About the Film
When an anxiety-ridden NYC apartment dweller calms her nerves by playing the piano late at night, little does she realize how hostile her neighbors’ reactions will be, but little do they realize what retribution their incivility might trigger in her.
Recent NYC transplant Lauren calms her fragile nerves by playing the piano late at night in her small apartment. But when she tries to apologize to her neighbors–an older man with a dog and a father with a newborn–she is met with thinly veiled hostility. Their behavior perplexes Lauren and increases her anxiety. But are her perceptions accurate and what is behind her odd purchases at the local hardware store?
Living in New York City, we often grow accustomed to wielding a shield in our daily lives to cope with the slings and arrows of big-city living. At the same time, we crave connections—to friends, neighbors and even strangers. It can seem like no one really cares who we are, though sometimes we’d rather keep that to ourselves, anyway. I’m intrigued by this duality.
In “Pianoforte,” a newly arrived NYC apartment dweller is already near the end of her emotional rope. While lonely and craving contact, she finds her neighbors strange and difficult, and retreats to her apartment for refuge. Her neighbors rob her of that peace. I’ve taken these circumstances and turned them into a psychological drama with a dark sense of humor.
Neo-noir is the style I’m aiming for, where elements such as anxiety, disillusionment and panic drive the look. The sets are stark and high contrast, reflecting the lead actor’s state of mind. Echoing the film’s title, which means “soft- loud” in Italian, I also enlist sounds as a further instrument of torment.
Peilin Kuo is an award-winning filmmaker born in Taiwan and based in New York. After graduating with a drama degree from her homeland, she worked for a production company in Taipei. She relocated to New York in 2002 and started to pursue her career as an independent filmmaker.
Peilinʼs first short film, “Everyday,” won the “Someone to Watch 2005” award from CineWomen NY and was broadcast by PBS’s “Reel New York” in 2007. Her short film, “A.K.A. 08494####,” was awarded “First Runner Up” and “Most Original” from the 2005 “72 Hour Film Shootout” competition. Her music video, “true story,” was screened at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival. Her short film, “Private Party,” won the Golden Palm award at the 2009 Mexico International Film Festival.
Peilinʼs 23-minute film, “Prescott Place,” was nominated for the “Excellence in Short Filmmaking” award at the 2011 Asian American International Film Festival. The film was also an official selection at the 2012 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival and won an “Honorable Mention” award from Asians On Film Festival 2012. “Prescott Place” is distributed by SnagFilms.
Peilin’s latest short film, “To Die or To Dream,” is a trailer for her upcoming feature film project, “A Thousand Deaths – The Story of Anna May Wong.” “To Die or To Dream” has been shown at film festivals and won the “Award of Merit” from Accolade Global Film Competition, the “Best Drama Honorable Mention” award from Asians on Film Festival, and the “Remi Award” from WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival. The feature length screenplay was a finalist for the Sundance Screenwriters Lab 2017.
Jennifer Kim (Lauren)
Jennifer attended NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts at the Stella Adler Studio as well as London’s Royal Academy of the Dramatic Arts.
Film credits include: The Bourne Legacy, First Winter, We Need to Talk About Kevin, Confessions of a Shopaholic, The Unity of All Things, Wild Canaries, Intimate Semaphores, Obvious Child, Female Pervert, Lace Crater, Newly Single, The
Incredible Jessica James, Spider-Man: Homecoming. Television credits include recurring guest star roles on Amazon’s “Mozart in the Jungle” and TBS’ “Search Party.” Lead in an episode of Netflix’s Easy. Then recurring roles on NBC’s “The Blacklist,” as well as roles on “Rescue Me,” “The Good Wife,” “666 Park Ave,” “You’re Whole,” and “Elementary.” Theatre credits include the 2016 Pulitzer Finalist Gloria at the Vineyard Theatre and the Goodman Theatre as well
as Engagements at Second Stage Theatre.
A Los Angeles native, Jen lives in Brooklyn and enjoys reading, taking photographs, and watching films.
Richard Eagan (Eli Cooper)
As a young man in Westport, CT, Richard appeared in various community theater plays and musicals before deciding to pursue acting as a career.
He worked off-Broadway and in summer stock in the 1960s, but had a change of heart, which took him out of the theater and into other life pursuits.
In 1987 he agreed to act in a friend’s production of Len Jenkins’ Kid Twist at Sideshows by the Seashore in Coney Island,
where his then nine-year-old daughter Daisy saw him perform and decided she wanted to do the same thing herself.
