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Empty Orchestra

World Premiere

Director: Nicole Hawkins

United States, 2022, 76 min

Shooting Format:mixed formats

Festival Year:2023

Category:Documentary Feature

Genres:Drama, LGBTQ+, Religion, Suicide, Subculture

Crew:Producer: Laura Heberton.


In the religiously homogeneous Provo, Utah, a group of self-proclaimed misfits try to replace the devotion and community they once found in the Mormon church with weekly karaoke singing.


About the director

Nicole Hawkins is a filmmaker from Southern California. She moved to Utah to study photography when she was 18. While studying photography, she enrolled in film classes on the side. Her love of experimental documentation and creative nonfiction storytelling came alive through these combined visual languages. Her latest project is a Utah-based documentary “Empty Orchestra” about a group of displaced karaoke singers, seeking communion in Provo, Utah.

She received her MFA in lens-based art from Tulane, University in New Orleans and currently teaches film in Ojai, California.


Filmmaker's note

EMPTY ORCHESTRA is a mixed media documentary film that follows a group of self-identifying misfits in their overwhelmingly religious community of Provo, Utah, and their shared devotion to karaoke singing. The participants embraced the social silliness and cringe that people often associate with karaoke; however, they also transferred some of the reverence, seeking, and organization from their Mormon roots into the ritual and community of karaoke.

While EMPTY ORCHESTRA does deliver the history of the birth, life, and eventual closure of a karaoke club, its narrative trajectory prioritizes the themes presented by this story: social marginalization, religious existentialism, grief, suicide, sexuality, communion, radical belonging, displacement and community. The film relies heavily on interviews, mixed media montages, symbolic motifs, and non-linear story-telling.

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