Volume 18, Number 50 | April 28 - May 4, 2006

Music series takes root at Tribeca film fest

By Anne O’Neil

It’s hard to imagine a film without the sound of music. The two go together like Woody Allen and George Gershwin, Wes Anderson and Mark Mothersbaugh, Quentin Tarrantino and … just about every obscure pop, soul, and rock band under the sun. To celebrate this all-important artistic collaboration, the Tribeca Film Festival has formed a venue for musicians to perform during the festival. Now in its second year, the ASCAP Music Lounge will bring 15 artists to the Canal Room from May 2 to May 5. Though the music series is only open to people who purchased a Hudson Pass, worth $1000, you could be hearing this year’s performers on a movie screen or soundtrack soon.

“In a perfect world,” said Annie Leahy, Director of Tribeca Talks, “Filmmakers with a film in progress or finished but without music, would come to the lounge, hear a musician, say Josh Ritter, and think that he would be perfect for the film. They could meet there and collaborate either by using some of his songs or by him composing the music for the film.” Last year’s lounge, for instance, provided Damian Rice, Ivy, Suzanne Vega and others opportunities to get in front of filmmakers. This year, Josh Ritter, John Mayer, Nellie McKay and others will play half hour sets to provide filmmakers an example of their work and to inspire collaboration on upcoming projects.

The Brazilian Girls’ Jesse Murphy says his band got involved in this year’s lounge because they “are all movie lovers.” The New York-based pop band, whose sound jumps from dance to rap to lounge as fast as their words switch between English, German and Italian, has music featured in the upcoming documentary about the New York club scene, “The Doorman.” “Film and music seem to have an intimacy or perhaps a codependency that is both reverent and quintessential.” says Murphy. “Each of us in Brazilian Girls has been involved in scoring everything from documentaries to feature films to porn.”

“The world between musician and filmmaker is one of natural collaboration,” said Leahy. “We’ve been wanting to expand the presence of music in the festival for a while. This year the lounge is four days instead of three, and we brought someone in to develop a music panel.”

ASCAP, who programs the Tribeca lounge, curates a similar music series at other film festivals including Sundance. For Tribeca, they’ve amassed artists ranging from all-time greats like R&B giant Allen Toussaint, writer of the famous “Working in a Coalmine,” which has been used in countless films, to little knowns like soul music up-and-comer Martin Luther

“As an artist … I thrive on being around and involving myself with creative people,” says Luther, whose songs have recently been used in the film “Phat Girls.” “[The lounge] sounds like a new frontier to make fans, meet artists, hopefully see some inspiring images captured …on screen and to meet some cool people. I have music in my existing catalogs that have been tapped or pimped out to the music supervisors of the world and I believe some of my works would deepen the feeling or emotion in a scene for some director’s films out there. These festivals are definitely [a] way to bring people together.”
The lounge also provides a venue for music in films showing at the festival. The documentary, “Word.Life,” produced by Kazi and the Hip Hop project, will premiere this weekend as part of the festival’s free, outdoor screenings at the World Financial Center. The film’s subjects — under served and homeless children who develop their rap and lyrical skills through a non-profit arts program called Act Start — will perform the last day of the lounge. With any luck, the young musicians could land a composing gig for the next big independent film.


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