Arcade Fire’s Will Butler scoring poetic new short film ‘Home Burial’

04.24.13 4 years ago

On the same day where Zach Braff launches a Kickstarter to raise $2 million for his film project, $10,000 sounds like a modest sum. That’s the number actor/director Jeff Newburg’s set for his short film “Home Burial,” and with it comes a new score from Arcade Fire’s Will Butler.

According to Newburg, the AF multi-instrumentalist will contribute “synth, keyboard-heavy” compositions to the Indiegogo crowd-funded “Home Burial,” which is based on the Robert Frost poem of the same name.

“We both have a poetry background,” Newburg told me of working with Butler, who performs in Arcade Fire alongside his brother Win. “Both in the band collectively and Will as an individual have been doing more film world stuff… [Will’s] a huge film fan, so it’s pretty natural for him and Win to want to bring in musical elements into film. Arcade Fire’s already a pretty orchestral band. Will, with poetry, wanted to make some very personal music.”

The full text of “Home Burial” can be read here.

In the Indiegogo description, Newburg describes his initial fascination with the story from his high school and college years, leading up to his adult life today. “As a husband, and now, a father (I swear that second part came after I had written this; I”m not so morose as to write such material when I”ve just had my first child), I”m looking forward to this particular exploration of marriage, life and grief.”

Butler writes that, “The music for the short film will hopefully evoke Robert Frost–formal but conversational; embedded in the early 20th century but still relevant. Darker than you might expect. Bartok meets John Carpenter.”

(Sample a demo of Butler’s music for the film above.)

During our interview, Newburg called his friend Butler’s own work apart from his band as “very much an exploration,” as well.

“I would be surprised if suddenly there were a solo record. Mostly, it’s up to this point very much an exploration for him, I think. It’s like training. I’ve watched the influence of the stuff he does on his own on what the band’s done over the last few years.” (Arcade Fire is currently working on their fourth studio album.)

Should the film complete its funding to satisfaction, the shoot with co-director Matt Litwiller (“Telescope”) begins early this summer. Butler will arrange the music around the shoot. The funds raised through Indiegogo won’t go to the filmmakers, composer and actors; rather, to fees, insurance, period props and costumes, rentals and other logistics. They play on submitting the film to festivals.

“Short film and poetry,” Newburg laughed. “Synergistically, I couldn’t have found a more commercially viable product, right?”

You can contribute to the project on the “Home Burial” Indiegogo page.

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