The Review/Short Read/
The Music Behind TIFF '16
An official #TIFF16 playlist, courtesy of Apple Music, to get you through your festival
Film and music present two distinct sensory experiences. Fans of both worlds have experienced endless and unexpected pairings. Between top musicians creating epic scores, performers-turned-thespians crossing over as newcomers to the screen, or even movies about the artists themselves, TIFF 16 illustrates all the ways these two worlds can collide. The artists in this playlist, culled from the films themselves, range from punk rock to dance hall with an impressive amount of indie artists making their film score debut at TIFF 16, including Julia Holter, Sharon Van Etten and Pharrell. We recommend checking out the Official #TIFF16 playlist on Apple Music so you can walk around Toronto, feeling like you’re in a movie yourself.
La La Land (directed by Damien Chazelle), playing Sept. 12 at Princess Of Wales Theatre The track: “City of Stars” by Ryan Gosling
This curious and inviting first track from Chazelle’s musical is an ode to old Hollywood romance. Composer Justin Hurwitz described the piano chords as “hopeful, but melancholy at the same time... You have these great moments and then you have these less great moments in life and in Los Angeles and we see it happen in the story.” Gosling is no stranger to musical collaboration - his ukulele stylings on Blue Valentine were infamous. Meanwhile, his co-star Emma Stone has recently made her debut on Broadway as Sally Bowles in Cabaret.
Strange Weather (directed by Katherine Dieckmann), playing Sept. 16 at Roy Thomson Hall The track: “Your Love is Killing Me” by Sharon Van Etten Van Etten has always woven sharp and poignant storytelling throughout her songs. Strange Weather will be her first time scoring a film, and it feels like a natural fit for a film about a woman’s grief and loss in the deep south.
Bleed For This (directed by Ben Younger), playing Sept. 12 at Princess of Wales Theatre The track: “Feel You” by Julia Holter
The idea of avant-garde musician Julia Holter scoring a boxing film might seem a little ridiculous. Yet, the first-time composer found a way into Ben Younger’s true life story with by sharing the same sense of charged emotionalism. In an interview, she drew out one particularly interesting parallel, saying, “There’s a lot psychologically going on in boxing... I think I relate to some of it. I have respect for it. It’s like performing, but it’s also this crazy self-destructive thing. Maybe what I’m doing is self-destructive too?”
Justin Timberlake + The Tennessee Kids (directed by Jonathan Demme), playing Sept. 13 at Roy Thomson Hall The track: “Blue Ocean Floor” by Justin Timberlake
Both Demme and Timberlake have floated between the music and film worlds. Musician Timberlake is also an incredible actor, working with acclaimed directors in The Social Network and Inside Llewyn Davis. Demme has never stopped making music documentaries (amongst them, Neil Young: Heart of Gold, Stop Making Sense). He also cast TV On The Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe in his film Rachel Getting Married and more recently, Rick Springfield in 2015’s Ricki and the Flash. Teamed together, get ready for an uplifting, concert film spectacular.
The Rolling Stones Olé Olé Olé! : A Trip Across Latin America (directed by Paul Dugdale), playing Sept. 16 at Roy Thomson Hall The track: “Angie” by The Rolling Stones
Adele, Coldplay, One Direction, Ed Sheeran and Lenny Kravitz are only a few of the artists Dugdale has been trusted to film concert performances for. With the Stones, Dugdale is able to document their bustling character onstage and off as they play a live concert in Cuba for the first time.
Transparent Season 3 (directed by Jill Soloway), playing Sept. 11 at Visa Screening Room The track: “Bury Our Friends” by Sleater-Kinney
A chameleon of creative output, Carrie Brownstein has acted in Oscar-winning films (Carol), Golden Globe-awarded dramatic shows (Transparent) and her own comedic creation (Portlandia). Her recent memoir Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl reacquainted everyone with her humble beginnings as a member of the acclaimed rock band Sleater-Kinney. Brownstein is a great example of a musician who has fully pivoted into the film world and we look to her rendition of “Syd” in Transparent Season 3.
Gimme Danger (directed by Jim Jarmusch), playing Sept. 14 at Ryerson Theatre The track: “Search and Destroy” by Iggy Pop
In this film, Jarmusch takes on the daunting task of documenting the life of Iggy Pop. TIFF programmer Thom Powers noted Jarmusch’s ability to dig into a rich archive, “portraying Iggy through the years at his passionate best and drug-addled worst.”
