Growing up I always envisioned great cinema with a moving soundtrack. Specifically, I always envisioned that soundtrack to be composed of jazz. Jazz to me has always held elements of profound storytelling. Making the composition of jazz and cinema a formidable duo.
The relationship between jazz and cinema is long and detailed stemming back to the 1930’s. Through the use of Jazz in cinema It has allowed for a beautiful form of expressing one’s emotions. Films like Taxi driver and A BOUTE DE SOUFFLE, forever live on through their evocative soundtrack.. That pulls the audience in and forces them to face their emotions.
“Today, jazz and the screen in all their manifestations are once again facing an uncertain future together as a result of constantly shifting audience tastes and with a wide range of alternative choices in both music and the visual arts – electronic experimentation, digital recording and synthesizers, video and lasers and a whole new world of computer, satellite and micro-technology cruising the information highways of the universe. They have survived successfully for over a century since before the days when man could fly or listen to the radio or before Don Ameche made that first telephone call. Ultimately, it won’t matter what previously undreamed of technological achievements influence our lives as they will have combined to ensure that for many jazz scholars and enthusiasts, the music remains our religion”.
(Excerpt from Overview of Jazz on the Screen by David Meeker)
The longevity of cinema in jazz is transcendent and thought provoking. As to why their partnership leads to a plethora of admirable collaborations. Throughout the age of mechanisation and innovation in audio recording software. The element of jazz has not faded but expanded. Jazz as a musical medium is celebrated around the world
I’ve always found the arts to be a comfort for me. Allowing me to express myself and showcase my thoughts and feelings. A key component I wanted to focus on through working on sick jazz and working on my FASE article was the role of the Artist. Their intentions and their practice. Sick jazz aims to explore the relationship between jazz and film. I in this interview aim to explore the relationship between the artist and their art.
I wanted to interview a filmmaker and a Jazz musician, to better hold a grasp on how they approach their field. However I could not schedule an interview with any of my previously desired jazz musicians. So I opted to interview a student filmmaker who has as deep of an appreciation for music and jazz as they do cinema. Renee is a friend, colleague and group partner but more importantly a talented artistic mind.
How have you been?
I’ve been pretty good, thank you.
Good stuff, good stuff, good stuff. So basically, obviously, we’re here today for my FASE article. But thank you very much for helping me do it, pretty much. So I think you know the drill.
Just going to ask you a couple of questions, mainly because I value you as a filmmaker and as someone I know. And as well, you also did work on Sick Jazz, so obviously you’ve got an understanding of the elements that go into this.
So I’m going to ask you about three different facets of what it is to be like an artist or like a filmmaker. So your form, sort of how you make your film, how you make what you make, your inspiration, and how you communicate that. So just in general, how do you approach your craft?
How do I approach my craft? Good question. Really, I just come up with. Should.
Say, like, visuals at first. I don’t try to come up with anything in particular, just like what pops into mind. And I work from there, really.
Okay I feel that.
In what ways are you inspired by your predecessors and who are they in a sense? Who do you cite as big inspirations for your career?
Okay, the big inspirations are definitely the people that show you. You don’t have to do things in a conventional way or there basically is no convention. You can do things however you want, and you have to follow the traditional methods or the Hollywood way. So obviously, when we talk about films like Gaspar, no way making it irreversible about a script. Low budget, just improvise. Just saying, like, you don’t need to have a script or have this format. You need to follow. And even Gaspar himself, he shot the whole film. He was a cinematographer. So you can just do it all yourself and do it any way you want.
I don’t know. I feel that, honestly. Where do you think you draw inspiration from?
Life. Life moments, people, interactions, memories.
Good stuff, good stuff. In terms of making a film.
You find yourself actively trying to communicate a message, or upon reflection, seeing that you’ve communicated this message, or definitely that one.
Upon reflection, seeing like, okay, there’s a message. You can interpret it as that and this, but initially, no. Just make stuff, see how it goes, see what people think and see it.
As because I don’t know. There’s an interesting thing where I used to think about, like I think there’s a term, but I don’t know what it’s properly called. But I see it as English teacher analysis, where it’s like, obviously whoever made this did not intend on this analysis or you diving so deep into it. So I feel like I think this happens a lot with filmmakers as well, because it’s an art form at least, which is very new, pretty recent. You know, what I mean? Like, last like, what, hundred years. So I feel like there’s a lot of English teacher analysis, in my opinion, of people diving very deep on, like, a shot or like, this means this and represents this. So then do you feel like that’s the case a lot, especially in film school?
Film school? Yeah, I guess so. But maybe, like, on our level. So at Uni, it’s more like ideologies. It’s not exactly like the deeper meaning at a level GCSE. It’s like, oh, so the filmmaker, do you think they’re trying to reflect this with this color grading and this is like no, but they try and make out there is a message behind it.
Obviously. Our screening event is called Sick Jazz. So how do you feel about the role of music in film?
It is very important, but has to be chosen wisely. Like, a lot of Hollywood films are just maybe, like, plopping a popular song, get the people jumping, but it doesn’t exactly fit the mood. Or they’re trying to manipulate audiences and make them feel something by using music. But when music is chosen well, when you hear that song, you think of that film in that moment, which is good. Yeah.
Good stuff, good stuff. How do you feel about jazz in film? Because I think now, I wouldn’t say it’s a bit biased because obviously we spent a lot of time listening to jazz over this past couple months, I would say. But yeah. How do you feel about jazz’s role in popularized film or popular cinema?
Reflecting on it now, after obviously joining Sick Jazz, I realized that jazz music is found in a lot of popular films and successful films, like even children’s films like Disney. You look back and like, oh, wow, that’s a jazz tune. That’s a jazz tune. And how yeah, that’s very specific. To choose jazz as it does evoke this certain feeling and thinking, yeah, jazz can be found in cinema more than I thought it could be.
Fair enough. Respect.
Thank you very much.
It’s been lovely. Gang Sh*t.