Kids, Life & Rock 'n' Roll

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: Documentary Feature
GENRE: Documentary
STATUS: Production


A coming-of-age documentary about two kids forming a band in the middle of a pandemic.


A coming-of-age documentary about two kids forming a band in the middle of a pandemic.


The film will be anchored in a three-act structure. Having been embedded with our protagonists, literally, for half a decade, we plan to follow Nika and Luca for another 1-2 years, likely through Nika’s “Sweet 16” birthday and Luca’s first day of High School. The film’s visual language is rooted in cinema verite. Personal archival footage, captured on cell phones since the kids’ early childhood, will take on equal importance as footage captured with professional cameras. We feel this mix of textures will give the film an unusually intimate fabric. The kids’ use of social media, e.g. TikTok, will open up possibilities to incorporate additional, newer mediums. In this way Luca and Nika are coming of age in front of our eyes, not only as they grow into musicians, but also as they transcend childhood and take their first steps into young adulthood. Whether or not they ultimately find success with music (whatever that means to them) or whether simply coming of age will consume them, this real life story will show the journey - perilous yet exhilarating, hard yet transformative. In spite of the anxiety-producing backdrop of the pandemic - which will shape at least the middle acts of the film - we’re envisioning an inspirational tone similar to Mad Hot Ballroom and other youth and family programs. However, in addition to being more longitudinal in approach, we feel our story is also more personal - at least until the kids put a stop to our constantly filming them. This layer of the story - the making of the film and the conflicts that come with it - is currently not fully represented in our sample footage. Nonetheless, it will provide additional conflict as the kids morph from being willing film subjects into rebellious teenagers who threaten to break the camera next time mom or dad shoves it in their face. Other reference movies include, Hoop Dreams, American Promise, and Diaries.


Till Schauder - Director/Producer
Till Schauder (Director/Cinematographer/Producer) originally from Germany, is a Brooklyn based writer, director, and cinematographer. His first documentary THE IRAN JOB (2012) was released on Netflix, mentioned as an Oscar contender, and shortlisted for a German Academy Award. His documentary WHEN GOD SLEEPS (2017) premiered at Tribeca, won Most Valuable Documentary of the Year from Cinema for Peace during Berlinale, was shortlisted for a German Academy Award in 2018 along with several other international recognitions and had it’s broadcast premiere on Independent Lens. Schauder also completed WARRIORS OF FAITH (GLAUBENSKRIEGER) (2017), a feature documentary about Iraqi refugees in Germany combating ISIS through performance arts, for which he won the 2017 German Television Academy Award (German Emmy) and the ARD Top of the Docs Award, as well as a nomination for the Prix Europa. Schauder’s film REGGAE BOYZ (2019) received an audience award at the Brooklyn Film Festival was called “one of the funniest documentaries in years” by It was released theatrically in Germany in 2019 and in digital theaters across America in 2020. His latest film POSTER MIGRANT (2021), about Turkish-German activist Ali Can, premiered on German broadcast (WDR) in. He is currently co-directing UNTITLED NICKY NODJOUMI PROJECT, a personal doc about his father-in-law, commissioned by HBO, and KIDS, LIFE & ROCK ‘N’ ROLL, a coming-of-age doc about two kids (his own) trying to form a rock band in the middle of a pandemic.

Sara Nodjoumi - Director/Producer
Sara Nodjoumi (Director/Producer) is an independent filmmaker, producer and festival programmer. Raised by Iranian e´migre´ artists in New York City, her work often explores international subject matters featuring nuanced perspectives outside of the Western media focus and often challenging mainstream perceptions. Recent credits include WHEN GOD SLEEPS (2017), supported by the Sundance Institute, the Catapult Film Fund and various other documentary organizations, which premiered at Tribeca, played over 100 festivals worldwide, premiered nationally on Independent Lens, and won numerous international awards, before being shortlisted for the 2018 Academy Award in Germany. She previously produced THE IRAN JOB (2012), also shortlisted for a German Academy Award and released worldwide on Netflix. More recently, Nodjoumi and her producing and life partner, Till Schauder, released their latest documentary REGGAE BOYZ (2019), which received an Audience Award at Brooklyn Film Festival and screened in digital theaters across America. She is an alum of the Sundance Creative Producers Summit and the IFP Cannes Producers Network Fellowship. She was awarded the 2021 Inaugural Brown Girls Documentary Mafia Sustainable Artist Grant for UNTITLED NICKY NODJOUMI PROJECT, a personal documentary about her father - controversial Iranian painter Nicky Nodjoumi - that was recently commissioned by HBO. Nodjoumi is currently producing and directing KIDS, LIFE & ROCK ‘N’ ROLL, a coming-of-age doc about two kids (her own) trying to form a rock band in the middle of a pandemic.

Ryan Harrington - Consulting Producer
Ryan Harrington (Consulting Producer), formerly vice president of documentaries for National Geographic, director of Discovery Communications and manager of A&E Television Network, is currently the head of film for kinema. As an industry veteran, he has executive produced several award winning feature length documentaries, including FAUCI (2021), BECOMING COUSTEAU (2021), THE FIRST WAVE (2021), LOST AND FOUND (2019), THE CAVE (2019), and REBUILDING PARADISE (2020). As consulting producer on KIDS, LIFE & ROCK ‘N’ ROLL, he is brokering relationships with potential investors and distribution opportunities, as well as contributing to the development of an impact campaign advocating for music education in public schools.

Gretchen Hildebran - Editor
Gretchen Hildebran (Editor, Co-Producer) is a documentary filmmaker and editor whose work lives at the intersection of politics, policy and the human experience. She co-directed the feature DECADE OF FIRE (2018), about the fires that destroyed the South Bronx in the 1970s. The film premiered at DOCNYC and had a national broadcast premiere on Independent Lens in 2019, winning that season's audience award. Her other documentary films include WORTH SAVING (2004), which was presented in HBO’s Frame by Frame showcase; OUT IN THE HEARTLAND (2005) which explored anti-gay legislation in Kentucky. A 2005 graduate of Stanford’s documentary program, Gretchen shot Ramona Diaz’s THE LEARNING (2011) and has edited for the History Channel, PBS and the United Nations Development Programme, as well as on independent documentaries. Gretchen also creates educational media about life-saving interventions such as needle exchange and overdose prevention. Her most recent piece trains people being released from incarceration in Los Angeles County to use Narcan to save lives from opiate overdose. She is currently in post production on THE PEOPLE VS. AUSTERITY, a short web series about fiscal austerity in New York, Puerto Rico and Detroit.


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