Marching Beyond Halftime, a new documentary, hopes to showcase the positive impact of marching band by sending a copy to every member of the House and Senate.
“As I hear about budget cuts and how it’s inhibiting music and arts programs, it just breaks my heart because I think in this age of cell phones and Internet, people just aren’t socializing in the same way,” says filmmaker Sara Flatow. “Playing music with somebody, marching in games and contests and just that goal of working together is something really special.”
Flatow was inspired to do a marching band documentary after seeing the Lake Brantley High School Marching Band in Altamonte Springs, Fla. Director Cynthia Berry is currently finishing her final year with the band she has taught since 1984.
“I couldn’t believe what she’s done with the program, how good the band is and how big they were, and I was blown away,” Flatow says. “I went round and round about different ways we could show them, but then I got diagnosed with breast cancer.”
Flatow, a writer, producer and director living in Los Angeles, has created behind-the-scenes content for shows such as Desperate Housewives, Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder.
A Florida native, Flatow marched in middle school, high school and then college in the University of Florida Fightin’ Gator Marching Band. She was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 45 and is now back working after seven surgeries.
“The skills I developed in band—determination, motivation, discipline, resilience, breathing, leadership—all proved critical in a much bigger arena,” Flatow writes on the film’s website. “As a survivor, I have gained a new understanding and appreciation for all of those years in band.”
Flatow is currently filming with Lake Brantley and then will return to California for more research and to interview prominent people about how marching band has helped them. She recently raised more than $15,000 on crowdfunding website IndieGoGo.
Upon completion of the film (planned for early 2016), she plans to send a copy to every member of Congress to help aid in the fight against cutting music education.
For more information or to donate to the film’s production costs, visit www.marchingbeyondhalftime.com.