Ben Gibbard, Ad-Rock, Flying Lotus Score Sundance Films

Every year we get a handful of popular musicians taking on film scores. Last year we heard Mike Patton with The Place Beyond The Pines, Arcade Fire with Her, M83 with Oblivion, Oneohtrix Point Never with The Bling Ring, and Skrillex with Spring Breakers. So it’s no surprise that a bunch of films premiering at this year’s Sundance Film Festival come with some pretty big musicians attached. Let’s break them down.

Flying Lotus – Imperial Dreams
Not too much is known about this one. It’s the first feature by writer and director Malik Vitthal and concerns the story of an ex-con dealing with coming back to his old neighborhood. The real draw here (besides the musical one) is the fact that the ex-con is played by John Boyega. He starred in the 2011 already-cult-classic Attack The Block as a leader of a teen gang that has to save their neighborhood from an alien invasion. Imperial Dreams is produced by the director of last year’s acclaimed documentary, Call Me Kuchu, which told the story of the first openly gay man in Uganda and his activist campaign to stop a bill that makes homosexuality punishable by death.

Ben Gibbard – Laggies
For all the Ben Gibbard songs we’ve heard in films throughout the years we have yet to hear an actually score by him. Laggies tells the story of a woman (played by Keira Knightley) who in the midst of indecision from her boyfriend’s marriage proposal makes up a lie about a company retreat and hangs out with her 16-year-old friend (Chloë Grace Moretz). That plot might seem sort of flimsy, but it’s worth noting that this is directed by Lynn Shelton who has proven with Your Sister’s Sister and the incredible Humpday that she can take the sort of plot that seems thin on paper and create something naturalistic, funny, and moving.

Adam Horovitz – No No: A Dockumentary
One of the greatest sports stories of all time was born in June of 1970 when Dock Ellis pitched a no-hitter (or “no no”) for the Pirates. No-hitters are incredibly rare, but not really movie worthy — except for one thing: Ellis pitched this game while tripping on acid. You might know the story already if you’re one of the millions of people who’ve seen the viral video animating Ellis telling the story during a radio interview shortly before his death in 2008.

What makes the Ad-Rock-scored documentary so exciting is the fact that while it is obviously about this major event, the Jeff Radice-directed film focuses in on the life Ellis went on to lead. One where he struggled with drugs and alcohol, and left baseball deeply disillusioned, but eventually got clean and became a mentor, counselor, and coach to many baseball players, addicts, and convicts. As one friend puts it in the trailer, “The no hitter was great, but the latter days were greater.” Watch the trailer below.

Sundance comes to Park City, Utah 1/16.