Altos to provide original, 18-person score for 2013 Milwaukee Film Fest centerpiece event
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For the past five years, the Milwaukee Film Festival has been one of the crown jewels of the city. The annual fest screens hundreds of top-shelf films, stages dozens of memorable discussions and events, and is just generally awesome. Recent festival highlights—the crown jewels of the crown jewel, if you will—have been live bands providing live scores for silent films. Cambridge, Massachusetts group Alloy Orchestra provided the music for Fritz Lang’s Metropolis in 2010, and returned for Alfred Hitchcock’s Blackmail in 2012. For 2013, however, Milwaukee Film is shopping local, and has tapped the city’s own “surly high school orchestra,” Altos, to provide a live, original score during a screening of a rare 35mm print of Aleksander Dovzhenko’s silent Soviet classic Earth (Zemlya). The performance is a collaboration with Alverno Presents, and will serve as the festival’s centerpiece event.
“We have been admiring Alverno Presents’ model of commissioning new works by local artists for a long time now,” Milwaukee Film’s Artistic and Executive Director Jonathan Jackson says in a press release. “When the opportunity to collaborate with David Ravel (Director, Alverno Presents) presented itself, we jumped at the chance. And finding an actual 35mm print of this silent masterpiece was the icing on the cake.”
Normally a 12-piece, Altos will up their numbers to 18 for this one-off event. For Ravel, the group’s moody, nervy music was a perfect fit for Earth’s bleak portrayal of Ukrainian farmers struggling under the rule of Stalin. “It’s pretty incredible, how well everything clicked,” Ravel explains. “I wanted to do something with Altos. I wanted to do something with Milwaukee Film. But I had no idea they’d pick the absolute perfect film for the musicians. I watched Earth for the first time while simultaneously listening to Altos debut album, and that sounded so well together, I knew an original score would sound epic.”
The performance is scheduled to take place Friday, October 4, at 7 p.m. in the main house of the Landmark Oriental Theatre. Tickets go on sale July 15 through the Alverno Presents box office, and are $20 for the general public and $17 for Milwaukee Film members. Tickets will also be available through the Milwaukee Film box office beginning September 11 for members, and September 12 for the general public. Festival passes—which guarantee admission to the event—can be purchased now.