The bulk of Paints on Ceiling comes from one of the first scenes we ever edited for In A Dream. The scene was ultimately cut from the final movie but the good folks at Cinelan invited us to refashion it into a standalone 3 minute film. Although it didn’t fit in the feature, we love it as an independent short film and hope you enjoy it as well.
Jeremiah, Kelli and her son Liam @ The Bunker Studio
Third in a series of posts from Jeremiah Zagar about In A Dream’s music.
The first time I met our composer Kelli Scarr was with my friend Celia Ellenberg at a bar on the lower east side. I liked her even before I knew her name.
“Can I buy you a drink,” I asked.
“Sure” she replied “but is that your wallet or a hacky sack?”
“My mother got it for me” I whimpered.
Kelli was making fun of me even before I knew her name and she continues to make fun of me today. She’s good at teasing me but she’s great at composing music.
Kelli and I worked on the score for In A Dream for about a year straight. She was pregnant most of the time. We worked at night at her apartment, with me sitting behind her while she played beautiful melodies.
Kelli Scarr Composing
It wasn’t always easy though. Composing a subtle, effective and memorable score is one of the more tedious things about making films. The most important thing is to have the patience, talent and determination to do it and Kelli has that in spades.
Eventually we remastered each of the songs with cello, piano and bass at The Bunker Studio in Brooklyn with engineer Aaron Nevezie. It was amazing watching the songs Kelli had envisioned come to life thanks to musicians Jason Domnarski, David Moltz, Justin Purtill, John Davis, Chris Hoffman & Dan Mintzer.
Tonight Kelli will play at the Cinema Eye Honors. She’s nominated for best score and she’s up against some pretty heavy hitters including Nick Cave and Danny Elfman. Wish her luck. I think she deserves the statue.
Kelli’s next album will be produced by Moby. Follow the progress at her blog. And here’s an outtake from the In A Dream recording sessions. A beautiful song that we just couldn’t fit into the film. Hope you enjoy.
I found Efterklang while searching online for ambient music about three years ago and after putting their music in the film I knew right away it would have to stay. In fact, the scene in which Kloy Gyn appears is still my producer Jeremy’s favorite in the whole film.
Last summer, I had a chance to use another song of theirs called Bright in a short film I cut called Wait For Me directed by In A Dream‘s Executive Producer Ross Kauffman. The film was shown in the centerpiece slot of last year’s New York Film Festival and it is devastating.
Efterklang agreed to let us use Bright if we agreed to make a music video for their new album. We didn’t have time or money to shoot anything, so we decided to put a video together using outtakes from In A Dream. That music video—for Cutting Ice To Snow—is a testament to Erik Messerschmidt’s beautiful cinematography, so much of which was left out of the finished film.
As it turns out, Efterklang and Herzliya Films are a pretty good combination. In a way, Efterklang and many of the bands in this movie have become a part of me. Over the past three years, the music I listen to has become inseparable from the editing work that I do. And since I edit often with the music of Efterklang, they have in turn become a soundtrack for my day to day, which is wonderful since their music is so good. My only fear now is that one day someone will ask me to edit a movie to John Mayer songs.
Efterklang are on a North American tour as we speak. You can see them in Philadelphia on Friday and in New York on Saturday.
P.S. at the Sheffield Doc/Fest last November we had a chance to link up with the good people at The Leaf Label and Woodwork Music who represent both Efterklang and Colleen (as well as other amazing bands like A Hawk and a Hacksaw). They loved the film and we love them.
In A Dream has a big week ahead at international film festivals. It screens today and tomorrow in Cyprus, Sunday in Ireland & Monday in Serbia.
From the Belfast Film Festival program:
Who would have thought a film about the break-up of a 43-year marriage could prove so enthralling, creative and inspirational?
The filmmaker follows his father, a colourful mosaic artist in Philadelphia who covers buildings with symbolic visions of his life story, and his mother, who has supported him through many years of creative adventure and occasional episodes of mental imbalance.
