We Are The Thousand Image

We Are The Thousand

By Josiah Teal | June 3, 2022

Remember in 2016 when 1000 musicians got together to play “Learn to Fly” so they could get the band Foo Fighters to play a show in Cesena, Italy? Even if that doesn’t sound familiar, it sure sounds fantastic. Writer/director Anita Rivaroli tells that story in the documentary We Are The Thousand. The brainchild of Fabio Zafagnini, the “Rockin 1000” formed in an attempt to bring Foo Fighters to their city and unite people through the power of music. But there are a few complications in this plan. First, trying to gather 1000 musicians, then getting them to play in perfect synch, and finally convincing the famous rock band to come to a place outside of their tour schedule. Though many said it was impossible, for Zafagnini’s team, it was rock n’ roll destiny.

The technical scale of coordinating so many musicians to play an actual song seems futile. But, what seemed like a pipe-dream quickly turned into a Mecca for musicians from all walks of life, each pledging themselves to the cause (literally, they said vows before they performed). Soon what began as a plea to Dave Grohl became a breathtaking revolution standing for creativity, community, and beautiful music.

“…an attempt to bring Foo Fighters to their city and unite people through the power of music.”

Rivaroli does an exceptional job capturing the painstaking practice it took to create the “Learn to Fly” jam session. Even more so, the footage of the performance is electrifying. Watching 250 drummers play in perfect unison is hypnotic; listening to hundreds of guitarist and bass players in harmony is exhilarating; hearing hundreds of voices sing out in joy will have you singing along instantly (I know I was). The filmmaker brings this experience to the viewer, displaying the emotions, hang-ups, and passion in every frame. The film gives moments for the viewer to connect with the musicians, hear their stories, and feel the ethos behind each note. Footage of “Learn to Fly” combined with the context of just a handful of these performers’ stories gives the movie a heart that stays with the audience long after the credits.

We Are The Thousand is an inspiring motion picture created for the musician and music lover in all of us. It fills you with a euphoric enthusiasm and dares you to dream as big as Zafagnini. The film is wholesome, joyful, and enthralling without every feeling cliche or overstated. At its core, the movie showcases the found family of musicians from across the globe. A family where 1000 strangers can forge “a common musical identity.” Passion for filmmaking and music drives the narrative, documenting the collective experience of all those musicians and allowing the songs to express all that words cannot.

I remember watching the original “Rockin 1000” video the week it dropped, and I sat in awe at what they created. One thousand unique individuals were coming together, elevating a classic song to iconic status through their shared love of the art. Seeing the people behind this impossible project brought tears to my eyes and gave me even more appreciation for the zealous musicians who made it possible. While the film sometimes moves at a breakneck speed, not a scene goes to waste showcasing the complete devotion to music and what it represents for so many. We Are The Thousand is a phenomenal music documentary and experience for anyone, especially musicians.

We Are The Thousand is available now on most VOD platforms.

We Are The Thousand (2022)

Directed and Written: Anita Rivaroli

Starring: Foo Fighters, Marco Sabiu, Fabio Zaffagnini, etc.

Movie score: 10/10

We Are The Thousand Image

"…a phenomenal music documentary and experience for anyone..."

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