CHASING TRANE / Exclusive Trailer & Poster Premiere is LIVE on

Hear Denzel Washington Speak the Stirring Words of John Coltrane in Chasing TraneTrailer

The Oscar winner brings the iconic sax player back to life in this moving documentary.

by Hillary Busis - MARCH 28, 2017 11:00 AM

John Coltrane could speak volumes with a sophisticated sax riff—but it’s his words that take center stage in the first trailer for Chasing Trane, premiering exclusively on The documentary, written and directed by John Scheinfeld,explores Coltrane’s incredible life and career with the help of commentary from celebrity fans, including Bill Clinton, Common, Carlos Santana, and Sonny Rollins, not to mention Denzel Washington, on hand to read writings by Coltrane himself. (As Variety explains, the famed jazz artist, who died of liver cancer at the age of 40, did just a smattering of radio interviews in his lifetime and was never interviewed on television—which is why Scheinfeld needed to find an actor to read Coltrane’s words in the first place. Enter Washington, flexing some of the same muscles he first exercised in Spike Lee’s fictionalized 1990 jazz drama Mo’ Better Blues.)

The film, which already made a splash on the festival circuit, is being released in theaters by Abramorama starting April 14th in New York at the IFC Center.

Interview with Director John Scheinfeld & Producer Spencer Proffer regarding the making of 'Chasing Trane'.

On March 25th, this important film was shown to a select crowd of civic leaders and citizens at the University of Alabama, Birmingham campus. It took place at The Spencer Honors House, an on campus church where Martin Luther King had once spoken from the pulpit. 

Read the insightful interview with director John Scheinfeld and producer Spencer Proffer  about the making of the film.

'Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary' to have its Alabama Premiere at The University of Alabama, Birmingham

March 22, 2017

BIRMINGHAM, Ala., March 22, 2017 -- The City of Birmingham will be the site of an advance Alabama screening of the critically acclaimed Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary, on Saturday, March 25, at 7:00pm. The film will be screened at what was formerly the 2nd Presbyterian Church on the University of Alabama, Birmingham campus. The building is now known as Spencer Honors House, a site where in fact, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke from the pulpit on one occasion.

To date, the only public viewings of this important feature documentary have been at select film festivals including the prestigious Telluride Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival where it was met with stellar reviews. The event is presented by Create Birmingham, in collaboration with Spencer Proffer and production company Meteor 17.

Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary, written and directed by John Scheinfeld (The U.S. vs John Lennon and Who Is Harry Nilsson and Why Is Everybody Talkin' About Him? ), is a thought-provoking, uplifting, powerful and passionate film about an outside-the-box thinker whose boundary-shattering music continues to impact and influence people around the world.  This rich, textured and compelling portrait of a remarkable artist reveals the critical events, passions, experiences and challenges that shaped the life of John Coltrane and his revolutionary sounds. The film was produced with support of the Coltrane Estate and the record labels that collectively own the Coltrane catalog.

Two-time Academy Award winning actor, Denzel Washington speaks the words of Coltrane throughout the film.  "In many of his roles Denzel radiates an exceptional quiet strength," Scheinfeld said. "Coltrane, many of his friends told me, embodied a similar strength. That's why Denzel was my first choice to speak his words and I'm thrilled he made the time to participate in our film."

Amongst the film's interviewees are former President Bill Clinton, Wynton Marsalis, Carlos Santana, Academy Award winner Common ("Selma" title song), jazz legend Sonny Rollins and former Coltrane band member McCoy Tyner amongst other esteemed musicians. Spencer Proffer was selected by the Coltrane family to lead the production in light of his highly regarded and long career as a music producer and songwriter who has been responsible for millions of records sold around the world.  He is producing important music based media projects for film, television and live events domestically and internationally. Proffer will be flying in to be on hand for the screening on Saturday, March 25th and will engage in a Q-and-A with the audience after the film.

Coltrane's composition and recording, "Alabama," and its genesis is highlighted in a segment in the film.  The composition was inspired by the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing and set to the pentameter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's sermon response to that act.

