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In 2016, the League of American Orchestras conducted a study that revealed a shocking statistic: only 1.8% of the professional orchestra workforce in the US is Black. From an old church rec room in the inner city of Los Angeles, former lawyer-turned-conductor Chuck Dickerson is on a mission to change that.  


Through ICYOLA - The Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles,  — the largest majority Black orchestra in the country — Chuck is creating life-changing opportunities for his community that did not previously exist.


The Orchestra Chuck Built is a loving portrait of a tireless mentor and a testament to the transformative power of music.

The Filmmakers


Originally from New Orleans, Christopher Stoudt is an award-winning filmmaker based in Los Angeles. In 2018 he was nominated for a Los Angeles Emmy for Outstanding Director for his full-length documentary, Lost LA: Descanso Gardens. His short The Black Rebel was a Vimeo Staff Pick in 2019. His latest documentary short, Camp ALEC, was produced by The Kennedy/Marshall Company and acquired by Disney+ for the forthcoming revival of their series “People and Places.” His film Four Seasons Total Documentary, which profiles the infamous Philadelphia press conference, premiered on MSNBC and was nominated for a Critics’ Choice Award. He is currently in development on his first feature with Vox Media.


Ryan Suffern is a Grammy-winning and Emmy-nominated director and producer, who previously headed up the documentary division, which he co-founded, for The Kennedy/Marshall Company. Over the past decade, he has helped to produce over 25 documentaries, ranging in topics from music to sports to social causes, but always with an emphasis on the human interest at the heart of the story. As a director, Suffern helmed the award-winning Finding Oscar, which Steven Spielberg executive produced. Suffern most recently co-directed and produced with Frank Marshall Jazz Fest: A New Orleans Story for Sony Pictures Classics, and he directed a docuseries on A&M Records for EPIX, along with A Final Cut For Orson: 40 Years in the Making for Netflix, documenting the finishing of Orson Welles’s The Other Side of The Wind. Suffern has produced numerous other documentary titles, including The China Hustle, Satan & Adam, The Man vs. The Machine and the docuseries Laurel Canyon: A Place in Time. He served as an executive producer on The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash, a YouTube Originals release, and HBO’s The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart, as well as the Paul McCartney / Rick Rubin docuseries for Hulu, McCartney 3,2,1.


Maryann Garger is an Academy Award winning Film Producer who began her career at Disney on "Pocahontas" before segueing to a 20 year tenure at DreamWorks. There she was among the first employees to build DreamWorks' animation division under Jeffrey Katzenberg. She rose through the ranks from Production Manager to Producer on such memorable films as "Madagascar", "Spirit Stallion of the Cimarron" and "Prince of Egypt" and produced the Aardman Animation/DreamWorks movie "Flushed Away" and "B.O.O. The Bureau of Otherworldly Operations". Her other producing credits outside of DreamWorks include "Astro Boy" (Summit Entertainment), "The Lego Ninjago Movie" (Warner Bros.) and she executive produced the upcoming feature "The Tiger's Apprentice" (Paramount). On the TV side, she was the Supervising Producer of the satirical DreamWorks & Fox prime time series "Neighbors from Hell" which aired on TBS. She has produced a number of shorts throughout the years at the various studios. Her short , "If Anything Happens I Love you" (on Netflix) - made around her dining room table - won the 2020 Academy Award for Best Animated Short. It is the first Academy Award won for Netflix Animation. She is a member of the Academy Motion Pictures Of Arts and Sciences, ASIFA, SAG and PGA.


Bob Logan is an Emmy winning director.  He is currently writing and directing the feature animated film Groove, produced by and starring Jamie Foxx. He recently directed an episode of the Netflix Original Series City of Ghosts for which he won the Emmy. Prior to this, Bob was a writer on the DreamWorks animated feature The Croods 2 and was also a writer and a director on The Lego Ninjago Movie, starring Jackie Chan for Warner Brothers Studios. Bob also wrote for Reel FX Animation on the feature film adaptation of the Dark Horse Comic The Beasts of Burden, along with his own original feature project Giant Girl.  Bob is a veteran story artist and designer who’s worked on several feature films, adult animated sitcoms and children’s television shows for DreamWorks, Fox, Sony Pictures Animation and Disney Television. Some of Bob’s credits include Puss in Boots (2011 Oscar nominated film), Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs, Megamind, Madagascar, Open Season,The Powerpuff Girls Movie, Astro Boy and The Simpsons. He also was an Assistant Director on Fox’s prime-time animated series The Critic.  On the publishing side, Bob has authored and illustrated four children’s books with Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, two of which have sold worldwide in many countries and languages.  Bob has been nominated twice for an Annie Award for—Storyboarding in a FeatureProduction Puss In Boots (2012 Nominee) and Storyboarding in a TV Production Timon & Pumbaa (1997 Nominee).  Bob is also a fine artist being currently exhibited in various museums.


