To enter the edit room in such a tragic situation, you can just hope to honor the work Nick had left behind. He had made some truly unconventional, bold choices in the edit of the film, and everything was about paying service to that - strengthening those choices and keeping them intact. When you're the second set of eyes on something, there is the understandable urge to "fix." So the fact that Nick left behind a movie that didn't really need fixing made for a unique experience. It was a gift of an inheritance.
From the first time I saw a cut of the movie, I was profoundly shaken by the experiences told by the survivors. As unnerving as it can be to swim in waters so beyond your own comprehension, it feels equally moving to witness heroism that is so far removed from your own purview.
Writing the score for THE UNCONDEMNED was a true labor of love for me. Nick Louvel and I first started to brainstorm thematic ideas for the film in the spring of 2015. From early on, it was clear that the film would have quite an extensive musical score. It was Nick and Michele’s vision that the documentary should “feel” like a large-scale feature film. In approaching the score, there were many considerations for how the music should be structured. In the first place, we wanted there to be a feeling of the inherent tension and drama for the intellectual detective story taking place within the film. In addition, I felt it was key that we utilize the human voice as an important element within the musical fabric. The result was a score that combined many electronic, percussion, strings, and piano textures with layers of vocal themes. For the vocal recordings, David Hughey’s amazing voice became the main element; his layers of vocal ‘humming”’provide a feeling of humanity and power but also of fragility and prayer. For the larger musical structures, I created a variety of key themes for the many different elements and characters of the story. Our hope was that the music itself might act as a character in the film, providing a constant counterpoint to the story we are witnessing unfold.