The Cinema of the Ozarks live score event to benefit the Ukrainian relief fund

What’s old has been given a new lease of life with the orchestral rock styles of Montopolis, an Austin-based band specializing in multimedia performances that marry music with film.

On Saturday, the band presents its groundbreaking original musical score for the 1929 Ukrainian documentary “Man With a Movie Camera” along with a screening of the film at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Arkansas Public Theater in Rogers. The event benefits Ukrainian relief efforts.

Justin Sherburn leads the chamber crew in what the “Austin Chronicle” describes as a stunning hour-long score for the silent film that provides revealing historical context of the Russian invasion, celebrates the beauty and resilience of the Ukrainian people, and lays bare the costs of the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe.

“We are thrilled to welcome Justin and Montopolis to this worthy cause of raising awareness of the plight of the Ukrainian people, using the cinematic arts as a means to educate and uplift humanity,” said Jason Murphy, Executive Director of Cinema of the Ozarks.

Merchandise sales from the charity screening and live musical performances, excluding concessions, will be donated to UNICEF to support relief efforts in the area. Tickets for the screening and live musical performance are $12 plus tax and can be purchased at cinemaozk.org. Doors open at 6 p.m.

Montopolis’ performance of the score recently received a standing ovation from a sold-out crowd at the Alamo Draft House in Austin, according to the “Austin Chronicle,” for the sextet’s moving performance.

Sherburn, the Montopolis composer, is the grandson of Romanian immigrants and has a personal connection to Eastern European culture and history. Its original score incorporates indie rock, extended techniques and traditional Ukrainian folk melodies.

The Soviet regime commissioned the documentary at the request of Joseph Stalin to highlight the power of its industrial resources in the cities of kyiv, Kharkiv and Odessa.

However, Sherburn’s heartbreaking yet romantic score belies Stalin’s intent, turning the nationalist propaganda piece into a celebration of the human spirit.

The score emphasizes the humanity of the Ukrainian people rather than the industrial prowess of the Soviet Union.
Sherburn called the composition “an exercise in the power of music to undermine a film’s intent,” according to information provided by Cinema of the Ozarks.

The event is just an event planned by the Cinema of the Ozarks intended to “broaden the horizons of moviegoers and lovers of the cinematic arts in and around Northwest Arkansas,” according to Murphy.

Murphy said the role of Cinema of the Ozarks in the Northwest Arkansas community is to curate and present a wide range of programming that features exciting new Hollywood releases, as well as independent studio films, documentaries, repertoire series and foreign films that people here have rarely, if ever, had the opportunity to see on the big screen.

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