Inside the Music of Circumstance

Inside the Music of Circumstance

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We had our world premiere of Circumstance on Saturday at the Library Theatre. After being involved with the project since the 2007 Sundance Institute Composers Lab, there were so many mixed emotions going into the premiere! There were nerves, of course, as well as this feeling of relief. I have been so proud of this film and could not wait for people to see it, so to finally be there at the theater waiting for it to start was quite emotional.

Gingger Shankar and Maryam Keshavarz. Photo by Eric Tsou.

The whole cast and crew were there, which was lovely. I realized, being in this room, what a family everyone had become. There was so much love and excitement in the green room prior to the screening to go along with the nerves! Being on such a long and eventful journey with Circumstance and Maryam (Director Maryam Keshavarz) really hit me during the screening. 

I have seen the movie from rough cuts to the final mixing stage, so it was more about looking around and seeing the audience reaction.  I have to say, hearing them laugh at all the right places and having complete silence during all the tense moments was incredible. I didn't see the usual texting and talking, which was great! Maryam's storytelling had them under her spell. She took a family's story and made it so compelling. Judging by the Q&A, people were completely touched by the film. Circumstance got a standing ovation at the end, and I couldn't be more proud to be a part of such an amazing and important film.

I have to make a mention of the Sundance Institute Labs as well. Maryam Keshavarz, Brian Rigney Hubbard (our cinematographer), and I were all part of the 2007 Labs. What an experience it was for us to go from working at the Labs together to seeing the film premiere at the Sundance Film Festival!!!

Sundance is such a great place not only for filmmakers, but for us composers and musicians as well. The following night I had the chance to see Lou Reed perform at the Sundance House for “A Celebration of Music in Film” concert. Seeing a legend doing a set with a piano player and two other musicians in an intimate setting was a treat! Because Sundance is such a down to earth Festival, we have the chance to hear from our favorite artists and composers, and everyone is so warm and approachable!

Photo by Eric Tsou.

Sunday night was also special because it was a reunion of sorts. We had so many Composers Lab Fellows in the house! I am so proud to be here with a film the same year as iZler (On the Ice) and Vivek Maddala (Kaboom). They are good friends as well as Lab alumni, so it is thrilling to be sharing the journey with them. 

It was a great night and after the show we had the chance to catch up with two of our Sundance mentors- Peter Golub and George S. Clinton. As the week goes on, iZler, Vivek, and I will have the chance to share a panel with them along with some other fantastic composers and filmmakers.