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A film by Ted Braun

99 min.


Superstar conductor Gustavo Dudamel faces the test of a lifetime when social unrest in his Venezuelan homeland challenges his conviction that music has the power to unite, in writer- director Ted Braun’s emotional affirmation of the resilience of art in a time of political crisis.

Venezuelan-born conductor Gustavo Dudamel has set the music world afire with his electric and original interpretations of the greatest symphonic works. While leading orchestras around the world, his passion, conducting brilliance and broad embrace of all kinds of music have earned him a global audience and a reputation as the brightest star in the classical universe. In a career that began when he was appointed music director of the Simón Bolívar National Youth Orchestra of Venezuela at the age of 18, he has also been named one of Time’s “100 Most Influential People,” served as the inspiration for Amazon’s “Mozart in the Jungle,” appeared beside Elmo on “Sesame Street” and, since 2009, served as music and artistic director of the renowned Los Angeles Philharmonic, one of the most innovative and forward-looking orchestras in the world and, according to The New York Times, “the most important orchestra in America. Period.”

¡Viva Maestro! is an intimate yet expansive exploration of Dudamel’s creative life and values from critically acclaimed, award-winning filmmaker Ted Braun. His new feature documentary takes audiences on a cinematic and sonic journey inside the imagination of a musical genius and around the globe as Dudamel leads the world’s great orchestras and works with and inspires young musicians across the planet - in Los Angeles, Berlin, Mexico City, Hamburg, Vienna and finally Santiago, Chile.

The story begins in February 2017 in Caracas as a celebration of the conductor’s art but takes an unexpected turn one month later when deadly protests erupt across Venezuela. Separated from the Venezuelan orchestras and renowned musical education program he leads, Dudamel faces an unexpected and daunting series of challenges — to his duty to his mentor, the great Maestro José Antonio Abreu; to the friends he grew up performing with and the hundreds of thousands of young musicians he’s now responsible for; and to the aesthetic and moral values that have guided his life. But Dudamel fights for his belief that music unites people and ultimately channels his relentless passion and creative energy to devise a concert that brings musicians from around the world to celebrate the unstoppable joy of art and the transformative power of music.

¡Viva Maestro! is directed and written by Ted Braun (Betting on Zero, Darfur Now). The film is produced by Steve Tisch (Forrest Gump, “Why We Hate”), Dean Schramm (Darfur Now, “Secrets of Eden”), Howard Bragman (“Michael Sam,” Becoming Chaz), Nicolas Paine, and Braun. Executive producers are Jeff Skoll (American Factory, Spotlight) and Diane Weyermann (American Factory, An Inconvenient Truth). Cinematography is by Buddy Squires, ASC (“The Civil War,” The Central Park Five) with Richard Pearce (Woodstock, Food, Inc.). The editor is Kate Amend, ACE (Into the Arms of Strangers, The Long Way Home). Re-recording mixer is Ron Bartlett (Dune, Life of Pi, Blade Runner 2049). The film features the music of Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Mahler, Shostakovich and Mexico’s greatest living composer, Arturo Márquez, with performances by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Berlin Philharmonic and the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela.

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