This month also saw duotoner Aaron Mirman’s debut feature film score premier at the Hamptons International Film Festival. The Discoverers, an indie comedy/drama by first-time writer/director Justin Schwartz, follows a washed up history professor (Griffin Dunne) and his disjointed, dysfunctional family, as they are brought together after their matriarch’s death and they (under duress) join a group of historical reenactors to recreate the journey of Lewis and Clark’s discovery expedition. The film also stars Cara Buono (Mad Men), Madeleine Martin (Californiacation), Stuart Margolin , David Rascher and John C. McGinley.
After its premier, the film saw an initial round of praise from critics in many corners. The festival board named it one of 12 films not to miss, and it received favorable reviews from The Hollywood Reporter and Variety, which called Griffin Dunne’s performance “pitch perfect”. Noted film critic Leonard Maltin tweets, “Just saw @TheDiscoverers, a bright, thoughtful indie comedy-drama. It’s great to see Griffin Dunne back onscreen in a tailor-made role”. And Movable Fest writes, “Schwarz [gives] the film a buoyancy from the top down in Aaron Mirman’s score, the naturalistic beauty of Christopher Blauvelt’s cinematography, and the bounciness between a top-notch cast”.
The score itself had to have a strong “discovery” element as well–it couldn’t feel over-composed, and it had to retain a strong organic element, yet it had to perform all the vital functions of score. In addition to more familiar sounds of guitar, cello, and piano, the score makes use of a range of eclectic instruments such as dulcimer, banjo, autoharp, harmonium, strummed cello, and more.