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Elton John – The Million Dollar Piano opens at select theatres throughout the world this month. In the U.S., it can be seen tonight, as well as on March 26. The director and producer is Chris Gero, who began his career at Yamaha in the early 1990s and is now VP of the Yamaha Entertainment Group.  He took time away from his busy schedule to talk with‘s Chief Editor about the film, and also discussed his long and fruitful relationship with Elton.
EJW: Did you create the catchy trailers for the film?
CG: Yes, we shot everything.
EJW: How did the idea come about?
CG: Originally, it was supposed to just be about the making of the piano, which was custom crafted for Elton. But it kept expanding, and we wound up shooting at a series of concerts.
EJW: Why did Elton decide he wanted another instrument?
CG: He wanted to follow up the Red Piano with something grander. He is interested in the latest and greatest, so we hired world class designers and architects.
EJW: You are involved with another movie as well, called 88. What’s it about, and why this title?
CG: I had read a New York Times article, which cited the ”death of the piano,” and called it a ”piece of furniture.” So I wanted to shoot piano artists talking about their genesis moments – why they started playing keyboards.
As for the name, there are 88 keys on a piano, and 88 artists in the movie. Elton is to be among them.
EJW: When might this be out?
CG: Probably not for a couple of years. We have a long way to go.
EJW: What other projects have the two of you worked on, and how did you meet?
CG: We worked on Yamaha‘s Red Piano {for his first Las Vegas engagement}. Also, I produced the 2003 NAMM concert, a tribute to the singer. It raised about $330,000 to benefit music education and research, and Elton also took part.
We became friends about 20 years ago, when Elton first came to Yamaha, looking for a replacement for his worn-out piano. He ended up with seven, and the company has been providing him with touring pianos ever since. 
EJW: Have you done anything for the EJAF?
CG: Yes, I’ve been a sponsor of an Academy Awards Viewing Party and White Tie and Tiara Ball.
EJW: Besides being Vice President and founder of the Yamaha Entertainment Group, your background includes being a songwriter and record producer. Have these accomplishments been as rewarding?
CG: They have. I enjoy building complex things, and love producing and being creative.

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