Playing with Fire

A new documentary from 2-time Academy Award-winning director Allan Miller.

Jeannette Sorrell and the Mysteries of Conducting

…with Apollo’s Fire and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra

Two-time Oscar-winning director Allan Miller takes us behind the scenes to explore the mysterious art of conducting. The documentary film follows GRAMMY®-winning conductor Jeannette Sorrell– one of today’s most interesting conductors and a vivid interpreter of baroque and classical music. Sorrell, told by the Juilliard School and The Cleveland Orchestra that no one will hire a woman conductor, forms her own Baroque orchestra, Apollo’s Fire, to immediate acclaim.

The film shows Sorrell working and teaching at the Aspen and Tanglewood Music festivals, and includes rehearsal scenes with two GRAMMY®-winning orchestras – Apollo’s Fire and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. The role of the conductor as storyteller emerges as Miller pursues the secrets of a conductor’s art.



PLAYING WITH FIRE premiered during October 25-31, 2019 at Cinema Village, New York City. It will be screened at festivals around the country during 2020.

For dates and cities, check here after February 1, 2020.


Sorrell Documentary Profiles a Compelling Musician

“An exciting conductor turns an often rarefied topic into a lively experience in Playing with Fire… an insightful profile of a knowledgeable and passionate artist. Beautifully edited and vividly recorded…. The “burningly clear conception of what every note means and how they relate to each other,” which Sorrell summarizes as part of the conductor’s work, remains an unspoken constant… beside her musicianship and sheer presence.”  Read more.

– Early Music America Magazine, 2019

New Film Generates More Heat for Apollo’s Fire

“Illuminating… If you’ve ever wondered why orchestras need conductors and what, exactly, takes place on that podium, “PLAYING WITH FIRE” will answer your questions. It dwells on what makes Sorrell unique as a leader, on her way of sculpting and shaping and getting to the dramatic heart of every phrase. The film also takes viewers as far as possible inside Sorrell’s mind as she studies a score and affords a seat in her conducting master-class at the Aspen Music Festival. The soundtrack, simply put, is stunning.”  Read more.

– The Cleveland Plain Dealer, 2019