Producer Proffer is the child of Holocaust survivors and has stated, "16th Street and Kelly Ingram Park are hallowed ground. My family connection to the struggle for civil and human rights is the reason I wanted to personally deliver this film for viewing in Birmingham."

He has a career-long commitment to issues of civil and human rights, among other civic issues to which he gives time and resources.  And most coincidentally, he is no stranger to Alabama.  Governor Robert Bentley proclaimed Proffer an honorary citizen of the State in 2013 because of his continuing commitment to Huntsville's Space Camp and Aviation Challenge, where his son attended for 8 summers.

Proffer provided dozens of scholarships to kids across North America to further science and space education while producing the SET Award winning movie, Space Warriors, in partnership with Walden Media at that time.

In welcoming the film screening to Birmingham, Mayor William Bell stated, "The history of Birmingham is central to American history. John Coltrane's inspired 'Alabama' is an eternal musical monument to Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley. We thank Spencer and his team for including us in this film's journey and making this very meaningful connection with our community."

Buddy Palmer, president and CEO of Create Birmingham, stated "It's an honor to be a local collaborator with Meteor 17 in bringing "Chasing Trane" to Birmingham. The film is a loving tribute to an amazing genius, and it reminds us that one of the greatest gifts that art gives to humanity is to express that which is otherwise too deeply felt for words."

Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary, produced by Proffer, Scott Pascucci, John Beug and Dave Harding will have its national release in New York City on April 14, followed by opening in neighboring Atlanta, Georgia on May 12, 2017 at the Landmark Mid Town Art theater.

310 18th Street North, Suite 303 + Birmingham, Alabama 35203 + 205-458-1393 + +

VARIETY: Toronto: ‘Chasing Trane’ Explores Legendary Musician John Coltrane

“Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary,” John Scheinfeld'snew feature about the American saxophonist, composer, thinker, and creative innovator, lands in Toronto with what feels like perfect timing.

The recent so-called jazz renaissance, fuelled in part by an array of high-profile cross-genre collaborations on record and on stage, has seen the revolutionary artistry of Coltrane — who died of liver cancer at age 40 in 1967 — re-enter popular music discourse, priming young audiences for discovery.

So far this decade, half of the best feature documentary Oscars have gone to films about musicians. Not surprising, then, that numerous buyers — who got a first look at the pic in Telluride, with conversations now accelerating in Toronto — have been tracking “Trane” for almost a year. The project, which was initiated by producer Spencer Proffer, secured not only the full participation of Coltrane’s family, who control his publishing rights, but also unprecedented access to the lion’s share of his recordings by the record labels that own them. Almost 50 Coltrane recordings, spanning his full career, are heard in the film, and used in various ways.

WME Global is representing “Chasing Trane”.

“I wanted to feel as if Coltrane scored this film, because in his extraordinary catalog is every mood and emotion and texture,” Scheinfeld said, whose previous films include “The U.S. vs. John Lennon.”

But just as Coltrane’s music transcends genre, the film — visually rich with hundreds of never-before-seen photos, home movies, animated paintings by artist Rudy Gutierrez, and other treasures — goes beyond familiar chronological music-doc patterns.

Because no TV or usable radio interviews exist of Coltrane, Denzel Washington was approached to perform the voice of the musician.

“One of Coltrane’s quotes, ‘I don’t play jazz, I play John Coltrane’ became a guiding principal,” said Scheinfeld. “I started in scripted TV work, and that three-act structure was important to engage the audience in a way that is not the equivalent of a jazz-history class.”

Coltrane’s musician friends, children, and biographers tell his story, while eloquent commentary from former U.S. President Bill Clinton and academic and philosopher Dr. Cornel West communicate a deep understanding of his cultural and historical significance. Coltrane, who grew up in the segregated South, rarely talked politics, but the stories behind his most notable compositions (“Alabama”) and albums (“A Love Supreme”) resonate in the here and now.

Coltrane’s emotional and spiritual journey, as expressed in his music, is what Telluride and Toronto audiences are responding to strongly. “There are films about artists who allowed themselves to be dragged down by their demons, but Coltrane conquered his challenges,” said Scheinfeld, referring to the musician’s difficult withdrawal from heroin. “He ascended from that to accomplish amazing things.”

