Soundtracks of the Sundance Film Festival 2023
By Peejo Pilar
Films and music have always been strange bedfellows—an odd couple of sorts where each one manifests emotions and ideas from people. Movies sway the audience, taking them away into a fantasy world much unlike their own. While tunes, tickle the thoughts and envelope the listener in nostalgia. Hand in hand, they are a tunnel that teleports the viewer into distant lands and fantastic visions.
And now it's Sundance Film Festival 2023 season. And in an age where digital has become the new domain, film and music are still very much alive as compared to other mediums. APM Music is proud to have helped a number of creative filmmakers utilize some of APM's catalog of tracks in their work.
And with these five entries in Sundance Film Festival 2023, you can truly immerse yourself in something special as the viewer, the listener, and the audience. From comedies, documentaries, and dramas, here are 5 Sundance Film Festival 2023 movies you can enjoy.
Aliens Abducted My Parents and Now I Feel Kinda Left Out
Music used in film: Ignite and Anything Can Happen
Don't let the long title throw you off. While these eleven long words may make you think that this film, helmed by director Jake Van Wagoner, has the potential to be too goofy for you, you'd be wrong. Aliens Abducted My Parents and Now I Feel Kinda Left Out is a light-hearted coming-of-age tale that may have a familiar formula that you've seen before. But its play and perfect mixture of sci-fi and humor make this a great family-friendly movie to enjoy at Sundance Film Festival 2023. The movie stars Emma Tremblay, Jacob Buster, and Will Forte.
Two of APM's finest have some of their tracks featured in the film. You've got Adam Wakeman Presents' "Ignite," and Juice Music's "Anything Can Happen." The first track comes from the Sunset Park album. "Ignite" is a smooth synthwave tune that blends perfectly with the cool female vocal. Giving you some extremely chill 80s vibes. The second track, "Anything Can Happen," from the album Emotive Pop, has a similar synth sound. But has more of a modern pop feel, perfect for scenes that may need an inspirational or motivational push.
The Starling Girl
Music used in film: Milking the Messy Mallets and Tis So Sweet
On the deeper side of the Sundance 2023 film landscape, we have The Starling Girl by writer and director Laurel Parmet. Her film focuses on sexual empowerment, abuse, and what happens when women's desires defy societal expectations. Shot outside Louisville, Kentucky. Parmet paints a beautiful tapestry of seventeen-year-old Jem Starling's story. Her struggles within her fundamentalist Christian community. Her church dance group. And her own burgeoning awareness of her sexuality. The film stars Eliza Scanlen as Jem Starling, with Austin Abrams, K.J. Baker, and Lewis Pullman.
Helping set the mood for The Starling Girl are a couple of tracks from APM. "Milking the Messy Mallets" from Jump's Giggle Squiggles album is a fun percussive tune that has elements of electric mallets happily drumming a pleasant beat. It's fun and feels like a nursery rhyme. On the other hand, "'Tis So Sweet" is a soulful and sweet Church hymn. With a rich piano tone accompanied by a powerful female vocal, Sonoton Music gives a tune that's perfect for movies setting. You can find this song with many others in their American Sunday Morning album.
Music used in film: Angel Remix
For fans of documentaries, The Stroll is a cinematic journey that has spanned over a decade or so. Co-directors Kristen Lovell and Zackary Drucker covered the definitive history of New York City's Meatpacking District through the eyes of the transgender women of color who created its saga. What was once a world of transgender sex workers is now a gentrified and corporate terrain. The concrete and plaster painted over the hardships, violence, and survival that trans women endured. It's a sad story but full of truth and inspiration.
An iconic documentary deserves an equally iconic soundtrack. One tune used in the film from APM was "Angel Remix." A daring disco beat with a vibrant and energetic retro tone. It is taken from KPM Main Series' Vintage Disco album. If you're looking for retro disco grooves, Studio 54 vibes, or just a great way to inspire a 70s dance scene, this is the series for you. There's a ton of catchy and hypnotic tunes and some romantic stings.
Music used in film: Larking About and Horsey Horsey
It's summer, and a scrappy theater camp in upstate New York must fight for its survival as its founder Joan (Amy Sedaris), falls into a coma. It's up to her clueless "crypto-bro" son Troy (Jimmy Tatro), Amos (Ben Platt), Rebecca-Diane (Molly Gordon), and their band of eccentric teachers to put up the performance of their lives, or else it's curtains. Molly Gordon and Nick Lieberman co-write and co-direct this improvised movie. What is unique about this Sundance 2023 film entry is the symbiotic relationship that Gordon and Lieberman have with their actors. The chance to work themselves into the characters and the freedom to improvise is a formula for a wild ride and a fun film.
The wild and fun tone can be seen in the music choices of Theater Camp. Soho's "Larking About" is a frivolous and fun-loving Charleston beat filled with a cheerful guitar and jazz violin. You can find this song from Soho's Snazzy Gypsy Jazz album. While not as quirky or energetic as the first song, "Horsey Horsey" by Juice Music (album titled Nursery Rhymes) does have a playful nature to its tune. It's a children's classic and is sure to delight wholesome families.
A Thousand and One
Music used in film: New Love and Higher Than The Sun
Writer and director A.V. Rockwell shares a brilliant story of a mother and son struggling from shelter to shelter in mid-1990s New York City. The movie stars Teyana Taylor, Aaron Kingsley Adetola, Aven Courtney, Josiah Cross, William Catlett, and Terri Abney. Taylor gives a career-defining performance as a mother who sacrifices everything to secure a future for her child. A Thousand And One is a powerful film entry of Sundance 2023 and an inspiring story about family ties that is tested throughout the years.
The production used two soulful songs within the film. Soho's "New Love" from the Pop Retro Soul RnB album and KPM Main Series' "Higher Than The Sun" from the Pop! Planet album. The latter tune digs deep into pop music territory. It has that smooth flow that you can find in summer songs, while the former track has a more groove party vibe. A cool tune with a relaxed and romantic 70s soul.