DeAndre James Allen-Toole
Project: God’s Country
The Reel Change Film Fund paid for the services of Joy Music House (orchestration and copying); FAME’S Studio Orchestra (including a videographer); remote vocalists; a mix engineer; a (lost) downpayment on lodging in Park City, UT; and a publicity package from White Bear PR. I am planning on using what’s left to invest in much-needed upgrades for my home studio, a second publicity package closer to the film’s fall release, travel for upcoming events related to the film, and any costs tied to producing/releasing a soundtrack album.
God’s Country features a melancholy, contemplative score utilizing a cyclical framework of abbreviated motifs and hybrid textures that slowly unravel, intermingle, and mutate to illustrate Cassandra’s personal tragedies and the idea of a greater cosmic tragedy as intrinsically related forces bound by an unpleasant, complicated history. The goal was to create a score that felt intimately related to Sandra’s emotions and mental state while reinforcing that the audience is watching a grave tragedy set in motion from the very beginning.
Much of my inspiration for the score came from the early conversations I had with the director, Julian Higgins, during and after the Sundance Film Music & Sound Design Lab, where we first met. These conversations led me to adopt a somewhat minimalistic approach to composing the music, trying my best to get maximum mileage from uncomplicated ideas. I also derived inspiration from cycles/breathing, explored by the repetitive pulses and swells that permeate the score. Some of the main ideas found in the score have their origin in music I wrote during the Lab, well before Julian and I officially settled on a musical direction. Others formed as we gradually honed in on the score’s point of view and how it would fit the narrative on a global level. Even themes unused from other projects found a new home in God’s Country. Everything came together to create a mosaic of musical material that ultimately embodies what Julian and I set out to accomplish as storytellers and collaborators.
Driven by a life-long love of jazz, electronica, and experimental music, DeAndre James Allen-Toole is a Detroit-bred composer boasting an eclectic style shaped by years of playful musical exploration. DeAndre is a Columbia College Chicago alum, where he earned both his Bachelor of Arts in Music Composition and a Master of Fine Arts in Music Composition for the Screen. He is also a Sundance Institute Film Music & Sound Design Lab alum and a beneficiary of the Sundance Institute’s Interdisciplinary Program.