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Montopolis' "Man with a Movie Camera"

Justin Sherburn discusses his original score to the silent film Man with a Movie Camera

Ahead of a performance at the Garland Theater next weekend, Justin Sherburn, artistic director of the indie chamber music group Montopolis, spoke with E.J. Iannelli by phone about his live score to the 1929 silent film Man with a Movie Camera.

Originally commissioned as a Soviet-era propaganda film, Man with a Movie Camera made use of advanced editing techniques and has since become regarded as a standout of early moviemaking. Directed by Dziga Vertov, filmed by his brother Mikhail Kaufman and edited by Vertov's wife Yelizaveta Svilova, Man with a Movie Camera was in many ways a celebration of the Ukrainian people.

As Sherburn explains in the interview, his original score is in a deliberately "anachronistic" style relative to the movie. It combines elements of indie rock, classical music and electronic effects.

Accompanied by a stripped-down touring version of Montopolis, Sherburn will be performing his score live in conjunction with a screening of Man with a Movie Camera at the Garland Theater on Sunday, April 30. A portion of the proceeds from the event will be donated to the relief organization Bird of Light Ukraine.

More information about Montopolis, including streaming audio, is available at their website. Tickets and more information about the live score and screening are available at the Garland Theater's website.

Of note, NPR's All Things Considered previously featured Sherburn and his pandemic-inspired project Texas Workforce Commission Hold Music in a piece called "Lovely Songs from the Big Hold, Inspired By Bureaucracy."

E.J. Iannelli is Spokane Public Radio's Arts and Music Director
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