In a Dream is sometimes deeply personal, yet shockingly universal and ends with an amazing sense of possibility. One of the most visually seductive films around this year, In a Dream is backed up by a viscerally emotive musical score by The Books.
This is first in a series of posts where Jeremiah Zagar, director of In A Dream, talks about the music in the film.
Around five years ago I was living with a friend for a few weeks in Portland, Oregon and I went into a small independent music store around the corner from her house and asked the same question I normally ask at independent music stores: “do you have any good ambient music, something cinematic. See i’m making a movie and….”
The guy behind the counter pointed me to a number of artists, one of which was Colleen. I bought the album right away and listened to it for two years before cutting with it. I edited one of the first scenes of In A Dream with The Golden Morning Breaks and somehow the images and the music became inseparable.
Just last week, Cecille (Colleen is a pen name) emailed me saying that she had watched the movie and loved it. One of the best things about finishing the film is gaining the respect of someone whose work has so influenced my own.
We are proud to showcase a duo of “personal” documentaries from the USA at this year’s BIFF – see also Kurt Kuenne’s Dear Zachary – both of which have achieved enormous critical and audience acclaim on the global film festival circuit in recent months.
Of the two, however, only one made it onto the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science’s 15-strong shortlist for the Best Documentary Oscar – alongside heavy hitters such as Werner Herzog (BIFF 2009 selection Encounters at the End of the World), Errol Morris (Standard Operating Procedure) and James Marsh (Man On Wire) – namely Jeremiah Zagar’s delicately beautiful family chronicle In a Dream.
On one level, the film, which has picked up awards and honours at half a dozen American festivals so far, is a loving tribute to the director’s father Isaiah, the eccentric artist responsible for the ubiquitous, ethereal, outsize mosaic/murals (“crazy-quilt images of people, often the artist himself, shards of shattered mirror, cracked crockery, bottles, bicycles”) which adorn walls in certain downtown corners of his native Philadelphia.
But there’s much more going on here than merely a series of beautiful images capturing Zagar Sr’s hypnotic, alluring artworks – though the film’s visuals are astonishing in their limpid clarity. What emerges is a startling and turbulent family chronicle involving both of the director’s parents, plus his elder brother Zeke. It’s a work of remarkable intelligence, tact and grace – especially considering that this is Zagar Jr’s very first feature-length work.
In the words of Philadelphia Inquirer critic Steven Rea, the film “captures a family imploding. Their lives are laid bare, in broken bits, like the ceramic that Isaiah uses for his art, and they come together in In a Dream with sadness and beauty, rage and insight.”
Date & Time: Thursday, March 19th @ 4:30pm in the Cubby Broccoli Cinema
In A Dream was awarded the jury prize last night for Best Documentary at the Salem Film Festival. From the press release:
Zagar, who attended Emerson College, began shooting the film when he was 19 years old. Seven years later, it is a hauntingly beautiful glimpse at artistic genius and the toll it can take on the loved ones living within the art, as the family home is literally covered by azure blue tiles and mosaics.
“The film offers viewers the rare opportunity to observe what makes a talented artist tick,” says Juror Jennifer Evans, Manager of Adult Public Programs at Peabody Essex Museum, “and to see what it means to live with someone so focused on his art. I found it inspiring and very well made. It probes into the essence of art, of madness, of family, sexuality and sexual abuse. The information isn’t forced on the viewer or manipulated for effect — it is just there. The film is honest, sometimes painfully so, and never tries to cover the most difficult truths.”
“It is one of the best films about an artist that I have ever seen,” says Juror Kereth Cowe-Spigai, manager and film programmer at CinemaSalem. “It was beautifully shot and the editing was superb. If anything, the technical aspects put it over the top, as all our finalists were compelling stories.”
The film is touring the festival circuit and dates are set for a theatrical release in the spring. For more information, visit http://www.inadreammovie.com
A best of fest screening has been scheduled for this evening at 5:30pm.