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Interview with Ronen Landa, composer of Paraiso, at HIFF32

Interview with Ronen Landa, composer of Paraiso, at HIFF32


– [Interviewer] Ronen Landa
composer of Paraiso is here with us at the Hawaii
international film festival as part of the new American
filmmakers program. Thank you for joining us, – Thank you for having me. Pleasure to be here. – Uh we’d like to start
out by asking when your family immigrated to the United States. – So my parent’s came to the
United States from Israel in 1968 um they came here
originally thinking they were going to be here for a short time. Um, but they stayed and
raised a family here. Um my oldest brother was
born in Israel so they moved here with him and he was
only two at the time. And uh yeah so now I
guess it’s over 40 years. – [Interviewer] Do you find
that your Israeli heritage of being a first generation
immigrant influences your work as a composer. – Constantly, constantly. Uh having a international
heritage exposes you to all kinds of cultures and all
kinds of ideas that you wouldn’t necessarily see
in your day to day life otherwise and that I think
gives someone a unique perspective as an artist
and the ability to transform the world around them
through their medium. – [Interviewer] So tell
us about your high school rock n roll band. Um I was there were a couple
that I was in a band called Dan, Dave and the other guy. So you can see I held a
lot of cloud in that one. Um but you know I played
with a bunch of bands in high school and in college,
and was constantly playing music with friends, and that’s
really where I got my start as someone who loved making
music and loved kind of finding a way to bring
music to other people. – [Interviewer] So that was
a natural process to getting into composing and scoring for films? – I think what happened to
me, I can actually remember it quite clearly that
there was a moment for my listening to music that
was very spiritual, very intense, and when I was a
teenager, and I always think back to that moment because
really at that point I decided that something I wanted to
do was bring that kind of moment to somebody else, and
I really wanted to understand how music worked. I really wanted to understand
why I felt that way, and from then on I started
learning about music trying to get the nuts and bolts and
that was, there was a natural progression into learning
jazz, and then classical music, then learning about music
from all over the world, various kinds of folk, and ethnic musics. Um that have kind of informed
my process and eventually that led me to film scoring
in particular because film is one place where I
can really make use of all these different styles,
and all these genres that I’ve learned and kind of
bring them together in an interesting way. – [Interviewer] And you’re
the composer and you’ve played various instruments for Paraiso’s score. – Yes. – [Interviewer] Can you
tell us a little bit about scoring the film and also
can you share what Paraiso is about? – Paraiso is a film about
three Mexican immigrants who are living in Chicago
and they wash windows for a living, um that’s the story
in a nutshell but I think when you see the film you
understand that it really kind of serves a lot of
metaphorical and allegorical purposes. It’s a really spiritual film
where their daily lives, and their daily struggles
are juxtaposed with these very visceral images of them
living literally on the edge of these buildings and uh
what’s deep in their hearts, and deep in their souls. I was brought on by the
director Nadav Kurtz who’s an incredibly talented film maker. Uh and we worked together
to find a sound that would compliment the images
without overpowering them. That would bring just a little
bit of emotion but it was a challenge because even though
it wasn’t you know scoring for a big bombastic or
(mumbles) piece or something like that uh in being subtle
there had to be so much restraint there to let the
images speak um and it was a wonderful collaboration and I
got to play a lot of different instruments on the score. I think I played guitars,
and churrango which was a South American instrument,
um, I played a little bit of Cello on the score, um
as well as some roads piano, all kinds of sounds went
in there so we had a lot of fun exploring and finding
the right pallet for this piece. – [Interviewer] That’s
amazing and the piece has been well received here at HIF. Can you tell us where it’s going next? – Well uh hope, fingers
crossed next stop is the academy awards. We’ll see we just found out
that we were short listed for the academy awards. I think eight short documentary
films were short listed and four will get
nominated so we’re hoping. The film has done really
well on the festival circuit. I think it premiered at True
False film festival and when we screened at Tribeca film
festival which is of course a very well recognized
festival uh we actually won best short documentary there. So it’s been really well
received and we hope that that run continues. – [Interviewer] We hope so too. And finally who influences
your music, either musicians or otherwise? – Wow, um, it’s a tough question. It’s a great question but
it’s such a hard question because I feel like I’m
influenced with every friendship I have, every relationship
I have, everything like the images that are in
front of me at the moment, everything that I’ve heard
in the past they all kind of come in and come out in
some kind of unique way. Um, I’ve always been influenced
by artists of all kinds. Um and you know relevant
to your organization also scientist honestly. Um who are innovators, people
who push, people who try and look at the norms and say
how can we go beyond this. You know in music that
might have been someone like Beethoven, it might have been
someone like Jimmi Hendrix. In film music I can certainly
think of Ennnio Morricone as a composer who’s always
pushing uh, John Zorn pushes in both concert
music and film music. Um, but you know you look
at, you look at all the arts, you look artists like uh
you know Jackson Pollock, I don’t know, you know all
these wonderful artists who said we can go beyond the limit. We can look beyond beyond
where people have gone before and try and take it one step further. Um, that is the spirit
that I think informs my art and informs my music so I try
and always keep that with me.

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