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by Samantha Hill
July 24th, 2012

What happens when 60 plus fifth graders, mostly from poorer neighborhoods in Staten Island, get their Hollywood big break?  Director Jonathan Kalafer tells the true, inspiring tale of the PS22 Chorus, who were chosen to sign “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” at the closing of the 83rd Annual Academy Awards in his debut feature Once in a Lullaby: The PS22 Chorus Story, which screens as part of Rooftop’s 2012 Summer Series on August 14.

Chronicling their triumphs, tears, frustrations, and every emotion in between leading on their journey to Los Angeles, Kalafer shows the true passion and musicianship of his young subjects.  Led by energetic longtime choir director Gregg Breinberg, the children battle nerves, lost voices, homesickness, and the intense pressure of performing at one of the biggest entertainment industry events of the year.  Breinberg began posting the songs of the PS22 choir on YouTube in 2007, and the youngsters quickly became a viral sensation.  Oscar co-host Anne Hathaway visited the school in December 2010 at the annual winter concert to announce their invitation to sing at the Academy Awards.

Having received wide acclaim from moguls, famous actors, and recording artists and extensive media attention, PS22 Chorus melts away the glamour of the entertainment industry and gets right down to the heart of the matter: the music. Come out to Richmond County Bank Ballpark in Staten Island on August 14 at 730pm for Rooftop’s FREE screening of the film.  Members of PS22 will be there too, and who knows, they might break out a tune or two.

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Rooftop Films is a New York based non-profit whose mission is to engage diverse communities by showing independent movies in outdoor locations, producing new films, coordinating youth media education, and renting equipment at low cost to artists.

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