The story of the most important instrument you've never heard of.
THE BOWMAKERS is a new, feature-length documentary that explores the world of the bow and the extraordinary masters who make them.
The bow is the Cinderella of the orchestra—the overworked and overshadowed ally to its more glamorous partners. Few people, even among lovers of classical music, think of the bow as an instrument in its own right, but players of stringed instruments see them differently. To musicians, the bow is as essential to expressing the soul of the music as the violin or cello.
The film follows the journey of the “silent servant” of the music world—from the workshops of the virtuosos of the trade, to the birthplace of the bow in France, and to Brazil, home to the imperiled tree from which the world’s finest bows are made.
THE BOWMAKERS is an artful exploration of one of the most esoteric corners of the music world—as unknown to the public as it is essential to professional musicians.
“THE BOWMAKERS is a remarkable film. The premise is to trace the development of the bow as made by the few remaining masters of the art. The result is the viewer being smitten with the extraordinary beauty and mystery of music itself.” —Stephen Tobolowsky
"Anyone who loves music, who loves art, who loves craft will appreciate this lovely, illuminating film" - Nicholas Kazan, Screenwriter
"It's really hard for people - even myself - to grasp the fact that the bow is an instrument in itself." - Charles Espey, master bowmaker
About the filmmaker
Ward Serrill is the award-winning director of The Heart of the Game, released by Miramax to wide critical acclaim. He has created more than ninety short films including Building One House with Robert Redford and Wild America with Sissy Spacek. He wrote and directed Something in the Water for PBS and the feature documentary Song of the New Earth as well as TreeStory, a series of short films designed to inspire our relationship to trees.