What a great beginning to the 2015 Seattle International Film Festival! This documentary from the United States, Russia and Italy takes us to the 2014 Cliburn International Piano Competition in Fort Worth, Texas. This event takes place once every four years and attracts the best young talent in the world. Director Christopher Wilkinson ("Copying Beethoven") has crafted a film that shows us the humanity of the performers, explores the wonderful world of classical music and offers humor at every turn.

We become acquainted with a dozen or so young pianists, all of whom are protégées in their home countries, all of whom speak surprisingly good English (the sound is excellent and we didn't need captions), and all of whom approach the competition in distinctly individual ways. Each is allowed to select his or her personal choice of Steinway for the competition.

Their interviews are insightful and humorous. For example, the young man from Russia is never nervous, the young man from Italy always wears blue underwear, the young Ukrainian has connected with his long-missing father through Facebook, the young Italian woman likes to practice with her dog in the room; as a result of these interviews, we end up rooting for each and every one.

The judges are equally various: Several of them feel art is so subjective it's impossible to select "The Best"; one feels his readers like to be entertained by his reviews, so is witty and brutal in his assessments; one is careful to judge solely on artistic merits and completely avoid any personal or hurtful observations.

The editing is marvelous! As each pianist competes, we see his or her name, the name of the piece and the name of the composer. There are times when there are six screens with six competitors playing the same movement of the same composition, fingers and arms moving in unison.

I'm glad I didn't have to pick a winner!