A few years ago, film composer Adrian Ellis was tasked with creating a score to the most violent and bizarre film of his career, a sci-fi horror called Timebox (Watch it here!). Immediately, Ellis knew that the standard tricks of the trade wouldn’t be enough to musically match the tone of this project, and so he set out to do something a little bizarre himself. Using unconventional instruments like fishing wire, saws, and scraps of metal, Ellis set to work experimenting in his studio, trying to capture the sounds of madness and turn it into a film score.
Ellis wasn’t alone on this journey however. Edmonton-born filmmaker and friend Tate Young, one of the writers and producers of Timebox, heard what Ellis was attempting, and knew he had to capture the journey on film. “Adrian’s music has always jumped out at me as being really special,” says Young. “He’s hard to pin down since he’s got such a huge range, but no matter what kind of sound he’s making, I always connect with it.”
Neither Ellis nor Young knew what results this musical experiment would yield, so the duo started their journey with no expectations, allowing themselves to just submit to the creative process, each in their own way. “Originally, I don’t think either of us thought this was going to be an hour-long doc,” Young says. “But once Adrian got into the process, I knew we really had something to work with. What developed was this story of craft, and a dedication to craft. Adrian’s mission and determination became something I really wanted to explore.”
The film grew quickly from that initial discovery. Young knew that not only was it going to be a bigger project than he thought, but also a lot more work. “Timebox was a very experimental film, and Adrian’s score matched that experimental tone. So I think it’s appropriate that Music of Madness emerged from that same spirit of just going in with no expectations and seeing what works. In the end, I’m really proud of what we captured, and I’m excited to see how audiences respond to it.”
The Music of Madness premiers at the Edmonton International Film Festival this Saturday at 2 p.m. Make sure to stick around afterwards to join Composer Adrian Ellis and Director Tate Young for a special Q&A. Get your tickets now.