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'Sound of My Voice' searches for converts by posting first film chapter online

In this age of fragmented audiences, why not adhere to the ageless show business adage of leaving them wanted more? Fox Searchlight has done just that, by postingthe first tantalizing 12 minutes of its bold new drama, Sound of My Voice, online.

Brit Marling stars as a cult leader in the new drama Sound of My Voice. The first 12 minutes of the feature were recently posted online to engage audiences prior to its April 27 release.
Fox Searchlight Pictures

Audiences seeking the shock of the new need only look to actor-screenwriter Brit Marling, the indie "It Girl" (and Vanity Fair's Hollywood issue cover subject) who has emerged as a talent to watch. The young star and filmmaker scored serious industry attention with a one-two punch at Sundance in 2011. Fox Searchlight won the battle to sire her first two screen efforts as star/writer/producer to mainstream audiences. Her debut film, Another Earth (co-written and directed by Mike Cahill) earned justified acclaim with its genre mash-up narrative of second chances and an alternate Earth. With Sound of My Voice, Marling (along with co-writer and director Zal Batmanglij) has crafted a premise that is no less intriguing or brain tickling.

"You're presented with a puzzle and then you're sort of like slowly trying to get to the center of it or crack this mystery," Marling said about Sound of My Voice. "I think Zal and I both like to write in a way in which you really trust the intelligence and natural curiosity of your audience. And you don’t answer a lot of things up front. You’re throwing all these sort of cryptic things that give the viewer all kinds of feeling, but not necessarily a concrete answer as to what’s happening and you let them put it together. Those are the kind of films that we like to watch."

The DIY spirit that inspired the creation of Sound of My Voice and Another Earth is essential to the stories Marling has been inspired to tell. This time, the focus is on a young couple (Christoher Denham & Nicole Vicius), documentarians who infiltrate a cult with the goal of exposing its young, charismatic leader (Marling) as a fraud. Instead their association with the group pushes the couple into questioning their own motives and relationship.

Given that elements of mystery are at play here, opting for a tell-all trailer would only spoil the slow burning fuse that is the film in terms of what the cult leader truly represents -- or the sure to be provocative final image that is designed to make you leave the theater with plenty to talk about. Hence, offering the opening 12 minutes, or first chapter.

"What’s cool about the Sound of the My Voice is that it’s really entertaining," Batmanglij added. "You call it a popcorn movie and I think it does do that. I feel satisfied when I watch it, but it’s provocative. There are moments of pause for you to think about it. That’s why the chapter markings are so important so that you have a moment to sort of sit back and think on what you just saw."

The conversion process begins by viewing the footage at www.soundofmyvoicemovie.com.

Sound of My Voice opens in Los Angeles on April 27. Check out Fandango, MovieTickets and NCM for tickets and theater information on all Personalities movies.

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