Coming of age in the world of professional musicians is another feat unto itself.

Documentary “Pianoforte,” which premiered at Sundance 2023, follows talented young musicians as they compete in the International Chopin Piano Competition, which is held every five years in Warsaw, Poland. “Pianoforte” is directed by “Prime Time” helmer Jakub Piatek and debuted in the World Cinema Documentary Competition at the Sundance Film Festival this year.

Per the official synopsis, the film charts the “highest highs and lowest lows for this select group of musicians as the competition unfolds. The film is both a testament to the remarkable power of music and an intimate coming-of-age portrait.”

Greenwich Entertainment is handling U.S. distribution for the Telemark documentary. “Pianoforte” is produced by Maciej Kubicki (“Kubrick by Kubrick”). The feature was co-funded by the Polish Film Institute and co-produced by HBO Max with BBC Storyville acquiring U.K. rights. The film was shot during the pandemic, with the competition being held every 5 years since 1927.

Director Piatek told Variety that the competition is akin to “Game of Thrones,” saying, “Every few days, half of [the competitors] go home. It’s brutal, but great for a film.”

He continued, “During the actual competition, even cab drivers in Warsaw are making their bets. They talk about it like it’s a football tournament…There are many, many people who obsessively follow the competition. It crossed my mind I was taking on something sacred, but I wanted to go beyond polished album covers. To me, the most interesting things happen before and after they play.”

IndieWire’s Anne Thompson predicted “Pianoforte” will be among the contenders for the Best Documentary category at the Oscars. Thompson pointed out that “one-week Oscar-qualifying runs in six major cities demand resources, as does participating in major and regional festivals, International Documentary Association screenings, and other doc series with Q&As,” with “Pianoforte” having an exact theatrical release to be eligible for a nomination.

“Pianoforte” premieres in select theaters December 1 and on VOD January 9, 2024. Check out the trailer and poster below.

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