With her first feature film, writer/director Kate Barker-Froyland introduces to us the more intimate side of the music world, where relationships are born and people’s understanding of one another suddenly become much clearer, and seem much more beautiful.
What It’s About: A young woman develops a relationship with her comatose brother’s
favorite musician as they explore the Brooklyn music scene together.
So What It’s Really About: It’s really about connection, particularly through music, and about the
meaning of music for different people. Music has the power to connect us
and change the way we see the world in ways that we can’t always
predict. The movie is also about the struggle to become an artist and
getting to know someone just by listening to their music, especially
what that means for us in today’s world.
Tell us briefly about yourself. What’s your background? I grew up watching a lot of independent and European films and meeting
great filmmakers thanks to my dad, who happens to distribute American independent
and foreign films. In college, I studied philosophy and literature and then worked
on features like “The Devil Wears Prada” (as the director’s assistant) and
Merchant-Ivory’s The White Countess. I lived in Paris for several years
and wrote and directed some short films in graduate school at Columbia.
I started developing the script for “Song One” about five years ago. I
live in Brooklyn, where much of the film takes place, and I think my
personal connection to music– other than listening to it and going to
shows– comes most strongly from dance. I did ballet and modern dance
from a young age. I think dance makes you listen to music in a different
What was the biggest challenge in completing this film? The biggest challenge was that we had so many locations and not a lot of
time to shoot. We also had so many exterior nighttime scenes and shots
in the summertime– so the nights were short. We shot mostly in Brooklyn
and Lower Manhattan, but there were several scenes in the script set in
Morocco. We weren’t sure if we were going to be able to shoot in
Morocco, but I was so happy when we eventually were able to go to Rabat
with a very small crew. Once we got there, I even had the opportunity to
direct the Moroccan cast in French.
What cameras did you shoot on? We shot mostly on the Alexa and some footage on the C300 and GoPro.
What do you want your Sundance audience to take away from your film? I hope that they will take away that feeling of having been
fully immersed in a powerful music experience and will leave really
knowing and understanding the lives of these characters for a short
are very inspiring. “Don’t Look Back” by D.A. Pennebaker is a film I
discovered while I was prepping for “Song One,” and I love it. And Truffaut’s film, “Small Change”, made a huge
impression on me when I was very little and I’ve loved his films ever
It was financed in the same way that so many independent films have
been financed, and we had the good fortune of several strong producers
and backers being supportive of this project from the very beginning.
These producers and backers have been responsible for so many wonderful
independent films, and I feel really fortunate for my film to be in
What’s next for you? I have other ideas for films and TV which I’ve started to
write. But I’d also like to direct more, including commercials, TV and
film projects written by other people.
Indiewire invited Sundance Film Festival directors to tell us
about their films, including what inspired them, the challenges they
faced and what they’re doing next. We’ll be publishing their responses
leading up to the 2014 festival. For profiles, click HERE.