Screening of “I am not a rock star”

Shot over eight years, I Am Not A Rock Star is the coming-of-age journey of fiery, Juilliard-trained pianist Marika Bournaki, who will stop at nothing to become a world-class concert pianist. Marika’s parents never realized their own youthful dreams in music and ballet; but they saw their daughter’s raw talent as early as age 5. Her father-turned-manager risked everything – including his career, family and marriage – to make Marika into a star. From child prodigy accolades at age 9, to backstage tears and moving alone to New York City to study at Juilliard at age 14, the film includes behind-the-scenes footage at concerts, airports, auditions and in hotel rooms around the world. On the cusp of international stardom at age 20, Marika has performed at Carnegie Hall, the Verbier Festival, had an audition with a major recording label, and found her first love – but also finds out her parents are divorcing and begins to question her path. With over 130 hours of footage in nearly a dozen international locations, this is a process film shot in cinema veritթ style about chasing an elusive dream and the cost that comes with it.

Generously supported by Pepper and Michael Jackson.

Screening of “I am not a rock star”

Canadian child prodigy Marika Bournaki plays the piano like God, but is starting to rebel against expectations and family pressure. A raw ritual of rupture and disenchantment: from 12 to 20 years old, from girl to woman, and from genius to person.

Possibly the most thorough examination of the phenomenon of child prodigies that ever was. Uber-gifted Canadian pianist Marika Bournaki has been playing the instrument like God since a very tender age, guided through the academic voyage by the firm hand of her father and teacher. I Am Not a Rockstar sets about documenting a coming of age process (from 12 to 20) that soon unravels unexpected circumstances, and the crude process of rupture (in both family and professional spheres) that explodes in a hurricane of teenage rage and angst about personal freedom. A genius that claims to be more than just that, and demands the restoration of her humanity and normality. The film investigates the causes of this disenchantment (expectations from frustrated artist parents (violinist father and ballerina mother), non-existent childhood, aspiration overload…) and registers every bend in the rocky road to fame. The end result is an accurate examination of the duality of passion/business (“I love music, but I don’t like playing for people. I’m not a rockstar”), and a crystalline analysis of family conflicts and the wear and tear produced by growing up in the public eye. From girl to woman, and from genius to person. 

Bobbi Jo Hart is an award-winning Canadian director, producer, photographer, writer and researcher. She’s also versatile: some of her previous works deal with women’s tennis, nurses in Pakistan and mothers with nervous depression.

Bobbi Jo Krals-Hart will introduce the film on Saturday 3th at 22:30h at Aribau Club 2

Screening of “I am not a rock star” and recital

Possessing the talent of a prodigy can be both a blessing and a curse. At an age when most people are fumbling through adolescence, gifted young musician Marika Bournaki was already embarking on a prestigious career as a concert pianist. But was this wunderkind truly born to perform?

This intimate portrait follows Bournaki from age 12 to 20, documenting the growing pains experienced in these critical years, and the pressures heaped on her by a life of practice, performance and touring. Throughout, her father-turned-manager, a Juilliard-trained violinist himself, is devoted to encouraging her efforts and nurturing the international music career he was never able to achieve. When, at 16, Bournaki leaves her parents’ home in Montreal to study at Juilliard, she comes into her own as a musician, rebels against the course plotted out for her since the age of five, and experiences an intense period of self-discovery and growth.

Director Bobbi Jo Hart provides a rare and candid look inside the insular world of classical music, uncovering the elusive alchemy of talent, determination, sacrifice and luck required to make it to the top. We witness Bournaki mature from child prodigy to vivacious adult before our eyes, watch her incredible musical talent evolve, and feel the bittersweet sacrifice one family makes over time to help her become a star.

More information: Vancouver International Film festival official website

Screening of “I am not a rock star”

I Am Not a Rock Star follows the coming-of-age story of 20-year-old Marika Bournaki, a girl next door who embarks on a single-minded journey to become a world-class concert pianist, a dream she has had ever since her father first encouraged her to start playing the piano at the age of five. Shot in cinéma vérité style over eight years, I Am Not a Rock Star begins when Marika is 12 years old and commuting every Saturday from Montreal to attend Juilliard’s prestigious Pre-College Program in New York. She moves on her own to New York City at age 14, and starts auditions and performances around the world. The effects of this lifelong sacrifice of her parents to turn Marika into a star begin to reveal themselves, while within the walls of Juilliard she finds a kindred soul and her first love. I Am Not a Rock Star ultimately reveals the gritty realities of making it in the cutthroat classical music world, but also how Marika matures to eventually question her path, appropriating her musical passion to make it her own.