When composer Kathryn Bostic read the script for “Clemency” she was struck by how “visceral” and “riveting” it was. It hit upon “that raw emotion that you feel when you deal with the idea of death row.” But more than anything she “was really moved by the inner journey of the character of the warden,” who day after day is “dealing with this rite of passage.” Watch our exclusive video interview with Bostic above.
Alfre Woodard stars in the Neon release as Bernadine Williams, a prison warden grappling with the impending execution of inmate Anthony Woods (Aldis Hodge). The film, written and directed by Chinonye Chukwu, explores how administering death sentences affects people like Bernadine, something Bostic wanted to express in her music.
Trying to find the correct sound was “a very thoughtful process,” Bostic explains. “We tried a lot of different approaches sonically to capture the emotional quality of Bernadine because she’s so compartmentalized. Everything has to be in place so she can deal with the ordeal of her day-to-day existence in this prison system.” So she had to make sure the music “reflected that inner groundswell” happening inside her, something she’s trying to keep “contained” but keeps growing.
Bostic earned Black Reel Award nominations for scoring Ava DuVernay‘s “Middle of Nowhere” (2012) and Justin Simien‘s “Dear White People” (2014). Her music can also be heard this year in the documentary “Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am,” for which she received a Hollywood Music in Media Award bid.
She could receive her first Oscar nomination this year for “Clemency,” which started off the year by winning the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance. It competes at the Independent Spirit Awards for Best Feature, Best Actress (Woodard) and Best Screenplay (Chukwu), and at the Gotham Awards it was up for Best Actress and Best Actor (Hodge).
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