Nothing To Fall Back Upon: The William DeVan Story

Traversing multiple countries - Nothing To Fall Back Upon - tells the story of world renowned concert pianist William DeVan through the eyes of his students.
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Michael Gordon
Film
Birmingham, Alabama
United States
2 Team Members

Announcement

We recognize that waiting until 2015 for receipt of rewards is pretty long.  We are advancing all rewards to June of this year with your understanding that the DVD, digital downloads and certain other items requiring the production to be complete will be sent along later when they become available. We appreciate your support and interest in this film getting made!

Introduction

Traversing multiple countries - Nothing To Fall Back Upon - tells the story of world renowned concert pianist William DeVan through the eyes of his students!

Hi, I'm Michael Gordon. I'm here to tell you about a man who I respect and a story that needs to be made. How often do we get to hear a story about music, passion, dreams and striving to overcome everything in pursuit of all of that? Ok, maybe more than once. But I'm here nonetheless to tell you the story of the greatest concert pianist who you have never heard of. But before all that can happen - I need your help.


The story of William DeVan is the story of a world renowned concert pianist...but no one knows that. This crowdfunding campaign exists for one sole purpose: to tell the world about this amazing musician. What do I need to make this happen? Well, it's about crowdfunding right? In order to deliver this amazing film to you and to the world - we need the world to participate in making it happen - just like William's amazing supporters have by sharing their stories.

We need contributions, people sharing this story and, above all, the support and passionate belief from all of the people who have been affected by William - knowingly or unknowingly. Now I realize that some of you are here simply because you know William personally or you know our team - and you might just be contributing to this campaign because you cherish what we are doing here like so many of Bill's past students and admirers such as James Bagwell:

James Bagwell, Conductor

Such generosity could not be more appreciated. But I also realize that some of you may be looking for a more tangible return for your contribution. We are here offering amazing opportunities, rewards, experiences, and unique moments - because we realize that for you to invest in us, we need to invest in you. We can't possibly thank you enough for supporting this artistic endeavor. From all of us at Big Fat Monster Films - Thank you!

What We Need & What You Get

For your valuable contributions in helping us raise initial development funds of $5,500 or even contributing to the much larger $50,000 we will be seeking after we finish this initial campaign, we would like to offer you a rich selection of different rewards!

THE "I REALLY WANT THE POSTER" BUT I'M ON A BUDGET REWARD: For just contributing $10, this reward gets you a copy of the movie poster (small-size: 11 x 17) signed by the filmmaker, crew and William DeVan.

THE "I REALLY WANT THE POSTER" & THE DIGITAL MOVIE DOWNLOAD BUT I'M ON A BUDGET REWARD: For just contributing $25, this reward gets you a copy of the movie poster (small-size: 11 x 17) signed by the filmmaker, crew and William DeVan + the digital download of the movie!

THE "I REALLY WANT THE POSTER" REWARD: Alternatively, for just contributing $25, this reward get's you a copy of the movie poster (full-size: 24 x 36) signed by the filmmaker, crew and William DeVan.

THE "I HEART PIANO DOCS" REWARDS: Whether you want to personally expression your passion for the music that makes so many movies beautiful through your support of Piano Docs or whether your budding infant wunderkind would like to express himself or herself and his or her future as the world's greatest pianist - for the incredible sum of $29 you can do so!

THE "I REALLY WANT THE POSTER & THE DVD" REWARD: For the miraculous price of $50, the poster is yours and a limited edition copy of the DVD of the movie - with bonus content as well as signatures of the filmmaker, crew and William DeVan.  Don't be followed - it looks like we are giving you DVDs of JFK - but you will be getting the authentic, original and one-of-a-kind limited edition DVD of William DeVan autographed, collectible and never to be seen again!

THE "IT'S ALL ABOUT THE MUSIC" REWARD: For the outrageously small sum of $75, you will get to have a special set of musical pieces composed of William DeVan's favorite music - played by Mr. DeVan himself and mastered for you in a uniquely collectible music DVD - autographed by this incomparable pianist as well.  Additionally, with the DVD, you will receive a set of the sheet music with William's liner notes as well.

THE "I HAVE TO SEE THE PREMIER!" REWARD: For your contribution of $100, we would like to cordially invite you & a guest to attend the premier of Nothing To Fall Back Upon - we will also be including the limited edition DVD, the full-size movie poster, all autographs and of course you will be invited to share with us the excitement of seeing the completed film on screen for the first time.  Note: travel and hotel are not included.