Chasing Trane Press

Here is a brief smattering of comments and quotes from people who have seen the film at TIFF/to date:

— "Honestly, there is an emotional quality about your film that makes it very effective and engrossing. And it looks and sounds great!--everything is such high quality.” - Lewis Porter

— "What a beautiful and exhilarating portrait it is. I love the graphics in the opening sequence and of course I love all those interviewees – – special people like Benny Golson and Sonny Rollins as well as the higher-profile individuals who are all so eloquent. I don't know what else to say except Bravo!” - Leonard Maltin

— "Coltrane’s emotional and spiritual journey, as expressed in his music, is what Telluride and Toronto audiences are responding to strongly.” - Variety

"A music titan gets his cinematic due in Chasing Trane, a comprehensive, engrossing and, it’s tempting to say, worshipful account of the life of John Coltrane.... the film bulges with insights offered by everyone from family members and close collaborators to the likes of Cornel West and Bill Clinton. The incessant rush of the innovator’s music should spike the interest of younger viewers insufficiently exposed to the man’s short career, pointing to an extensive life in all markets, domestic and international, wherever interest in great jazz still flourishes.”  - The Hollywood Reporter

TIFF Press Mentions:

Cinema Scope (review):
Chasing Trane (John Scheinfeld, US) — TIFF Docs

7 music documentaries at TIFF

Deadline (mention):
Denzel Washington Looks Like A Contender In Toronto, But Not For His Festival Films.

Deadline (feature): 
Chasing Denzel: How ‘Chasing Trane’ Director Found Voice For Jazz Legend John Coltrane

Deadline (review):
A Lesson In Toronto From ‘Chasing Trane’ And A Coltrane-Loving Dog: The Words Don’t Matter

Here Are 8 Must-See Music Movies at TIFF 2016


Hollywood Reporter (review):
'Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary': Film Review | TIFF 2016

New John Coltrane documentary to premiere in Toronto

Rolling Stone:
25 Movies We Can't Wait to See at Toronto Film Festival 2016

Rolling Stone (clip premiere):
Watch Bill Clinton, Carlos Santana Praise John Coltrane in Doc Promo

Toronto: Flying Lotus, Eddie Alcazar Team for Brainfeeder Films

Variety (feature/review):
Toronto: ‘Chasing Trane’ Explores Legendary Musician John Coltrane

Here's 10 Must-See Movies for Music Lovers at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival



Hitting Theatres on May 16, 2016, the Meteor 17 Production – a Star-Studded Theatrical Documentary Based on the Grammy-Award Winning Song – Celebrates Hope, Faith, and  Inspiration Through the Power of Song

New York, N.Y., APRIL 11, 2016 — Screenvision Media, a national cinema advertising leader, and KAOS Connect, event experience creators, today announced the launch of their first joint Event Cinema Program – the empowering theatrical documentary produced by Meteor 17 CEO, Spencer Proffer, “I Hope You Dance, The Power & Spirit of Song.” The moving documentary film features stories of faith, inspiration and overcoming unimaginable odds as told through the transformative power of song.

“I Hope You Dance” will premiere on Monday, May 16, at 2 and 7 p.m. with encore showings on Monday, May 23 at 2 and 7 p.m. in select theatres nationwide. This program falls on the heels of Screenvision Media and KAOS Connect’s alliance announcement earlier this year.

“We are strong believers in the power of Event Cinema and are excited to work with KAOS Connect and Meteor 17 on our first initiative as we re-enter the space,” said Darryl Schaffer, Executive Vice President, Operations and Exhibitor Relations, Screenvision Media. “’I Hope You Dance, The Power & Spirit of Song,’ is an inspiring program backed by unprecedented marketing support, and we’re looking forward to engaging audiences with content they’re passionate about in a brand new way.”

