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Scoring Woodstock & Returning to the Tribeca Film Festival

Whenever I would tell someone that Andrew Willis and I were working on a score for the new Woodstock documentary for American Experience, there would be quizzical looks and questions. “Wasn’t Woodstock all about music? Why would you need to write music for that?” Yes, of course, there are hours of music that came from the event, but that movie has already been made.

PBS  and  AMERICAN EXPERIENCE  announced the new two-hour documentary   Woodstock  , scheduled to premiere on PBS in 2019 in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the historic three-day concert that defined a generation.  Read the full article here.

PBS and AMERICAN EXPERIENCE announced the new two-hour documentary Woodstock, scheduled to premiere on PBS in 2019 in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the historic three-day concert that defined a generation. Read the full article here.

The original Woodstock movie came out in 1970 and was all about the music. This new film is different. It’s a retrospective documentary about how the whole thing came about. It’s about the organizers who had the original idea and the incredible difficulties they encountered in trying to make it happen.

It is also about the concert-goers; their lives, what brought them there, the troubles they endured in the mud and rain, and all the amazing experiences they had.

Naturally, there are songs from the actual performances in the film as well as music that was popular at the time. However, our score supports the stories that are told about the people who came together for the event of a lifetime.

We mostly used guitars, bass, mandolin and drums to create music that integrates with the music of the era: we aimed to play those instruments in a way that is modern and yet evokes the sounds of the ‘60s.

Barak Goodman, director (on the left) with composer John Kusiak. Photo by Laura Barrett.

Barak Goodman, director (on the left) with composer John Kusiak. Photo by Laura Barrett.

A few weeks ago I attended the Woodstock Tribeca Film Festival premiere screening in New York City with Kenny Kusiak (who also contributed to the score). It was one of the “Spotlight” films and was standing room only.

Barak Goodman, who has some of the best American Experience films under his belt, directed the movie.

“Woodstock: Three Days that Defined a Generation” will be released in theaters by PBS Films on May 24 in New York, and June 7 in LA.

It will be aired on PBS in August.

Turn on, tune in, and listen!

Composers Attend Team Foxcatcher debut at TriBeCa Film Festival

Last week, John and Kenny Kusiak caught up with filmmaker Jon Greenhalgh at the Team Foxcatcher TriBeCa Film Festival premiere. If you've seen Foxcatcher (2014) with Steve Carell and Channing Tatum, this is the true story and even more poignant as it makes frequent use of home video footage from the Shultz family. John composed the score for this moving, well-attended documentary and says he tapped Kenny to compose additional music for "some of the more ambient sections." (Andrew Willis also assisted with with additional music and Rob Jaret helped with orchestration and score preparation.)

During and after the Monday and Tuesday screenings, the Kusiak Music group got to meet Nancy Schultz (wife of slain wrestler and the documentary's focus, Dave Shultz) and other people interviewed for this absorbing film. At one of the after parties we met Bill Ordine, a reporter on the scene who wrote "Fatal Match," a true crime novel about the events. We also had an interesting conversation with Joe McGettigan, the prosecutor in the DuPont trial. Aside from the fun of the film festival scene, the further details and context we got from these conversations was a special treat. All the questions raised from the film about professional sports, propaganda, and wealthy privilege were passionately discussed.

Working with Jon Greenhalgh was a great pleasure and Ben Cotner of Netflix did an amazing job in producing the film. It was great to see so much interest in the film: all four screenings were sold out!

Team Foxcatcher makes its Netflix debut on April 29th. Highly recommended by all of us at Kusiak Music!