About

Half Moon Bay, California. Mauro ffortissimo, an artist and musician, drags an old grand piano onto the bluffs near his home by the sea. He plays it every evening at sunset for the migrating whales passing just offshore. The internet catches on, the news cameras arrive, crowds swell to hundreds of people. And the city orders it to stop.

Mauro responds with an installation of twelve pianos at select locations along the San Mateo coast. In the misty early morning hours, pianos are hauled up mountains, onto beaches, and into cypress groves. For twelve days, world-class musicians, enthusiasts, and novices come to play in the exquisite natural surroundings. And again, he is ordered to stop the music.

There is no choice but to bring the pianos to the streets of San Francisco. Now twelve grand pianos on wheeled platforms roll through the worst parts of town, where the homeless and neglected reap the benefits of the artist’s hard work. The pianos are stored in a crumbling, condemned building, which soon hosts underground concerts by the city’s finest musicians. San Francisco’s rebellious artist’s soul stirs once again. But why must art have to work and sometimes fight to even have a place in our world?

Twelve Pianos is a story of music, culture, and poetry, determined to survive against all odds. Like beautiful weeds growing unnoticed through cracks in the sidewalk, the film showcases everyday superstars who walk among us, with a deep passion for the arts that will not fit neatly into a box. Filmmaker Dean Mermell and a small, dedicated crew capture the incredible sights and sounds of this unusual passion project, in a film that asks: As the world rushes headlong into an unknown future, what good things from the past are worth saving?

These pianos want to save the world.

Sunset Piano and the film Twelve Pianos are community supported endeavors. Join hundreds of enthusiastic supporters by making a safe donation through PayPal (donations will appear on your statement as payments to Sunset Piano, Dean Mermell, Storyfarm Productions).

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