District 9 is a sci-fi movie filmed in South Africa, set in the future and starring aliens, but it’s got a special connection to Vancouver — its score was written and arranged by homegrown talent.
Composer Clinton Shorter said it was a unique challenge creating music to suit a film about alien refugees (picture Predator if he were a crustacean) in an African slum.
“When you first start working on a project, the first thing I do is ask what is my palette going to be, what are the sounds I want to use?” Shorter said.
“It was quite a task to maintain an African feel but give the film the darkness and edge it required.”
Shorter — who worked closely with director Neill Blonkamp — mixed African vocals with the “aggressive and dark tones” of rhythm and percussion, and synthesizers to reflect the technology featured in the film.
“The whole point of my existence in films is to help the viewer feel and try to nurture their emotions.”
He said it’s the picture that dictates what the composer writes, but the viewer’s experience is also influenced by the score.
“It’s about furthering the story … and helping the viewer stay in tune with the picture.”