Tuesday night, Benny Horowitz (drummer for New Jersey band The Gaslight Anthem) and director Kevin Slack presented their short film "Every Word Handwritten" to a select group of fans and friends at the Anthology Film Archives on the Lower East Side. The short film expands on the storyline of the Gaslight Anthem's video for their song "Handwritten", released last Summer, which follows the journey of a single vinyl record through the hands of different owners over time.
The video is edited down to fit the length of the song, which appears on the band's album of the same name. However the film allows you to sit with each character a bit more to get a sense of the time the album represented to them. From the teenage boy, who received the record as a gift from his high school sweetheart before leaving for the military; to his Father, who finds the record a painful reminder of the son he's now lost (presumably to a war); to the neighbor who inherits the album as an innocent youth but later has to sell it for cash when he's down on his luck as an adult, the vinyl finally ends up in the hands of the man who recorded it in the first place.
Horowitz and Slack held a Q&A session after the screening. They mentioned that they have submitted the project to festivals and that they have plans to work on a more involved feature film as a team in the future. The group has previously worked together, when Slack directed the music videos for The Gaslight Anthem's singles "Bring It On", "Old White Lincoln", "Here Comes My Man" and of course, "Handwritten."
Lending a hand to "Every Word Handwritten" was The Gaslight Anthem's guitarist Alex Rosamilia, who scored the film and also took part in the Q&A. Influenced heavily by Trent Reznor's work in "Social Network", Rosamilia's soundtrack rises and falls with the emotions of each character, effectively taking the place of words in the dialogue-light movie.
Also during the Q&A, Horowitz told of his own personal story relating to the film, about his experience owning records that once belonged to a local acquaintance in his younger years. The previous owner unfortunately had to be sent off to jail, and as a result of the Mother selling off his things, Horowitz had found himself in possession of the collection. Even though they were just random records to an outsider, there was a backstory that came with the items which Horowitz appreciated.
"Every Word Handwritten", and stories like Horowitz's, demonstrates that a simple object containing a simple piece of music actually isn't so simple. An album can mean something different to everyone; a symbol of love, of pain, of innocence, of hardship or ideally, good times.
Click here to watch the film via Rolling Stone's website.
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