New Video’s Docurama Films Releases “They Came To Play,” The Critically-Acclaimed Film Chronicling the Competition and Camraderie of the World’s Best Amateur Pianists

For Immediate Release



Multi-Award-Winning Documentary and New York Times Critic’s Pick Available on DVD and Digital November 16

October 6, 2010 –Everyone has a passion, a secret dream; something they’ve always wanted to do.  But how many people actually pursue that dream and make it a reality? THEY CAME TO PLAY, an emotional, humorous and riveting documentary film about contestants in an international competition for amateur pianists, inspires audiences with its uplifting answer. Through their own personal stories and outstanding performances, these passionate musicians show how it’s possible to be reunited with your desire – whoever you are, at any age.

The International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs: Top amateur pianists from all over the world – ranging from self-taught to classically-trained, aged 35 to nearly 80 – convene in Fort Worth, Texas, for a week of competition, music and camaraderie at this prestigious event hosted by The Van Cliburn Foundation.

The competitors include a Moldovan-born dental assistant living in Oakland, CA, an African-American physician/Tango dancer living in New York City, a Parisian retired national tennis player and coach, a first-time college graduate from a blue-collar family in Oklahoma, and a professor/ventriloquist living in Philadelphia.

These everyday heroes have made their careers outside of music in fields ranging from medicine to business, and professional sports to education.  For competitors who have faced such extraordinary challenges as drug addiction, AIDS, or political asylum, the competition is also a triumph over adversity. For all, it represents an overwhelming desire to express a deeper side of themselves, musically and otherwise.

THEY CAME TO PLAY provides an intimate look into the lives of these colorful, multi-faceted competitors as they strive to balance the demands of work and family with their love of music. Years of dedicated preparation culminate in top-level performances before a professional jury and discerning audience during three nerve-wracking elimination rounds.

Commentary from noted American pianist Van Cliburn and gold medalists from the Foundation’s professional competition, along with outstanding performances of great classical masterworks—from Beethoven to Alkan and from Rachmaninoff to Barber—complement the action in a film that celebrates the creator and the competitor in each of us.

THEY CAME TO PLAY will be distributed day-and-date with the DVD (November 16) on digital platforms via New Video’s partners. Area 23a presents an 88 Films production directed by Alex Rotaru, produced by Lori Miller, and executive produced by Ronnie Planalp.

About New Video
New Video is a leading independent privately-held distributor of quality entertainment via DVD, Blu-ray, download and streaming platforms, and cable VOD. We are the proud home to some of the most prestigious names in the industry like A&E®, HISTORY™, Lifetime®, Major League Baseball®, Scholastic Storybook Treasures™, Arthouse Films and Tribeca Film, as well as New Video’s own Docurama Films® and Flatiron Film Company®. Since 1991, our mission has been to discover and deliver first-rate film and video content to audiences via traditional linear platforms as well as new and evolving digital media. We selectively handpick our library while collaborating directly with our brand partners and filmmakers to cultivate a superior product and fresh new viewing experiences for our audiences. We are headquartered in New York City, but have an international presence in 45 territories.

About Docurama Films
Docurama Films is dedicated to making critically acclaimed and cutting-edge documentaries available digitally and on home video. In 1999, New Video launched Docurama Films with the release of the first feature documentary on DVD, D.A. Pennebaker’s Bob Dylan: Don’t Look Back. Over a decade later and a line of over 250 award-winning and highly acclaimed documentary titles, Docurama continues its mission to unearth and release the great classic documentaries of the last fifty years while spreading the word about filmmakers who are taking the form to new heights.  The Docurama catalog features a wide span of titles from varying genres including the arts, history/politics, environmental, ethnic interest, LGBT, music, and socio-cultural as well as theatrical fan-favorites like The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill and Andy Goldsworthy: Rivers and Tides. Releases in 2010 include the screwball comedy The Yes Men Fix the World, the empowering music celebration Soundtrack for a Revolution and the crowd-pleasing Yoo-Hoo Mrs. Goldberg.

For more information, please contact:
Sommer Hixson
(646) 259-4138

Press Release PDF WORD
Production Notes PDF WORD
About the Cast & Crew PDF WORD
Press Materials

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