In the 1990s he was cast in HBO Films Judgment, with Keith Carradine and Blythe Danner, and joined Avalon Repertory Theater in NYC, appearing in a baker’s half- dozen stage dramas including The Elephant Man, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Shaw’s Dark Lady of the Sonnets, and Jerome Davis’ Pas de Deux.
Opportunity knocked twice again when two friends asked him to act in their debut films–Eric Werthman’s Going Under (2004) and Todd Gordon’s Pianoforte (2018). Since then, Richard has been featured in a variety of short dramatic films, and is most proud to be seen as the title character in Todd Gordon’s latest film, Old Hen. This fall, he will begin shooting a new feature by John Painz, The Mourners.
Marie-Louise Miller (Clerk)
Marie-Louise’s vision as a theater director and dramaturg conceives of stories as fabric of a community.
“One of the most basic arts is that of sharing stories, creating a fabric between people. Communities, diverse or homogeneous, need a way to access one another, reflect upon themselves and step away for a long view. So: we persevere to tell and retell and tell yet again our story in coming of age. From painting and sculpture to music and dance to spoken performance, story is how we got out of caves and came together to create society.”
As a director of large-scale productions as well as more intimate productions, Marie-Louise seeks to push theatrical conventions. While earning an MFA in Stage Direction from Northwestern University, graduate internships in Germany, (before and just after the fall of the Berlin Wall) led to the New American Plays Festival at the Stadstheater in former East Berlin. She has worked on shows at the International Fringe Festival, programs at Lincoln Center, and assisted at Chicago’s Shakespeare Rep. In NY, she collaborated with Craig Lucas at the New York Theater Workshop, The Rattlestick Theater and The Atlantic Theater Company.
Marie-Louise has created workshops for growing the inner narrative voice in children and teens. She has worked in schools and libraries in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and in the Hudson Valley Rivertowns. Her projects include Destination Imagination, film scripting and shooting, reimagining fairy tales, epic stories, large group performance projects, and an international festival of food and culture.
In 2015, 2016 and 2017, she directed staged readings of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues at South Presbyterian Church’s Sanctuary Space in Dobbs Ferry. In each instance she brought together 30 + female (and male) actors, community members, musicians and fine artists for an evening of performance and celebration. The event benefitted the women at Hope’s Door.
She produces performance arts events with RiverArts in Hastings-on-Hudson and is currently working on a funded performance-art project with 14 artists across the arts disciplines.
She is fluent in German.
Raymond Turturro (Neighbor)
Raymond Turturro is an actor who studied at HB Studios in Manhattan. He’s also a writer and artist, and lives in Brooklyn, NY, where he grew up. He has appeared in many film festival award-winning shorts and feature films, playing many wonderful and interesting roles, but his best role is… his next one. Always striving for excellence and to bring enjoyment to the audience, Raymond continues to sharpen his skills and improve his stagecraft in hopes of someday working with the great actors of today. He also loves collecting comic books.
Todd I. Gordon (Writer & Executive Producer) – Todd came to screenwriting after many years in the corporate world. The first feature script he completed won two screenwriting competitions. “Pianoforte” is his first script to become a film.
Borja Campillo (Director of Photography) – Borja has worked as a producer, cinematographer and in various other roles on many narrative and documentary projects across the globe, including “Mary’s Land,” which was released in more than 22 countries in Europe, the United States, South America and Asia. That film has been a tremendous box office success, becoming the most profitable film of 2014 per copy in his native Spain. One of Borja’s last projects, “Pela Adhi Akshar,” was shot entirely in India and released worldwide in 2017. He is now working on post-production for “The Faja,” a feature documentary that will soon be seen on the festival circuit.
Joseph Gutowski (Editor & Producer) – Joseph is a film editor who has cut over 20 feature films in a wide variety of genres, such as Echelon Conspiracy, Bella, Front Cover, and Passenger 57. He apprenticed with some of the industry’s top film editors including Dede Allen, Stephen A. Rotter, and Richard Nord. Joseph is also a painter, and has had several exhibitions of his works in New York and California.
Elle Kunnos de Voss (Production Designer) – Elle is a New York-based Swedish designer. Her work ranges from production design, set and costume design, architecture to creative writing, graphics and illustration.
Elle holds an M.A. from The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts School of Design. After graduating in 2004, Elle moved to New York City and has since completed production design for films, designed sets and costumes for performing arts productions in Europe and the US and is currently developing an opera with LA based composer and artist Micah Silver.
