The Tuba Thieves

Music isn’t necessarily about listening, and hearing is not always an auditory experience. The Tuba Thieves is a holistic exploration of musicality and the expansion of sound.

Young man looking in distance and another boy playing tubs behind him
Funding Initiative
Open Call
Alison O'Daniel

Alison O’Daniel

Alison O’Daniel is a visual artist and filmmaker based in Los Angeles and San Francisco. She has exhibited at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow; Centre Pompidou, Paris, FR; Centro Centro, Madrid. She is a recipient of Louis Comfort Tiffany and Creative Capital awards and was included in Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film. She is represented by Commonwealth and Council and is an Assistant Professor of Film at California College of the Arts.

filmmaker Su Kim

Su Kim

Su Kim is an Academy Award-nominated and Emmy®️ and Peabody Award-winning producer. Her films in release include Bitterbrush; the OSCAR®️ and Primetime Emmy®️-nominated Hale County This Morning, This Evening; and Midnight Traveler.

Headshot of woman

Maya E Rudolph

Maya E. Rudolph is a producer, filmmaker, and writer. In 2022, she joined Louverture Films as Vice President of Nonfiction. Her work as a nonfiction producer includes The Tuba Thieves, Shirkers, and Cablestreet; and the Emmy-nominated Netflix original series The Andy Warhol Diaries.

Rachel Nederveld

Rachel Nederveld

Rachel Nederveld is an independent producer based in Los Angeles and Louisiana. She is an alum of the Sundance Producing Fellowship, IFP Cannes Producing Fellowship, Points North Fellowship, and Tribeca Film Institute’s All Access program, and her films have premiered at Sundance, TIFF, Tribeca, SXSW, and more. Rachel has a BA in Studio Art and worked in Show more indie music and arts nonprofits before turning to cinema to push the boundaries on issues most important to her. Show less

We fund untold stories for public media.

Learn more about funding opportunities with ITVS.

The Film

Between 2011 and 2013, tubas were stolen from high schools across Southern California. While reporters focused on the thieves, Director Alison O'Daniel, who is hard of hearing, was curious about the impact on the students and school communities. She wondered how these thefts were altering the sound of the bands, which ultimately led her to question the role of sound itself and what it means to listen. In The Tuba Thieves, O'Daniel explores the question of sound, prioritizing a hard-of-hearing form of storytelling in which information collides and is allowed to be misunderstood. In prioritizing Deaf and hard of hearing communication, she generates new sensitivity to sound and meaning.

The Tuba Thieves follows the stories of Nyke Prince, a Deaf woman who is given a drum kit; Geovanny Maroquin, a high school saxophone player impacted by the tuba thefts; and Sam Quinones, an L.A. Times reporter seeking answers. Various Los Angeles musicians are also highlighted, performing in Deaf spaces and presenting concerts frequently (mis)interpreted as silent.