Directed by writer/director John Scheinfeld and produced by Proffer, “I Hope You Dance, The Power & Spirit of Song” is based on the Grammy award-winning song and features popular music icons Graham Nash, Vince Gill and Brian Wilson; the late Dr. Maya Angelou, legendary author; and America’s popular and influential speaker/author, Joel Osteen, among others. The program will take audiences on a journey through the exploration of how one simple song has greatly impacted many lives through hope and healing, inspiring transformation.

“’I Hope You Dance’ provides the opportunity for people of all backgrounds and ages to gather together as communities in theatres and experience ways to overcome life’s biggest challenges through the power of hope, inspiration and song,” said Dan Diamond, KAOS Connect Managing Partner.

In addition, Kathie Lee Gifford leads a post-feature panel that includes Dr. Tim Storey, renowned life coach and motivational speaker; Michael Gallagher, popular syndicated radio host on Salem Radio Network and Fox News Contributor; Dream Center’s Caroline Barnett, a noted speaker and author; and actress Shari Rigby. The event will also feature a special guest appearance from Osteen Ministries’ Generation Hope spokesperson, Jackelyn Viera Iloff.

"I Hope You Dance" is the #1 crossover country pop song written by Mark D. Sanders and Tia Sillers that quickly became a Billboard chart topper for country singer Lee Ann Womack with Sons of the Desert when released in 2000. "I Hope You Dance" garnered the 2001 CMA, ACM, NSAI, ASCAP and BMI awards for Song of the Year, followed by the Grammy Award for Best Country Song. As of February 2016, the song has sold more than 2 million digital copies in the U.S. alone.

“The potential of music to rouse hope, spark inspiration and excavate stories that stir hearts has been at the core of my entire career,” said Spencer Proffer, Meteor 17 CEO and producer. “I'm pleased to team with close friends Dan and Shelly at KAOS Connect, my business partners in the faith and inspirational media lane, Joe Battaglia and David Sams, and our new colleagues at Screenvision Media, to bring a film based upon the poignancy of Mark D. and Tia’s timeless song to the public."

Acclaimed industry leaders Joe Battaglia and David Sams, are co-executive producers of the project. Sams is a nine-time Emmy Award-winning television producer, author, speaker, emerging technologies guru and serial entrepreneur whose marketing credits include the syndicated launch of “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” “Wheel of Fortune,” “Jeopardy!”and “RollerGames.” Battaglia is an author, broadcaster and President of Renaissance Communications, a media company that for more than 20 years has actively been responsible for the promotion of highly successful faith-based hit movies including “Passion,” “Narnia,” “Risen” and the current box office hit “Miracles from Heaven.” Together, the two, along with John Frost, are the co-creators and executive producers of the No. 1 faith-based radio program in the nation, “Keep the Faith,” which boasts over 2 million total listeners to date and is an active marketing partner for the event.

“I Hope You Dance, The Power & Spirit of Song” is approximately 95 minutes in length and is not yet rated. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit


Headquartered in New York, N.Y., Screenvision Media is a national leader in cinema advertising, offering on-screen advertising, in-lobby promotions and integrated marketing programs to national, regional and local advertisers and providing comprehensive cinema advertising representation services to top tier theatrical exhibitors presenting the highest quality movie going experience. The Screenvision Media cinema advertising network is comprised of over 14,300 screens in 2,300+ theatre locations across all 50 states and 94% of DMAs nationwide; delivering through more than 150 theatrical circuits, including 6 of the top 10 exhibitor companies. For more information:


Headquartered in Denver, CO, KAOS Connect is the next step in the evolution of the event experience, making events more accessible and engaging both on–and beyond–the Big Screen. By transforming ordinary content into extraordinary experiences, KAOS connects people, organizations, brands and content worldwide. Owned and operated by two seasoned media executives, Shelly Maxwell and Dan Diamond have been credited with the success of creating and building the world’s preeminent EVENT CINEMA business as they transformed movie theatres into places where communities could gather together to experience unique entertainment and infotainment, not just traditional films. For more information:


Headquartered in Los Angeles, this convergence and production venture is helmed by innovative media and music producer, Spencer Proffer. M17 is producing and is developing an ambitious slate of projects across music, TV, film, Internet, live event, and other platforms, integrating brand marketing and music as organic components. M17 is a full service organization that actively participates from conception and architecture through all phases of deal making, production, marketing and distribution entities.

