10th edition CIFF – 10-14 April 2024

Seymour: An Introduction (2016 Feature Film)

Ethan Hawke | USA | 2014 | 84 min | English | n.s.

Loving documentary portrait of pianist Seymour Bernstein (1927), made by actor and good friend Ethan Hawke. Hawke reveals how Bernstein passed up on a brilliant artistic career because he wasn’t a performer and thought passing on knowledge was more important. What drives this virtuoso musician as a pianist, teacher and last, but definitely not least, as a human?

In his compact New York apartment, pianist Seymour Bernstein (1927), by now an octogenarian yet sharp as a pin, receives his mainly adult students. The virtuoso musician could have been a star if the talented veteran hadn’t disliked the spotlights and commercialism the artistic life entails. The stage, so he muses in this intimate documentary, would have made him a different musician and person. Bernstein prefers to pass his knowledge on to others. Whereas most Americans aim for a “Flash Dance fantasy” in which talent is everything, Bernstein is primarily interested in craftsmanship and practice. A lot of practice. Bernstein philosophises away in his pleasing baritone: about the power of music, the soul of art and about life. Various students, good friends and director (and actor) Ethan Hawke speak about this thoroughly inspiring, likable man.

Place: CINEMA 3

Date: 7 April 2016

Time: 21:30

Duration: 1:30

Place: CINEMA 3

Date: 8 April 2016

Time: 14:15

Duration: 1:30

Place: CINEMA 4

Date: 9 April 2016

Time: 15:45

Duration: 1:30

Year in



Ethan Hawke


Ramsey Fendall




Anna Gustavi




84 min


Linda Cohen


Ryan Hawke
Greg Loser
Heather Smith

Production Company

Room 5 Films
Under the Influence


Cinetic Media

Sound Design

Cody Ball

Year of Production


Ethan HAWKE (1970, USA) is a globally renowned actor due to his intensive cooperation with director Richard Linklater (Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Boyhood among others), and for roles in films such as Dead Poets Society (1989), Gattaca (1997) and Daybreakers (2009). Hawke has also worked as a scriptwriter and director over the course of his career. Seymour: An Introduction (2014) is his first feature-length documentary.



Straight to One (1994, short), Chelsea Walls (2001), The Hottest State (2006), Seymour: An Introduction (2014, doc)