The Ryan Anthony Story
“A feature documentary that tells the story of a world renowned trumpeter proving to the world that art is essential for survival while battling his own terminal cancer.”
7 years ago, Ryan was at the top of his game, performing as a soloist when a sharp pain shot through his side. After extensive testing he was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma (blood cancer) - his bone marrow was reading 80% cancer cells.
Despite a crippling medical regime and ruthless schedule needed for treatments, he continued to play his music and could often be found suffering the after effects of chemo backstage moments before he was due to perform, but when it came time to entertain, Ryan Anthony walked onto that stage and played every note as if it was his last.
Music is not only Ryan’s outlet, it is his reason for being, his emotional voice and he has used it to inspire hope all over the world. Ryan and his family channeled the heartbreak, fear and trauma into their charity, “Cancer Blows”. The charity produces concerts featuring renowned instrumental musicians delivering the power of music, while raising awareness and the funds to find a cure. 10 years ago Multiple Myeloma was a death sentence carrying 3-5 years. Now in his sixth year with the disease Ryan Anthony has redefined the life expectancy and aims to do the same for others.
But, at the the beginning of this year, after tandem stem cell transplants, Ryan was told his cancer had aggressively returned and he had likely just 6 - 12 months to live. Now, determined to deliver possibly his last solo concerts of his life this Summer, will the eponymous hero be there to perform his Song of Hope and deliver his most powerful blow to cancer yet?
Of all the other documentaries out there about individuals struggling against cancer while they strive to achieve some great victory for themselves A Song For Hope stands apart. Our film is the only film to focus on someone trying to do something for the betterment of other people rather than himself. It is the only film to highlight how important art, in this case Ryan's music, is for survival. One thing we all do share in common though, is the proof of the power of hope.
As a team we have a unique insight into telling this story. The Executive Producers are musicians, friends of Ryan's, and can gain access to him and his world far beyond what any other film crew has or could. They can also bring together other influential artists to share their experiences.
The Director himself has had a brush with his own mortality and knows what it's like to sit in hospitals late into the night, to prepare for death as an eminent possibility, and to defy the doctors and beat the odds. He knows how life looks, smells, tastes, and sounds afterwards too. How much more interesting it all is and he knows exactly how to put that to film.
This being a film about art, the film itself needs to look and sound like a work of art. We need to reflect Ryan's experience of appreciating moment as if it were our last. We'll do this by framing our everyday world in ways we don't usually see or hear.
Think of simple things like the way light glistens off a trumpet, the sensation of cool condensation on a glass of water, or the incredible warmth of a loved one's smile. Sometimes it's a close up macro shot, sometimes it'll be shooting the moment in super high speed, and other times it could be emphasizing sounds that we might normally ignore, sounds that carry a certain beat.
Embrace What's There
We have hours of archival footage, from multiple sources, that date back to when Ryan was in High School. We also have Ryan currently recoding intimate moments on his iPhone. All of these mixed formats will help to weave a story that goes beyond the decades the story spans to look and feel timeless.
There are many documentaries dealing with the subject of cancer, but in the recent years there are two that stand out the most in its similarity to the topic we are approaching. They tell stories of artists struggling with cancer and dealing with it in their own unique ways. Both have been very succesful during their festival runs. They have screened at the most prestegious international doc festivals and won awards. Only one of them had a theatrical release outside the festival circuit but both have been picked up and distributed by Netflix. Therefore financial data due to Netflix policies are not accesible.
INTRO TO FINANCIALS
Over the last ten years, most single documentaries made by independent production companies were produced for less than $500,000 per hour (in 2016 dollars). Over the same period, the proportion of single documentaries made for between $500,000 and $1 million per hour has fluctuated between 21 and 38 per cent, while the proportion of documentaries made for more than $1 million per hour has been relatively static. 1
1 2018 Screen Australia, Documentary Production Budget Ranges
Meet The Team
BENJAMIN J. RICHARDSON
DIRECTOR / PRODUCER
Benjamin J. Richardson is an LA based director, born and raised in Upstate New York. He has worked on numerous productions that have received over a dozen ADDY awards. His passion is bringing emotinally compelling stories with social relevance and a greater purpose to the screen.
LA based British writer and former brass musician. Performed around the world with the renowned brass ensembles. He has won the British and European Brass Band Championship 3 times. Nominated for a BBC writing award in 2017 and shortlisted for a BAFTA Rocliffe award.
Trumpet Professor with Distinction and Head of Brass Studies at UCLA. He is the first classical brass soloist to be awarded the Order of Canada, the country’s highest civilian honour. Hailed as one of the most celebrated soloists in his instruments history.
A Midwestern girl in Los Angeles. As co-owner of Orange Robot, she has produced numerous narrative and commercial projects while also acting as a digital marketing consultant for several major motion picture studios including Universal Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox, DreamWorks, Paramount and Sony.
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY
A Los Angeles based Director of Photography and co-owner of the production company, Orange Robot. Originally from Indiana and a graduate of Ball State University, Luke’s work has been seen by millions. His unique eye to capture subjects in their most natural state fuels his documentary work today.
Orange Robot, LLC
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Benjamin J, Richardson