By NOAH SHACHAR
Cinema and music have been intertwined since the debut of moving pictures. With the invention of sound cinema, however, we lost the combination of a live orchestra playing alongside the silver screen.
Starting in May, Olympia Film Society (OFS) introduces an all-new film program series, Screen Scores. The program attaches live ensembles to great cinema to create a scintillating movie-watching experience.
During the May kickoff sponsored by Dillinger’s Cocktails, an Austin, Texas-based quartet, The Invincible Czars, will accompany the classic, silent, vampire film Noseferatu. It’s among the most iconic silent films, a giant of the horror genre. The pairing features a wide array of instruments from the organ to the violin, the glockenspiel to the group’s own voices. The symbiosis of film and musical performance will send shivers up spines.
Screen Scores won’t confine itself to silent films. In June the series features the animated Sailor Moon R with a score by Sundae Crush. OFS marketing director and OLY ARTS contributor Jonah Barrett said he has “no idea how they’re going to pull this off.”
Sundae Crush live-scored the Sailor Moon flick once before, at the Northwest Film Forum in Seattle last November, and the enzymatic combination of anime with live music proved highly popular. That prompted the band to give the performance a second go. Barrett added, “It’s going to be an exciting experiment as we go ahead and figure this series out.”
The exact date of the third Screen Score showing is still in the works, but we do know that in early July the Olympia band Lloyd Arkestra, fronted by Harrison Hannon of Monkflower, will score the 1925 silent film The Lost World.
Lloyd Arkestra is a newly formed trio of gifted musicians, and it’s their first time playing this score with Hannon on drums, Gabe Judd on effects and Judd and Theo Ragan on keyboards. All three play synths and vocals as well.
In this performance, three experienced players come together to explore their talents in a truly spectacular venue. The classic, silent-era, fantasy thriller follows explorers journeying through the Amazon. There, deep in the jungle, they discover live, prehistoric creatures and primitive hominids. It’s a memorable film, an obvious inspiration on Michael Crichton and Steven Spielberg, and the Lloyd Arkestra score allows viewers to enjoy it as it was meant to be seen.
“The [theater] space was originally created for this kinda thing,” explained Barrett. While OFS has booked live, musical performances to accompany silent films in the past, it’s never branded them “under a program title,” Barrett said. “We wanted to make this program so that when people hear it’s a ‘Screen Score,’ they know they’re in for a treat.”
206 Fifth Ave. SE, Olympia
Nosferatu with The Invisible Czars: 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 14
Sailor Moon R with Sundae Crush: time TBD, Thursday, June 6
The Lost World with Lloyd Arkestra: early July