FLAMEKEEPER: THE MICHAEL CLEVELAND STORY Free Film Screening April 17 at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts

LOUISVILLE, KY – April 5, 2019 – The feature length music documentary Flamekeeper: The Michael Cleveland Story will be shown to the public Wednesday, April 17 at theKentucky Center for the Performing Arts in Louisville, Kentucky. This free event will also feature a performance by Grammy nominated artist Michael Cleveland, and an opportunity to meet the film's director John Presley and producer Cortlandt Ingram.  

Flamekeeper tells the story of Cleveland, an iconic and sought-after fiddle player who has overcome great personal hardship to become one of the most awarded fiddlers of all time.

Cleveland was born blind and with a cleft palate, and in early childhood he lost 80% of the hearing in his left ear. In spite of physical challenges, he undertook a musical career and ascended to the highest possible echelons of his genre. 

Cleveland is the International Bluegrass Music Association’s 11-time, most-awarded,Fiddle Player of the Year, and has won Instrumental Recorded Performance of the Year six times. Cleveland also fronts the 5-time Instrumental Group of the Year, Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper, which he founded in 2006. 

This free event will start at 7:00 PM in the Bomhard Theatre. Doors open at 6:30 PM and 600 seats are available on a first come first serve basis. The event will also feature a musical performance by Cleveland. 

The showing will also be raising awareness for the Kentucky School For The Blind, a local school that provides comprehensive educational services to all Kentucky students who are blind and visually impaired. Cleveland attended and graduated from the school before pursuing a full-time career in music. The school is featured in the documentary film as a formative experience for Cleveland. 

Director John Presley brings his expert eye and heart for storytelling to the project. The film, while visually engaging, was also designed with Cleveland himself in mind. “I learned that our visually impaired friends see the world in an entirely different way,” says Presley. “One of my goals was to create a film that Michael would be able to experience and enjoy through sound alone.” 

Years of commercial and short film work, along with his experience as a musician, led the director on a journey to uncover how Cleveland became the artist—and person—he is today. “I am honored to tell his inspirational story and present his talent to new audiences around the world,” says Presley.

“When I was first approached about the idea of a documentary film about me, I was definitely surprised, and it still seems so surreal,” adds Cleveland. “For as long as I’ve been playing music professionally, I have made it a point to keep the focus on the music and not the fact that I am visually impaired. I decided that if I was going to have a career in music, I wanted to make it on my abilities as a musician and not the fact that I was blind. I realized this film could be an inspiration to some young kid with a dream that looks as impossible as it seemed to me when I was growing up and dreaming of a career in music.”

“It’s wicked to see how much music he pulls out of a bow—He’s untouchable,” says 21-time Grammy Award winner Vince Gill. Gill is featured in the film, along with 14-time Grammy Award winner Béla Fleck. Also appearing in the film are music notables Sam Bush, Jens Kruger, Jeff White, the Bibelhauser Brothers, and Andy Statman

Flamekeeper is now available to audiences online through Amazon.com and Vimeo.com. For more information visit FlamekeeperFilm.com

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For Flamekeeper/Validate Films:

Erin Morris Huttlinger / Morris Public Relations / erin@morrispr.biz / 615.419.9988

Alison Auerbach / AAPR / alisonapr@aol.com / 615.269.6440

For Michael Cleveland:

Kimberly Williams / East Public Relations / info@eastpublicrelations.com / 931.808.8083

Sean Della Croce