Strange Truth Film Series Screens “Candyman”

The Hurford Center-sponsored event at the Bryn Mawr Film Institute featured an appearance by the film’s composer, Robert Aiki Aubery Lowe.

In one of its last pieces of programming for the year, the Strange Truth film series hosted a screening of Candyman, a 2021 film by Nia DaCosta, at the Bryn Mawr Film Institute. The film series, launched in 2015, is sponsored by the Hurford Center for the Arts and Humanities and was founded by faculty Vicky Funari and John Muse.

“The series regularly brings other faculty and students into the mix to help curate collections of films that build on, play with, and sometimes resist the documentary genre,” explained James Weissinger, associate director of the Hurford Center, who noted that Visiting Assistant Professor of Visual Studies and Digital Media Fellow Matt O’Hare helped curate two of this year’s screenings, including Candyman.

Candyman is a supernatural horror film in which the souls of wrongly-murdered, innocent black men, all nicknamed “the Candyman” exact vengeance upon any who summon them. The film later reveals that all the Candymen have been victims of racism over hundreds of years. The characters in the film seek to uncover the Candymen’s motivations, while trying to end the cycle of violence for good.

“Part of the fun of Strange Truth is that the filmmakers themselves often come to present their work, as well as visit classes, participate in critiques, and more informally interact with students and the campus community,” Weissinger said. But this was the first time a film’s composer came and presented their film.”

At the March 29th event, Robert Aiki Aubery Lowe, the composer for Candyman, gave a fascinating look into the production process for the film’s score, which included visiting the set, taking field recordings, and recording the voices of the film’s actors. A renowned maker of modular synthesizer music, Lowe processed those voices and field recordings until they became background textures for the film.

Lowe’s expertise in modular synthetic music aligns with additional ongoing VCAM programming, said Weissinger.

“This year, Matt O’Hare launched the Studio for Electronic Art (S.E.A.) in VCAM, a collection of modular synthesizer equipment for curricular and extracurricular experiments in sound and music-making. As part of the S.E.A., we’ve been bringing visiting artists to campus to work with the equipment.”

“Since modular synthesis is one of Robert’s areas of focus, his visit created an interesting link between one of the Hurford Center’s oldest programs, Strange Truth ,and one of VCAM’s newest initiatives, the S.E.A.,” Weissinger continued. “We were incredibly lucky to have Robert in conversation with the Tri-Co community–[and we’re] hoping this will be the first of many collaborations.”

The Strange Truth series concluded the academic year with a viewing of Viaje a alguna parte (Journey to Somewhere) on Wednesday, April 12 at the Bryn Mawr Film Institute, followed by a conversation with writer and director Helena de Llanos.

A full sample of Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe’s music is available on his Bandcamp.