Ainsley Brainz Prasad is a multi-platinum music producer who began his career writing and producing songs alongside Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds. He has since written and produced music for artists such as Jamie Foxx, Snoop Dogg, PINK, Miley Cyrus, French Montana, Pit Bull and many more. He has won an American Music Award for soundtrack of the year (Save the Last Dance). Prasad and his partners at HMG acquired a publishing catalogue that won 5 Grammy Awards. He has contributed score composing on films such as Django Unchained,The Amazing Spider-Man and Hardball. Prasad has also had the opportunity to work on several television projects. Most recently, he was the composer for Jamie Foxx’s latest comedy on Netflix,“Dad Stop Embarrassing Me.”

Director's Statement

On our first day of shooting, there was a moment in an interview that has stuck with me ever since. Hannah Innis, an eighteen-year-old cellist in the Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (ICYOLA), confessed with a sigh: “Growing up, there wasn’t really any Black cellists for me to look up to.” Here was a girl who, when she began began learning this rather intimidating instrument, had no one else like her that she could relate to. “But then I found ICYOLA,” she said with a smile.


At its heart, The Orchestra Chuck Built is a film about the importance of having our own life experiences reflected back to us. For the Black inner-city youth of this amazing orchestra, most had never had that privilege… until they, too, found ICYOLA.


The League of American Orchestras published an alarming study in 2016 that only 1.8% of professional orchestra performers in the United States are Black. This is the hard truth of our film. As our titular subject Chuck Dickerson lays out in our opening scene, “Most youth orchestras operate in communities that are all white. So if you look at those youth orchestras, all the kids are all white.” The goal of The Orchestra Chuck Built is to place a giant spotlight on this infuriating inequality. Our hope is that by highlighting this disparity, we can start a dialogue around fixing it.

The Orchestra Chuck Built Credits 












Executive Producers



Director of Photography






Additional Cinematography



1st Assistant Camera


Additional Camera


Sound Mixers



Sound Design & Mix


Visual EFX Editor

Production Assistants










Color Services


Digital Intermediate Colorist


Color Assistant


Apache Head of Production


Apache Executive Producer

Christopher Stoudt


Ryan Suffern

Maryann Garger

Bob Logan

Ains "Brainz" Prasad

Christopher Stoudt

Laurie Klugman


Ryan Harris

Michael Becker


Lidia Nikonova


Ains "Brainz" Prasad


Christopher Stoudt


Ruby Miller Paiva

Sam Painter


Yaroslav Golovkin


Minami Moriyama


Ethan Hanielle

Nick Noble


Zack Wright


Dylan Martin

Sophia Center

Soheyl Hamzavi

Saul Sanchez


Fabricio Di Santo


Lost Footage Found

Harry Adams Archive

Tom & Ethel Bradley Center


Apache Digital


Quinn Alvarez


Kevin Sian


Stephanie Schaldenbrand


Larue Anderson


Chuck Dickerson

Hannah Innis

Kevon Fortune

Kenichi Fortune

Janiyah Fortune

Malik Taylor

Isaac Green

Amber Daughtry


The ICYOLA Family

Dwayne Burrell

Film Independent

Nick Fletcher

Knox Presbyterian

Gregory L. Moore

Akilah Morgan

Enzo Paonessa

Chris Tufts

Mountainfilm Commitment Grant

Rolling Hills Methodist Church

Rachel Elizabeth Seed

Kathy Stoudt

Teddy Stoudt

Dr. Louis Toppin

Bob Watt

Treniece Ward

Kristen Seller

Festivals & Awards

Festivals & Awards (so far...)

MountainFilm Festival

Indie Short Fest

Cine Paris

Lift Off Filmmaker Series

Afrikana Independent Film Festival

Cordillera Film Festival

Golden Short Film Festival

The Impact Docs Awards

ShortWay International Film Festival

The Vermont Film Festival

DC Black Film Festival

Chagrin Documentary Film Festival

Bend Film Festival

Newburyport Film Festival

Sidewalk Film Festival

Silicon Beach Film Festival

Lonely Seal Film Festival

Global Peace Film Festival

Montreal Black Film Festival

Flicker's Rhode Island Film Festival

Catalina Film Festival

Mountain Shadow Film Festival

Toronto Doc. & Short Film Festival

Cindependent Film Festival

Fresh Coast Film Festival

Black Film Festival

Charlotte Film Festival

Social Change Int'l Film Festival

Oregon Documentary Film Festival

Ojai Film Festival

Calgary Int'l Film Festival

Washington West Int'l Film Festival


Audience Award Winner, Best Short Documentary

Award Winner

Award Winner

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Award of Excellence

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34 festivals

9 awards

Anchor 1

Movie Stills...

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