Traverse City-based Oneupweb donated thousands of hours and lots of funds in filming, editing and premiering Step & Close, their 45 minute philanthropy documentary that emphasizes the life lessons and social aspects that music programs have on our youth.

Oneupweb’s award-winning film made a difference for not only Traverse City West Marching Band, but also for band educators, members and parents nationwide.

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“Initially we wanted to give back to our local community so all of the funds from DVD and t-shirt sales go directly to TC West,” said Oneupweb CEO and founder Lisa Wehr. “We began receiving feedback from instructors, students and parents from other schools, so we created an official Web site, (www.StepAndClose.com) to further spread the message of supporting music education. The film is even helping teachers recruit and retain students — it’s nice to know Oneupweb is making a difference.”

The Communitas Awards’ judges couldn’t agree more, because that’s exactly what they honored Step & Close for “Making a Difference.” Created by the originators of the Oscar and Emmy Awards, The Communitas Awards  recognize businesses internationally who show leadership in philanthropy and the creative approaches they take.

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“Winning a Communitas Award is great,” explains Wehr. “I hope that Step & Close’s first accolade will help entice more people to view the film and ultimately support art education in our schools.”

Reaching a larger audience is something the Oneupweb team aspires to do. How? The digital marketing leaders are inviting movie theatres to show the film without a screening fee. The Traverse City State Theatre, home to Michael Moore’s Traverse City Film Festival, proudly premiered the film this past December.

“Step & Close is a funny, entertaining documentary that will make you fall in the love with the kids, and appreciate all over again the amazing things educators are doing for students in our schools across the country,” said Traverse City Film Festival Executive Director Deb Lake.

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To view the official trailer, visit StepAndClose.com. To bring Step & Close to a theatre near you, contact Hillary Burns at hburns@oneupweb.com or call (231) 922-9977, ext. 148.