Rob Simonsen

Aural Fixation - Large

Films that are submitted to festivals come with many questions. Will my film be accepted? Will people be interested in watching it if it is? Will it get distribution? What will happen if it does get distribution? But these questions are also what make film festivals so exciting – the great unknown and all the possibilities it contains. This year’s Sundance Film Festival gave festival attendees (and soon audiences all over) many different films from comedies to dramas to horror. Signing up to work on an independent festival film can end up being a labor of love, but it can also open doors and catapult otherwise unknown talent into the spotlight. The road to Sundance has been seen through the eyes of writers, directors, and actors (which can be found on the Sundance website), but I wanted to look at the process from the composer side of things and was lucky enough to speak with not just one, but two composers who ended up with a total of three films at this year’s festival between them. Rob Simonsen who composed music for two of Sundance’s most well-received coming-of-age films, the heart-felt The Spectacular Now and the funny The Way, Way Back and Heather McIntosh who created the inventive and sinister soundscape for the surreal The Rambler.

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Aural Fixation - Large

I am sure the last thing to cross most people’s minds after finding out the world was coming to an end would be music, but for some people, grabbing an armful of records would be as important as grabbing family photos if you were forced to evacuate your home. The poster (and soundtrack cover) for Seeking a Friend of the End of the World shows the film’s leads, Dodge (Steve Carell) and Penny (Keira Knightley), along with dog Sorry, standing in the face of an asteroid set to destroy earth. Dodge and Sorry look like you would expect, knowing a giant asteroid is heading towards you (pensive, scared), but Penny looks nearly hopeful as she clutches a stack of records. While music certainly will not save you from certain fate, it can certainly help pad the landing. Music plays an important role throughout Seeking a Friend, from Penny and Owen (Adam Brody) arguing over who will get custody of which records when they break up to Penny grabbing that armful on her way out of the apartment (potentially for the last time) to the film’s final moments with Dodge laying on the floor, accepting his fate as he lets “The Air That I Breathe” by The Hollies wash over him. When the power officially goes out and the world is rendered dark and quiet, the effect is truly eerie and unsettling with only the sounds of the impending elements remaining. The power of music and the escape it provides is suddenly […]

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published: 12.19.2014
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published: 12.18.2014
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published: 12.17.2014
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