Chris Thile is “probably a once in a century musician, like Louis Armstrong was a once in a century musician.”
—T Bone Burnett

HOW TO GROW A BAND follows mandolin virtuoso (and MacArthur Foundation “Genius”) Chris Thile through a turning point in his life and musical career. By age 26, he had already reached some significant career highs, winning a couple of Grammys for both his solo records and his work with the platinum-selling, pop-bluegrass trio Nickel Creek. But, in a move that stunned fans in 2006, Thile and Nickel Creek went on “indefinite hiatus” while Thile paused to re-assess and, in many ways, start over. Our movie is about what happened next.

The film follows Thile as he begins again with bold plans to bring to life a 45-minute musical elegy to a failed marriage written for traditional bluegrass instruments—an endeavor that led to the birth and formation of one of the most talented young bands in America, Punch Brothers. HTGAB charts the first steps of the band’s musical journey and looks behind the scenes at the decisions and compromises that must be made by artists looking to evolve and survive.

This is a film about starting something. And about the first steps we take in relationships that we sense just might change our lives. The relationship this movie explores is the intimate, dazzling union that is Punch Brothers. HOW TO GROW A BAND is about much more than just a moment in time for a particularly talented band. It is about the creative process itself.


People felt like this was my flight of fancy they needed to protect me from." —Chris Thile















The Filmmakers

Mark Meatto

Director, Producer & Editor

Mark Meatto first fell in love with documentary apprenticing under legendary filmmaker Ricky Leacock. In the last year, he has helped to found HardPin Media, begun his tenure as Director of Productions for Victory Combat Sports and was a member of President Obama’s 2012 video team. Currently, he is producing Ross McElwee’s next film and directing a documentary set in the Ecuadorian Amazon. He is a graduate of Harvard University.

Michael Bohlmann


 Michael Bohlmann is a Managing Member of Shaftway Productions, the company that produced How To Grow A Band. He is also President of Bohlmann International, a New York and LA based private investment company. Production credits include: K. Lorrel Manning’s Happy New Year and Live from the Lower East Side: It’s p-Bingo Night! Bohlmann has worked for investment banks and private hedge funds for thirteen years in sales, structuring and capital raising roles. He graduated A.B. magna cum laude from Harvard University.

Purcell Carson


Purcell Carson is an Emmy-nominated editor whose works include the 2009 Oscar-winner Smile Pinki, Note By Note: The Making of Steinway 1037, and Double Dare.  She was recently awarded Best Documentary Editor at the Tribeca Film Festival for her work on Semper Fi: Always Faithful. She is a graduate of Brown and Stanford Universities and a MacDowell Fellow. She teaches in the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University.

Bert Keely

Executive Producer

Bert Keely is a technologist and musician based in Silicon Valley, best known for his work on tablet computers. He stopped full-time work in 2009 to pursue passion projects in music, photography and design, many of which have been photo-journaled at bertseye.com. He is especially proud to have Executive Produced this remarkable film, in which Meatto has leveraged his own similar passions to give us an intimate view of Punch Brothers - one of the most creative musical projects of our time.

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Thanks to you, we made it!

  • $32,000 Goal117%

Because of you, our amazing backers, we are now hard at work creating the limited-edition, two-disc sets.These DVD and BluRay packages will contain a bunch of bonus features not available anywhere else. If you missed out on the opportunity to pledge for yours on Kickstarter, we will be making the remaining copies available fall 2014. Supplies are limited, so sign up for our newsletter below to stay current on how to pre-order.

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Campaign ended Friday May 17 at Noon EDT



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Name: Team HTGAB
Address: New York, NY