Leading the documentary team behind They Came to Play is producer Lori Miller, known for making such commercial films as Panic, starring William H. Macy, Donald Sutherland, Tracey Ullman, and Neve Campbell; and The Last Supper, starring Cameron Diaz and Bill Paxton.
Lori grew up playing and listening to music, which has always been a source of joy and inspiration in her life. She approached the Van Cliburn Foundation for the film rights to their amateur competition after reading about the stories of the competition’s participants — amateur musicians over thirty-five, from all walks of life who strive to play professionally while balancing career and family. She believed that making a film about these diverse and unusual people could stimulate others to pursue their passions at any age.
Ms. Miller also wanted to make the film for her grandmother, who she considers to be the consummate amateur musician, and the true spirit behind the film. After taking piano lessons from age 8-18, Ms. Miller’s grandmother – Elsa Klahr — escaped the holocaust in Germany and moved her young family, raising them in this country. Only at age 70 was she able to resume playing, and she has never stopped since. She even performed for an audience of several hundred just a few months ago on her 103nd birthday.
LORI MILLER, producer