Documentary on ‘Hamilton’ experience to air this month Film follows Monterey County 8th graders through musical journey

Mac And Ava Motion Pictures, in association with the Dan and Lillian King Foundation, presents “9,000 8th Graders,” a documentary that records a once in a lifetime experience when every Monterey County 8th grader — nearly 9,000 kids and not just this group or that group but “everyone” — gets to see a lively performance of U.S. history in “Hamilton: An American Musical.”

The new documentary that captures the excitement will air on the Central Coast:

  • KSBW Channel 8 – Saturday, May 16,  7 p.m.
  • Central Coast ABC – Saturday  May 23,  6:30 p.m.
  • Estrella TV – Saturday  May 23,  9 a.m.
  • KPIX TV – Saturday, May 16,  7 p.m.

“Our film focuses on the before: the kids’ anticipation, wonder and excitement of attending a Broadway play,” said Terri DeBono, filmmaker with Mac And Ava Motion Pictures, which produced “9,000 8th Graders.”  “And it shows the after: their understanding and appreciation for our Founding Fathers, a group of young idealistic men who worked diligently, despite their differences, to give us the assurance of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Connecting the musical to the U.S. Constitution will make a difference to them.”

It was an extraordinary idea that Monterey’s nonprofit Dan and Lillian King Foundation’s board member, Marc Del Piero, had:  How about giving every 8th grader in Monterey County the opportunity to go for free to see the historical musical “Hamilton: An American Musical” at the Orpheum Theater in San Francisco?   After all, the mission of the Dan and Lillian King Foundation is to educate Monterey County’s students on the genesis of the U.S Constitution, and the California State curriculum requires U.S. history in 8th grade. A perfect match!

Del Piero got the go-ahead and the coordination efforts began, between the Tony Award-winning show’s management, the Monterey County Office of Education, bus transportation companies, and individual schools in a wide mix of communities including Monterey, Pacific Grove, King City, Salinas, Carmel, Spreckels, Greenfield, Pebble Beach and Pajaro.

For over four months starting in August 2019, award-winning Monterey filmmakers Terri DeBono and Steve Rosen of Mac and Ava Motion Pictures visited 13 middle schools, filming the complex preparation with teachers and staff at the Monterey County Office of Education. They interviewed numerous teachers, principals and students; they were in a dozen U.S. history classes; they filmed three bus trips, and waited in line with students at the Orpheum Theater.

The 54-minute film debuts May 16 on KSBW-TV Channel 8 at 7 p.m.; Central Coast ABC on May 23 at 6:30 p.m.; Estrella TV on May 23 at 9 a.m., and KPIX TV on May 16 at 7 p.m.

Mac And Ava Motion Pictures, founded by Terri DeBono and Steve Rosen in 1987, has produced many award-winning films, including the social issue documentaries “Beyond Barbed Wire,” “Accidental Hero: Room 408,” “My Name is Belle,” and “Boyhood Shadows.”

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