Her first opera, The Echo Drift, co-written with composer Mikael Karlsson is scheduled for its world premiere in New York Jan 2018. For her work on The Echo Drift libretto she received the Opera Genesis Fellowship, alongside composer Mikael Karlsson, in 2015. In Sweden she recently developed Justine, a theatrical dance piece, with choreographer Charlotta Öfverholm. The piece celebrates individuality and deals with justice, in a story of how imagination triumphs over oppression.
Other recent work includes set and costume design for Fernando Melos If walls could speak at The Apollo Theater, NYC, costume design for Too Much by Wendy Houston, Dansens Hus Stockholm, The Misantrophe by Hunger and Thirst Theater New York, story and illustration for Book of Loveistanis with co-writer Gudlaug Fridgeirsdottir for Gudrun Publishing / Safnabókin, Reykjiavik. Recent film projects include Girls Lost by Alexandra-Therese Keining / Gotafilm which premiered at TIFF. The Frigid by Aizhan Tuganbay / NY, The Ceremony by Lina Mannheimer / French Quarter Film which premiered at SXSW.
Nic Izzi (Producer) – Nic began his career producing concert films for record labels, several were certified Gold and Platinum Status by the Recording Industry Association. His first feature film was distributed by Universal, and he has since produced HUNTER’S MOON, starring Colm Feore and Ari Millen. He is currently co-producing THE CHAPERONE, written by Julian Fellowes.
Jessica Kingdon (Producer) – Jessica is a Brooklyn-based filmmaker. She received her BA in Film Studies from Columbia University and her MA in Media Studies from The New School. Her short film “Commodity City” shot in Yiwu, China is an observational documentary about the world’s largest wholesale mall. It has played at IFF Rotterdam, Slamdance, True/False, Sarasota and others. It won the Tom Berman Award for Most Promising Director at Ann Arbor Film Festival. She also works as an independent producer, and recently co-produced the feature film “Old Stone” which premiered at the Berlinale 2016 and won Best Canadian First Feature at TIFF 2016. Her residencies include the UnionDocs Lab and the Points North Institute Shortform Editing Residency. She is a member of the Brooklyn Filmmakers Collective.
Paul Walker (Producer) – Paul is a New York-based screenwriter. A graduate of NYU’s Cinema Studies department, his passion for film history and aesthetics provides a wealth of knowledge upon which he draws as a writer principally concerned with advancing a radical sense of empathy onscreen.
Paul’s bilingual stylings – French and English – stem from time spent abroad in France as a child. Despite his fluency with the culture of La Republique, he bleeds New York City bop. Currently working as a freelance screenwriter developing feature-length scripts and shorter formats, he previously spent years working in post-production and development, for companies including Focus Features, FUSE and Discovery Networks.
Director – Peilin Kuo
Writer – Todd I. Gordon
Director of Photography – Borja Campillo
Editor – Joseph Gutowski
Production Designer – Elle Kunnos de Voss
Executive Producer – Todd I. Gordon
Producer – Nic Izzi
Producer – Jessica Kingdon
Producer – Paul Walker
Producer – Joseph Gutowski
Assistant Director – Coren Helene-Gitomer
Assistant Camera – Olga Vazquez
Gaffer – Tony Sur
Grip – Neil Todnem
Set Decorator – Ian Betram
Tech Consultant – Ryan Frame
Still Photographer – Jim Metzger
Piano Instructor – Yiju Chen
Hair & Makeup – Missy Scarbrough
Sound Recordist – Mano Guha
Music Consultant – Susan Feder
Music Editor – Aaron Severini
Sound Designer – Julian Evans
Digital Finishing – Harbor Picture Company
Supervising Colorist – Roman Hankewycz
Colorist – Erik Choquette
Colorist – Robert Boscacci
Digital Intermediate Producer – Matt Hawkins
Wardrobe Consultant – Basia Gordon
Social Media Consultant – Annie Field
Production Assistant – Shay Yoos
“Gnossienne No. 1”
Composed by Erik Satie
Performed by Jennifer Kim
“String Quartet No. 1”
Composed by John Corigliano
Published by G. Schirmer, Inc.
Performed by Corigliano Quartet
Courtesy of Naxos of America
Composed by Skip LaPlante
Performed by Music for Homemade Instruments
Copyright © 1980 by Skip LaPlante