THE "I WANT THE TICKETS, THE PRINTED SHEET MUSIC & MORE!" REWARD: For your contribution of $250, we would like to cordially invite you & your 3 (three) favorite guests to attend the premier of Nothing To Fall Back Upon - we will also be including the limited edition DVD, the full-size movie poster, printed copies of the sheet music from all pieces you hear in the movie + all autographs and of course you will be invited to share with us the excitement of seeing the completed film on screen for the first time.  Note: travel and hotel are not included.

THE "IF IT'S PART OF THIS MOVIE, I GOTTA HAVE IT" REWARD: For your contribution of $500, we would like to cordially invite you & your 3 (three) favorite guests to attend the premier of Nothing To Fall Back Upon - we will also be including the limited edition DVD, the full-size movie poster, printed copies of the sheet music from all pieces you hear in the movie + all autographs and of course you will be invited to share with us the excitement of seeing the completed film on screen for the first time.  Exclusively for you: Our Invitation to the VIP Premier Party for you and your guests!  Note: travel and hotel are not included.

We recognize that some of you folks are just going to donate because you love us - but respectfully we are offering many fantastic rewards for those of you who want to contribute to a special documentary in the making while receiving memorabilia that you can treasure forever.

Origin Story

How did this project come about?: Serendipity is the word we use to describe the origin of this film. I was sitting in a coffee shop in Birmingham, AL. (It is an interesting place, a gathering place for working artists in the Birmingham area.) and this man walks in, plops down at my table and starts talking to me. 

He said, you looked like an interesting person and over a few days we developed a friendship. At some point, he said, I understand you make movies and I don't have a great deal of footage of me playing. He said he had a performance upcoming in Paris and would like to play the performance for me. After hearing it, I was floored, I had no idea how great this man was. I said to him, I don't want to shoot you playing, I'd like to make a documentary about you...and it was on.

The Underdog

It didn't begin with Paris though.  Bill started in the Back Belt of Alabama and grew up dirt poor.  His mother believed in him and sold everything to get him a piano.  By the age of 15 he was selected to perform with the Chicago Symphony under the conductorship of Arthur Fiedler as a soloist.  He was one of 5 piano students accepted to Juilliard in the year that he applied.

In order to be able to afford it, he took care of his aging aunt in New Jersey and managed her house in exchange for boarding so that he could attend.  In the years after, he became the only American to take first prize at the Vianna da Motta International music competition and successively has toured internationally, conducted classes and programs across the globe and is tirelessly committed to sharing his passion for music with others.

Inspiration

The inspiration is really tied to the Origin story, but, from a production standpoint I've always wanted to make a documentary that developed organically. This was the perfect project to try this experiment. The idea was to make a loose outline of "telling the story of a man's life," then perform a series of intensive interviews to see what came out (we shot about 100 hours of that).

Jed Leiber and Michael Gordon at Nightbird Studios in Los Angeles

From there, we followed up on the more interesting narratives that arose in the interviews, as a result we have some very poignant, personal and engaging vignettes that we are weaving into a story.

Evolution to Date

We have completed about 80% of field production. See some of the photos below:

Director Michael Gordon and Field Audio Technician Matthew DeVine

World Renowned Fashion Stylist Anthony Sartino and William DeVan before shoot at Nightbird Studios

What about the Team & Supporters?

There are an absolutely amazing group of people who have come forward to help this dream be realized:

Singer Josh South

Other supporters include:

  • Mezzo Soprano Teresa Bucholz
  • Natalie Merchant
  • Former Metropolitan Opera Soprano, Mildred Allen
  • Co-producer Susan Pretus
  • And many more...

As I said in the beginning - this project must be made in my opinion. To get there, we must find funding and we need your help. Share this campaign with your friends, family, fans, coworkers, and whoever will listen. Every single dollar contributed makes the biggest difference possible in bringing the life and work of William DeVan to the world! Again - our sincerest gratitude both from myself and from all of us here at Big Fat Monster Films.

Find This Campaign On
$844USD
raised in 16 days
15% funded
No time left
$5,500 USD goal
Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on January 29, 2014
Select a Perk
  • $10USD
    Pledge $10 or more

    • Small (11 x 17) movie poster • Satisfaction of knowing you helped make this important film happen.