Home (directed by Fien Troch), playing Sept. 14 at the Winter Garden Theatre The track: “Kill for Love” by The Chromatics
Legendary producer Johnny Jewel is known for pioneering an italo-disco revival with a dark pop twist. He has brought his touch to multiple bands (including The Chromatics), and has experimented with film scores a few times. Apparently, Refn and the aforementioned Ryan Gosling listened to Chromatics Night Drive EP on repeat while driving around LA location scouting. In this Belgian, hyperrealist drama, notably most shot on cellphone cameras, you can be assured that these synths will follow as Jewel once again takes the lead scoring the film.
(re)ASSIGNMENT (directed by Walter Hill), playing Sept. 14 at Ryerson Theatre The track: “From Here To Eternity” by Giorgio Moroder
The span of Italo disco god Giorgio Moroder’s music career is sprawling, from his original ‘70s origins to his rebirth on Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories. While Moroder’s film credits are literally too deep to get into here, they include three Oscar wins for Midnight Express, Flashdance and Top Gun, respectively. Another classic will appear in Walter Hill’s controversial drama (re)Assignment, no doubt used to great effect.
Trespass Against Us (directed by Adam Smith), playing Sept. 10 at Hot Docs Theatre The track: “Galvanize” by The Chemical Brothers
The Chemical Brothers are scoring a gangster flick and that, of course, makes total sense. It’s also not the first time they’ve collaborated with director Adam Smith who shot the only official recording of their live show in 2012, titled Don’t Think.
Hidden Figures (directed by Theodore Melfi), playing Sept. 10 at TIFF Bell Lightbox The track: “Cold War” by Janelle Monáe
Monáe has made her jump into the film world in two films at TIFF 16 as loud and dynamic as her musical legacy. For two different looks at the arch android, you can catch her in the uplifting drama Hidden Figures and in a supporting role in Barry Jenkins’ riveting coming-of-age film Moonlight.
Pharrell And Friends Perform Hidden Figures Live, happening Sept. 10 at Festival Street The track: “Cold War” by Janelle Monáe
Monáe has made her jump into the film world with appearances in two films as loud and dynamic as her musical legacy, both of which will make an appearance at TIFF '16. For two different looks at the arch android, you can catch her in the uplifting drama Hidden Figures (due to be released in January 2017; selected scenes will be played at a special members-only event at TIFF '16), and in a supporting role in Barry Jenkins’ riveting coming-of-age film Moonlight.
Pharrell And Friends Perform Hidden Figures Live, happening Sept. 10 at Festival Street The track: “Come Get it Bae” by Pharrell
Pharrell is a producer and the composer of Hidden Figures, a film that gets an exclusive sneak peek at TIFF '16. He’s set to do a live performance right on Festival Street (with special guests Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe!) that includes original music he created for the feature. When first hearing of the project, the artist apparently “basically begged the producers and studio to allow [me] to participate.”
King of the Dancehall (directed by Nick Cannon), playing Sept. 11 at Ryerson Theatre The track: “King of the Dancehall” by Beenie Man
Nick Cannon (now directing!) has taken elements of Beenie Man’s true life story to craft a fun and pop-culture saturated feature all about the Jamaican dancehall scene. (Notably, Busta Rhymes also plays a supporting role!) Thanks to icons like Drake and Rihanna, the prevalence of dancehall in popular culture has never been stronger. This premiere should be one of the most fun screenings at the Festival.
BrOTHERHOOD (directed by Noel Clarke), playing Sept. 16 at Ryerson Theatre The track: “BrOTHERHOOD” by Stormzy
The final chapter of Noel Clarke's trilogy paints a rarely-seen picture of the realities of urban life in West London. It also features grime artist Stormzy as both an actor and the artist behind the film's title track. Combining dancehall, electronic and garage influences, grime music is a youthful expression of the multitudes that make up modern London. (Dizzee Rascal, one of the form's progenitors, is 31 years old). Stormzy's music focuses on a London both close to, and a million miles away, from the hyper-wealth of the city. It's required listening for right now.
American Honey (directed by Andrea Arnold), playing Sept. 11 at Ryerson Theatre The track: “Bounce It” by Juicy J
Acclaimed British director Andrea Arnold returns with another feature that rests on the pulse of disillusioned youth (see: Fish Tank and her sumptuous adaptation of Wuthering Heights). The film’s finely-curated soundtrack offers an eclectic group of emerging and underground hip-hop acts mixed with gentle indie gems, including this 2013 classic.