News: The Sound Of Silent Film Festival Returns To Perform Live Music To Modern Silent Films

The festival takes place on April 14th

Access Contemporary Music's (ACM) popular Sound of Silent Film Festival returns for a thirteenth year, moving to the Davis Theater in Lincoln Square, Chicago. To celebrate thirteen years of commissioning new music to be performed live to modern silent films, ACM is adding a special "late night" show this year. You can purchase tickets to the event here.

"Every year we get so many high quality films that are just a little too racy, weird, or downright horrifying to show in prime time," says Seth Boustead, ACM's Executive Director and the creator and producer of the festival. "This year we get to go all out and it's very exciting."

All of the films will be screened in complete silence with live musical accompaniment provided by ACM musicians led by Music Director Chris Ramaekers. The Davis Theater is a newly restored first-run theater with a restaurant and two full bars.

The Sound of Silent Film Festival serves ACM's mission to bring contemporary classical music to new audiences. To that end the composers we commission are not film composers but concert composers. A few of the featured composers include:

Natalie Diettrich

Natalie is an American composer and vocalist from Harleysville, Pennsylvania. Her music has been performed by wild Up as part of the LA Philharmonic's National Composers Intensive, at the So Percussion Summer Institute (Princeton, New Jersey), the 21st Annual Young Composers Meeting (Apeldoorn, the Netherlands), Spectrum (New York), on Q2 music (WQXR, New York), the highSCORE Festival (Pavia Italy), and most recently as a fellow at the Bang on a Can Summer Institute.

She writes music that mines patterns and is often tangential to social issues. Her music is inspired by musical and non-musical concepts alike and is visceral in nature.

Nicole Murphy

Australian composer Nicole Murphy’s music has been described as “exquisite, sensitive and delicate”. She has been commissioned by eminent arts organizations including the Australian Ballet, the Royal Academy of Dance (London), Experiments in Opera/Symphony Space (New York), the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Victoria, Wild Rumpus (San Francisco), and the Definiens Project (Los Angeles).

Her music has been performed by ensembles such as the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, NOWensemble (New York), Ars Nova (Dallas), and Halcyon (Sydney). She has received performances at numerous festivals including the Atlantic Music Festival (Maine), the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival (Connecticut), the Dallas Festival of Modern Music, and the Bowdoin International Music Festival (Maine). Her music is published by Wirripang and Nicole holds a PhD from the University of Queensland.

Dominic Johnson

Dominic Johnson is a composer and violist/violinist who toured and recorded for many years with The Rachel’s, a progenitor of what some now call “indie-classical” music. He is currently on the music production team at Comedy Central’s hit show Drunk History.

Career highlights have included co-founding and running the New Millennium Orchestra of Chicago from 2005-15, and performances with Brian Wilson, Stevie Wonder, DJ Spooky, and Belle and Sebastian.

He has also played in the Vienna Konzerthaus, rocking the Hammerstein Ballroom opening for PJ Harvey, played electric viola for Chicago Symphony events, performed at the Kennedy Center and he looks great in a tux.

Anthony Green

The creative output of AnthonyR.Green (composer, performer, social justice) includes musical and visual creations, interpretations of original works or works in the repertoire, collaborations, educational outreach, and more. Behind all of his artistic endeavors are the ideals of equality and freedom, which manifest themselves in diverse ways in a composition, a performance, a collaboration, or social justice work.

As a composer, his work has been presented in over 20 countries by such notable soloists and ensembles as Gabriela Díaz, Wendy Richman, Dame Evelyn Glennie, ALEA III, Sound Energy, Transient Canvas, The Fidelio Trio, Ossia New Music Ensemble, and Alarm Will Sound, to name a few. His work has been recognized by the Argosy Foundation, Meet the Composer, ASCAP, and others, and has been featured in festivals such as the Grachten Festival (Amsterdam, the Netherlands), Gaudeamus Music Week (Utrecht, the Netherlands), and the American Composers Alliance Summer Festival (New York City), among others.

7:00 Featured Program

That Unusual Brick 

Film by Jesse Burks 
Music by Nicole Murphy
 In a posh, swanky restaurant, a neurotic man's perfect meal is interrupted by an unexpected little guest.

Two Black Coffees 

Film Noir, Thriller, Mystery 
Film by Michael Driscoll 
Music by Donnie Walker 
A desperate woman has one moment of chance to escape from her domineering husband, and into the arms of her secret lover.

Nation Down 

Drama, Science Fiction 
Film by Liam Hendrix Heath 
Music by Dominic Johnson 
On a world locked in a dystopian nightmare, a tyrant combats a sudden eruption of riots and pillages.

The Scroll of Morlock 

Horror, Comedy 
Film by Dash Finley 
Music by Lawrence Axelrod 
A wraith-like ghoul stalks the corridors of an opulent country estate, threatening an elegant maiden and her brave beau

The Man Who Was Ill 

Drama, Comedy 
Film by Luke Marsden 
Music by Elizabeth Start 
Who will Waldo Swobota choose - his fiancé, or her one-eyed sister? How did Lena Prewne's eyes end up inside a glass jar? What does Doctor Schlessighesstfahlen have to do with all this? And will the wise old crone point the sick painter in the direction of true love? A love letter to silent cinema.

atoms of ashes 

Drama, Experimental 
Film by Maggie Scrantom 
Music by Nattalie Dietterich 
A young woman weaves through the stages of grief after a miscarriage, confronting the vast universe inside her own body and beyond. Where do we begin and end if we are already made of stardust?

Saturn Return 

Animation, Fantasy, Adventure, Science Fiction 
Film by Evan Curtis 
Music by Anthony Green 
If I have seen further, it is from standing on the shoulders of giants.

Margaret and the Moon 

 Animation, Adventure, Drama 
Film by Trevor Morgan 
Music by Gary Rubio
Margaret and the Moon is the story of an unpopular little girl who falls in love with her imagination and learns the value of true friendship.

9:30 "Late Night" Program (Viewer Discretion Advised)

Frollein Frappe 

Comedy, Drama 
Film by Vanessa Aab 
Music by Seth Boustead
Franz and Greta are deeply in love with each other, even though they are cousins and social conventions forbid them to act on their desire and feelings for each other. In the tradition of 20′s surrealist cinema the line between dreams and reality blur as the loving couple tries to undermine the moral standards in a romantic and comic way. But when Greta suddenly changes her mind and leaves Franz’s vision, his emotions fall into a bottomless abyss.

When You Call Me That, Smile 

Drama, Comedy
 Film by Nick Toti 
Music by J.S. Bach
A man leaves his quiet life in the country to become a comic entertainer in the Big City. His journey is a Surreal celebration of the descent into a Hell of narcissistic self-destruction. In a string of events ranging from antisocial transgression to racist provocation to fantastic flights of absurdity, our protagonist loses grasp of his humanity and bit by bit slips into complete animal degradation. A comedy.

Tea Party 

Drama, Experimental 
Film by Brian Zahm 
Music by Gunnelpumpers 
Called 'grotesque, erotic and surreal,' TEA PARTY explores the inner-world of one lady's daily ritual. This film makes a methodical march from aged stasis toward a frenzied crescendo brimming with archetypal images of youth and fertility.

Manos de la Muerte (Hands of Death) 

Horror Spoof 
Film by Dave Less 
Music by Seth Boustead 
An orphaned young woman is sent to live with her aunt who goes to great lengths to find her a suitor, whether she wants one or not.

Leatherface in Love 

Film by Alexander Bickford 
Music by Tony Scott-Green 
 Leatherface meets his female counterpart in this darkly comedic reintroduction to one of the horror genre's most iconic characters.