Spencer Proffer is a highly regarded media producer and strategist with a long history of connecting with audiences. His productions and those he has
been integrally involved with have garnered Academy, Golden Globe, Emmy, Grammy and Tony awards and nominations. As music producer, Spencer has sold millions of gold and platinum records. He has expanded his pedigree by architecting and executing original content for films, brands and distribution companies to get their message across, utilizing music as an organic component.

Media Contacts:

Kate Carver – Olson Engage 212.656.9148

Rachael Morrison – Olson Engage


Sabrina Propper – RPIPR, KAOS Connect




When director John Scheinfeld, best known for his work on such acclaimed documentaries as The U.S. vs. John Lennon and Who Is Harry Nilsson, was first approached by producer Spencer Proffer to helm a film about uplifting country music hit, “I Hope You Dance,” he had a confession to make: he didn’t know the Grammy-winning song. (Read More)


Time, according to the Lee Ann Womack crossover hit “I Hope You Dance,” is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along. When songwriter Mark D. Sanders looks back on the 15 years that have transpired since its release, he has seen “Hope” roll through numerous people’s life stories. He’s sung it at funerals and at weddings. He’s met siblings who embedded the song on their mother’s gravestone. He’s met another man who was inspired by the song to end a lifeless marriage. (Read More)


Vince Gill and Lee Ann Womack will participate in I Hope You Dance: The Power and Spirit of Song, a film based on the award-winning song written by Mark D. Sanders and Tia Sillers. The film is directed by John Scheinfeld (The U.S. vs. John Lennon) and produced by Spencer Proffer. (Read More)


As father to five vibrant and very much alive children, it's mind-bending and gut-twisting to contemplate even for a nanosecond the grueling task of giving the go ahead to a medical team you have just barely met to take your brain dead daughter off life support. Your brain dead daughter who apparently committed suicide. Your brain dead daughter whose organs will, after your selfless blessing, rapidly find their way to other lives, to other families so they can do what this daughter can no longer do. Live. Breathe. Love. Hope. (Read More)


The GRAMMY Museum will host a special screening of the documentary I Hope You Dance: The Power And Spirit Of Song. The film highlights the power of music to inspire, heal and change people's lives. Dr. Maya Angelou, Brian Wilson, Graham Nash, Joel Osteen and Vince Gill, as well as country artist Lee Ann Womack, share their unique perspective on themes explored in the film, the nature of creativity and its ability to touch and inspire. (Read More)


I Hope You Dance, the Power and Spirit of Song, is the first film to explore how one extraordinary song has changed people’s lives. It is about hope, faith, optimism and the power of music to inspire and heal. By weaving together stories of how Lee Ann Womack’s worldwide mega #1 hit has motivated real people to transform their lives, to chase their dreams, to overcome obstacles and to persist in the face of extreme adversity, I Hope You Dance will inspire and empower people to achieve more, to live their best lives and to make the world a better place. These are true stories of inspiration, second chances, recovery, forgiveness and miracles. (Read More)



Brian Wilson and Graham Nash are featured in a new emotionally charged documentary that focuses on the impact that country star Lee Ann Womack's 2000 hit "I Hope You Dance" has had on a number of people's lives.  (Read More)



The GRAMMY Museum will host a special screening of the documentary I Hope You Dance: The Power And Spirit Of Song. The film highlights the power of music to inspire, heal and change people's lives. Dr. Maya Angelou, Brian Wilson, Graham Nash, Joel Osteen and Vince Gill, as well as country artist Lee Ann Womack, share their unique perspective on themes explored in the film, the nature of creativity and its ability to touch and inspire. (Read More)


According to the evidence presented in John Scheinfeld’s I Hope You Dance: The Power and Spirit of Song, Tia Sillers and Mark D. Sanders’ crossover hit has had a significant impact beyond the folks who downloaded it from the Internet or chose it for their wedding promenades. The documentary explores how a song about hope, faith and optimism — just under five minutes in length – has changed the lives of several “real” people in profound ways. (Read More)