The Rendezvous

by Austin Wintory

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about

A rather in-depth collection of thoughts from THE RENDEZVOUS's director, Amin Matalqa:

Being a filmmaker second, and a film music nerd first, every time I finally get the green light to direct a new film, I get excited about the musical opportunity it will present to accompany the visual journey. For me, the score is as important as the image. It’s our strongest guide for the viewer’s emotional experience. The Rendezvous is my fourth collaboration with composer Austin Wintory. We first worked together ten years ago on my thesis film, Morning Latte, when I was at AFI and Austin was at USC. Less than a year later, the scoring session for our first feature together, Captain Abu Raed, became one of the most special memories of my life. We recorded at Warner Brothers with the Hollywood Studio Symphony Orchestra for that little Jordanian film that took us to Sundance and travelled the world. Austin’s beautiful lush score was a testament to his musical ambition and fuel to get me to hurry up and make my next film so we could do it all over again. For our third collaboration, Strangely In Love, a micro-budget LA-set romantic comedy with the old fashioned whimsy of Charlie Chaplin, we had a smaller assemble, but a very rich melodic score featuring chromatic harmonica and a collection of soloists backed by a string section. The music alone felt like reason enough to have made that little personal film.

The Rendezvous, a desert chase romantic adventure starring Stana Katic (Castle) and Raza Jaffrey about a Jewish doctor and an Arab American bureaucrat chasing an ancient scroll across the Middle East was done on a modest $3.5 million indie budget, but Austin went all out by hiring The Colorado Symphony Orchestra to perform his powerhouse action score that elevated our production value to match the exotic settings of Wadi Rum (the desert where they filmed Lawrence of Arabia) and Petra (where Indiana Jones found the Holy Grail). Austin’s score heightened the stakes and the danger, jazzed up the playfulness between the two leads, and infused the journey with romantic undertones and a sense of fun adventure. For example, a simple SUV chase in the desert was scored like a horse race where you can hear the orchestra trotting. You can imagine how giddy I felt as I sat on the scoring stage, an audience of one, watching Austin conduct 72 players blasting their lungs into the brass and wearing their arms out on the strings. This is why I make movies! To have Austin get them scored.

There are three central themes to the score:
1) The desert adventure theme, which is a long exotic melody that sets up the Hitchcockian tone of the film (my pitch to the producers was to make it feel like North By Northwest in the Middle East). This theme plays out in the main title suite, then is presented in sprinkles of jazzy piano throughout the playful cat and mouse investigation, but then takes an unapologetic old fashioned romantic form as Rachel and Jake ride their camels across the desert. The score for that montage was so beautiful and sweeping that I made the sound mixer turn off volume on everything but the music.

2) The mysterious scroll/Armageddonites theme is first heard in the film’s opening prologue, then returns anytime someone references the ancient Dead Sea Scroll that drives our story as it calls for the Armageddon. Playing the combo of cello (Tina Guo) and Saxophone (Ian Roller) doubled on top of each other gives an instant creepiness to the sound, like wisps of wind carrying the devils whispers across the desert sands. Anytime you hear that theme, you can feel evil crawling up your spine.

3) David’s theme. This innocent childhood theme only plays a couple of times in the film, but it hits Rachel’s emotional center, the loss of her brother, who gave his life to save the scroll and protect it from the evil cult.

Last but not least, I must share one very personal story to convey how much this score means to me. I lost my wife, Claire Naber, to cancer on the last day of this film’s production. Six years prior, I had written a melody for Claire in the lead up to our wedding, and Austin had arranged and recorded it with a quartet, to which Claire walked up the aisle. I called it Claire de Claire, and it was something from the heart that I felt captured Claire’s innocence and whimsical joyous outlook on the world. As I finished editing and post on The Rendezvous, I dedicated the film to Claire. At the end of the recording session in Colorado, there was one piece of music left that I hadn’t heard in Austin’s mock-ups. He wanted to save the best for last. The end credits suite begins as a recap to the film, but then the orchestra comes to a silent pause, and then the Claire de Claire begins playing on solo cello then oboe, then the full orchestra takes over, celebrating the joyful spirit of Claire. Tears flooded from my eyes the moment I was struck by the wall of emotion. It was, once again, Austin doing his magic to lift me up with his music. For us, these indie films somehow became very personal stamps on where we were in our lives. Hopefully, this is only just the beginning of a long journey ahead.

credits

released November 1, 2017

Dedicated to Claire Naber Matalqa

Music composed, conducted and produced by Austin Wintory
Performed by the Colorado Symphony Orchestra

Featuring:
Cello: Tina Guo
Guitar: Scott Tennant
Tenor Saxophone: Ian Roller

Orchestrations: Susie Seiter and Austin Wintory
MIDI Transcription: M.R. Miller
Copyist: Steven Juliani Music

Recorded and mixed by Steve Kempster
Second Engineer: Mike Pappas
Assistant Engineer: Julian Pichette
Digital Recordist and music editor: Kevin Globerman
Mix assistant: Jeff Gartenbaum
Soundtrack album mastered by Steve Kempster

COLORADO SYMPHONY
Chief Artistic Officer: Anthony Pierce
Manager of Artistic Operations: Kyle Kamrath
Personnel Manager: Larry Brezicka
Librarian: Joanne Goble
Assistant Librarian: J.J. Groszew

Soundtrack album cover by Angela Bermúdez

Special Thanks: Amin Matalqa, Tricia Gibbs, Amanda Rohlke, Steve Kempster, Kevin Globerman, Sarah Kovacs and the gang at KEM and my family. Forever in memory of the truly one-of-a-kind, Claire.

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Austin Wintory Los Angeles, California

25% (or more) of the income here is used to support the non-profit Education Through Music - Los Angeles (www.etmla.org).

Thank you for helping me support this extremely important organization!

Thank you so much for checking out my music. I love exploring ALL kinds of genres so hopefully you'll find something you like.
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