    0 claimed
    Estimated delivery: June 2014
  • $25USD
    Pledge $25 or more

    • Digital download of completed film • Small (11 x 17) movie poster • Satisfaction of knowing you helped make this important film happen.

    3 claimed
    Estimated delivery: June 2014
  • $25USD
    Just the Poster Please!

    Full-Size (24 x 36) movie poster signed by William DeVan and the team that put this movie on the map!

    0 claimed
    Estimated delivery: March 2014
  • $29USD
    I Heart Piano Docs!

    For all of you who have a budding concert pianist just waiting to grow up - the baby creeper let's your wunderkind express their lifelong passion from day 1!

    0 claimed
    Estimated delivery: February 2014
  • $29USD
    I Heart Piano Docs!

    Just because we all love Piano Docs - here's the awesome black Poster T for you. Get them while you can!

    1 claimed
    Estimated delivery: February 2014
  • $50USD
    Pledge $50 or more

    • Limited edition DVD of film • Full-Size (24 x 36) movie poster • Satisfaction of knowing you helped make this important film happen.

    2 claimed
    Estimated delivery: June 2014
  • $75USD
    Pledge of $75 or more

    For the outrageously small sum of $75, you will get to have a special set of musical pieces composed of William DeVan's favorite music - played by Mr. DeVan himself and mastered for you in a uniquely collectible music DVD - autographed by this incomparable pianist as well. Additionally, with the DVD, you will receive a set of the sheet music with William's liner notes as well.

    0 claimed
    Estimated delivery: March 2014
  • $100USD
    Pledge $100 or more

    • Limited edition DVD • Full-Size (24 x 36) movie poster signed by filmmaker & William DeVan • (2) Tickets to film premiere (travel & hotel not included) • Satisfaction of knowing you helped make this important film happen.

    2 claimed
    Estimated delivery: June 2014
  • $250USD
    Pledge $250 or more

    • Limited edition DVD (when available) • Full-Size (24 x 36) movie poster signed by filmmaker & William DeVan • Print of the Sheet Music from your favorite pieces played in the movie by William DeVan and signed by the Pianist himself • (4) Tickets to film premiere (travel & hotel not included) • Satisfaction of knowing you helped make this important film happen.

    0 claimed
    Estimated delivery: June 2014
  • $500USD
    Pledge of $500 or more

    • Limited edition DVD signed by filmmaker (when available) • Full-Size (24 x 36) movie poster signed by filmmaker & William DeVan • Print of Music Book of Sheet Music played by William DeVan in the Movie and signed by the Pianist himself • (8) Tickets to film premiere • Satisfaction of knowing you helped make this important film happen

    0 claimed
    Estimated delivery: June 2014
  • $1,000USD
    Pledge of $1000 or more

    • Special Thanks credit in film end credits • Limited edition DVD signed by filmmaker & William DeVan (when available) • Full-Size (24 x 36) movie poster signed by filmmaker & William DeVan • Print of Music Book of Sheet Music played by William DeVan in the Movie and signed by the Pianist himself • (8) Tickets to film premiere • Access to the VIP Premier Party for you and your guests • Satisfaction of knowing you helped make this important film happen

    0 claimed
    Estimated delivery: June 2014
  • $2,500USD
    Pledge of $2500 or more

    • Special Thanks credit in film end credits • (10) Limited edition DVD signed by filmmaker & William DeVan (when available) • (10) Full-Size (24 x 36) movie poster signed by filmmaker & William DeVan • Print of Music Book of Sheet Music played by William DeVan in the Movie and signed by the Pianist himself • (8) Tickets to film premiere • Access to the VIP Premier Party for you and your guests • Satisfaction of knowing you helped make this important film happen

    0 claimed
    Estimated delivery: June 2014
  • $5,000USD
    Pledge of $5000 or more

    • Associate Producer credit in film front credits • Special screening rights to film in your home town (Continental US only) • (10) Limited edition DVD signed by filmmaker & William DeVan (when available) • (10) Full-Size (24 x 36) movie poster signed by filmmaker & William DeVan • Print of Music Book of Sheet Music played by William DeVan in the Movie and signed by the Pianist himself • (8) Tickets to film premiere • Access to the VIP Premier Party for you and your

    0 claimed
    Estimated delivery: June 2014
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