drug dealer. North and East will expose such misconceptions. There will be a shot in the film where Justin is conducting an orchestra wearing hand-me-down jeans, a hoodie, and old sneakers. He tops it off with a fitted baseball cap. I would compare this shot to a scene in Good Will Hunting where Matt Damon’s character, Will Hunting, was at MIT mopping the floor as a janitor. The juxtaposition I believe will be equally as powerful. Justin Mial, a “hoodlum”, conducting an orchestra. Will Hunting, a “janitor”, solving a math equation at one of the most prestigious colleges on the face of the earth.
The ultimate goal of this film is to enhance awareness of music education throughout America and to inspire minorities to pursue a career in composition. Unfortunately, many music programs in public schools around the country are being eliminated from the curriculum. Especially in low income communities. Public school systems in some cities are being forced to choose between improving their math and science departments or keeping their music and arts programs alive.
North and East is a film that we believe will drive people to realize why the arts must remain in our public schools. I hope that this story will help more students throughout the country pursue their dreams in music.
- Daniel K. Hunter