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For Once in My Life


USA Directors: Jim Bigham, Mark Moormann Producer: Jim Bigham Editor: Amy Foote 2010/color/90 min.


JIM BIGHAM


Jim Bigham produced the Independent Spirit Awards’ Best Feature Film of 2007, Sweet Land. His credits include several box office hits as well as the hit TV series Saturday Night Live. Bigham has directed made-for-TV films, music videos and the first live rock concert behind the Iron Curtain in the late 1980s.


MARK MOORMANN


South Florida–based filmmaker Mark Moormann’s extensive experience in directing and cinematography is grounded in the world of popular music. Via music documentaries, music videos, studio shoots and live performance shoots, Moormann has worked with the likes of Aerosmith, The Bee Gees, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Michael Jackson and Shakira, to name a few.


Filmography Tom Dowd & the Language of Music (2003)


In 1981, several employees at the Goodwill Industries of South Florida got together to make some music, singing at company holiday parties and business meetings. While their enthusiasm for their hobby proved infectious, management also recognized their talent—and in 1996, a professional musical director was hired to expand the vocal group into a full-fledged, 29-member orchestra and lead it in rehearsal for public perfomances. There was just one thing Javier Peña needed to know before he took the job: all the band members suffered from mental and physical disabilities.


Autism, blindness, head trauma, Down’s Syndrome: the list of complications was long and in many cases severe, the task of developing the musical skills of its sufferers daunting to say the least—not only from a technical standpoint but also a social one. But if their behavioral issues created immense obstacles to cooperation and collaboration, the band members’ sheer joy of and pride in performing for audiences constitued a guiding light at the end of a very long and winding tunnel.


In 2008, the Spirit of Goodwill—as the group is called—was invited by Manny Diaz, the mayor of Miami, to perform at the US Mayor’s Convention before a thousand-strong crowd. Directors Jim Bigham and Mark Moormann came along for the ride toward the night of these aspiring musicians’ lives, using mostly handheld cameras to conduct interviews and capture the rehearsal process in all its ups and downs. As sympathetic and inspiring as it is unsen- timental, For Once in My Life offers a remarkable portrait of the human spirit, striving for greatness against all odds.


—RUTH TOBIAS Sponsored by


79


DOCUMENTARY


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