Ronen Landa (THE PACT, MAD AS HELL) will release three soundtracks from recent films: ELOISE, A RISING TIDE and a 3-song EP of music from the documentary WOODSRIDER, featuring an original song co-written by Anna Bulbrook.
“WOODSRIDER is a quiet documentary and we chose to only use music very sparingly,” described Landa. “We had the challenge of making music for a film that features snowboarding but feels nothing like an ‘extreme sports’ movie. It’s about growing up, persistence and self-discovery.” Tucked in the trees of Oregon’s Mount Hood, an introspective 19-year old snowboarder named Sadie Ford operates within the poetic persona of a searching pioneer as she camps alone, anticipating a winter of adventure and self-renewal in this hybrid form documentary. Striking a youthful yet elegiac tone, WOODSRIDER is a meditative film about identity, home, and the way that human experience echoes that of the natural world.
Watch the official trailer for Woodsrider below:
“The track ‘Whiteout’ was written especially for the trailer,” Landa continued. “I asked Anna [Bulbrook] to collaborate and to distill the movie’s essence into a song. The lyrics encapsulate Sadie’s personal journey and her relationship with snowboarding, and we wanted to reflect the quiet and solitude of the film with a simple arrangement for guitar and vocals.”
Director Cambria Matlow said about Woodsrider that it “originally began as an endeavor to portray a character I resonated with strongly, and yet hadn’t ever seen onscreen with the layered complexity that my own experience as a female snowboarder deserved. Riding through tree-built cathedrals of mountain woods demands that a rider visualize her path, follow that line without flinching, and generate a new set of personal tracks in the snow. In this intimate space, she feels alone in the world, but also embraced. I wanted to see a female protagonist move through an outdoor journey, the kind where risk, self-reliance, laser focus and communion with nature all meet. Inspired by Western-set stories like INTO THE WILD and JEREMIAH JOHNSON, the idea of showing Sadie Ford’s experience as a woman in this environment felt fresh, rarely seen, and radical, much like the act of snowboarding itself feels.”
When casting the film Matlow “looked for a ‘typical’ snowboarder chick. I wanted someone young, highly proficient at snowboarding, deeply in love with the sport, and who lived on the mountain full-time. Once Sadie agreed to participate, the plan was to film alongside her, using her perspective to reflect the posturing, bravado, camaraderie, and devotion of the snowboarding culture at the height of the winter season. The film would be equally a celebration and a critique, highlighting Sadie’s inner experience and outer world. But the weather, in late February and early March of 2014, did not pan out. Instead of snow, Mount Hood atypically received over two weeks of rain. Limited by our schedule, Sadie and the crew together decided to film anyway. We were in for some surprises.”
“Far from the winter wonderland originally envisioned for the shoot, we witnessed a parade of grey, overcast skies and heard the perpetual sound of water, dripping and flowing everywhere,” she remembered. “Boisterous folks like Sadie were often quiet, the resort town’s tourists disappeared, and the mountain subsided into snowmelt and bare ground. An opportunity emerged for a level of reflection not entirely anticipated. WOODSRIDER does not attempt to romanticize nature, nor the internal journey so often taken when we stay outside for a while. Like Sadie, the mountain setting has its flaws and imperfections, its yearnings and visions of glory. Regeneration and change are inevitable. This film is about taking the time to examine ourselves and grow.”
About A Rising Tide
“Hurricane Sandy devastated Atlantic City, and in A RISING TIDE our characters have to rebuild their lives, reclaim their dreams, and learn to find strength in one another,” said Landa. In A RISING TIDE After the destruction of his family’s well-established Atlantic City restaurant during Hurricane Sandy, a young chef, Sam Rama must grow up quickly, taking the biggest risks of his life, both in business and love. “The score for A RISING TIDE is about heartache and hope. I wanted to capture the essence of the sun-kissed shoreline and the love and longing that permeate the story. The idea of representing those themes with electric guitar solos intrigued me, especially in light of New Jersey’s well-known contributions to rock music. As a guitarist it was a dream to perform this music accompanied by string orchestra.”
Watch the official trailer for A Rising Tide below:
Filmed in a real abandoned asylum, ELOISE tells the tale of four friends who break into an abandoned insane asylum in search of a death certificate, which will grant one of them a large inheritance. However, finding it soon becomes the least of their worries in a place haunted by dark memories. Ronen worked hard to reflect the reality of the horrible situation.
“The cinematic style conjured the filmmaking of classic noir thrillers, so my approach was to intertwine the jazz-inflected orchestrations of that era with more contemporary elements,” Landa explained. ”I worked closely with ELOISE director Rob Legato to create a multi-layered musical landscape that reflected the modern horrors of this actual abandoned asylum in Michigan and also the hallucinatory time-shifting that the characters experience once inside.”
Watch the official trailer for Eloise below:
The soundtracks for ELOISE and A RISING TIDE are available via iTunes and Bandcamp. The same day the 3-song soundtrack for WOODSRIDER will be released on Bandcamp.
About Ronen Landa
Composer Ronen Landa draws on a breadth of influences to create music that is inventive and daring, and, above all, music that communicates. The press has hailed his work as “an astounding auditory journey… an intricate and delightful aural treat” (Cinema Without Borders) and “Landa creates a mesmerizing spectrum of sound that immerses the listener in its aural depths” (Randall Larson BuySoundtrax.com)
Landa’s career as a classically trained composer could not have been easily predicted. Aside from a few years of piano lessons as a youngster, the bulk of his initial musical training came in the form of listening to hordes of rock and jazz albums, teaching himself to play songs on his guitar, and performing with bands in his hometown outside Washington, D.C.
Upon moving to New York City at 17, Landa was reintroduced to classical repertoire, and soon thereafter began composing for chamber ensembles and orchestras. Even as he continued to perform in popular settings, his musical interests broadened to include New York’s improvisational music scene and musical traditions from around the world.
Feature films Landa has scored include the Sundance hit horror film THE PACT, the romantic comedy CAVEMEN, the 2014 horror film AT THE DEVIL’S DOOR (Official Selection: SXSW), the romantic drama A RISING TIDE (Official Selection: Seattle International Film Festival) and psychological thriller ELOISE. Upcoming films include dark comedy YINZ and indie drama AQUARIANS. Documentaries include MAD AS HELL (Hot Docs 2014 Conscious Media Award Winner) about online news show The Young Turks, the uplifting environmental documentary BURNING IN THE SUN (PBS, Winner of the Cinema for Peace International Green Film Award), the landmark Iraqi-made documentary THE DREAMS OF SPARROWS (Official Selection: SXSW), CITY OF BORDERS (Winner of the Teddy Audience Award, Berlin International Film Festival) and PARAÌSO (NYTimes Op-Doc; Best Short Documentary at 2012 Tribeca Film Festival & the Seattle International Film Festival).
Landa contributed music to the Discovery Channel/BBC original series Life, and has had tracks featured on Fox’ House M.D., Comedy Central’s Colbert Report and History’s American Pickers among others. Alongside his film scoring career, Landa has remained active composing music for the concert hall. Most recently the Contemporary Performance Collective premiered “Triple Fortified” (2015) for chamber octet.
Currently, Landa resides in Los Angeles. He received his B.A in Music and Political Science from Columbia University, where he graduated with honors in music, and his M.A. in music composition and film scoring from New York University. He plays guitar, mandolin, oud (Arabic lute), and other stringed instruments.