Written and directed by Albert Birney and Kentucker Audley, Sundance favorite Strawberry Mansion is a new sci-fi adventure that takes place in a dystopian world where the government records and taxes dreams. Set in the year 2035, the surreal fantasy follows dream auditor James Preble (played by Audley) who is assigned to audit the dreams of Bella (Grace Glowicki), an aging eccentric who circumvents the surveillance state’s invasive product placement with VHS tapes and homemade headgear. As Preble works his way through Bella’s archive of the unconscious, he begins to fall in love with visions of her younger self, all while falling deeper into the dream world of her creation.
Adding to the film’s dazzling visuals is an ethereal, synth-laden score born from the mind of electronic musician and composer Dan Deacon. Working closely with the filmmakers from the film’s inception, Deacon began composing themes after reading an early version of the script, adapting and building out the soundscape alongside filmmakers as the project progressed. The result is a score that carries viewers through the film’s dreamlike pacing; bright synths heighten moments of absurdity and adventure with wondrous exuberance, while delicate strings and ambient textures underscore the more sobering themes at the heart of the narrative.
Of working with Dan, director Albert Birney adds “The 25 songs Dan composed really transformed the film. After editing a film for months on-end, after a while, it’s tough to see it anymore. You become convinced nothing is working and the movie is horrible. Then someone like Dan sends you a new track, you put it on the timeline, and just like magic, you can see the movie again, and you see new things you had never noticed before! That’s the power of music. It can transform the world (or movie) right in front of your eyes.” To celebrate the film & soundtrack release, Birney & Audley also recorded a music video starring the maestro himself performing album opener “Strawberry Mansion Theme” amidst the film’s colorful cast of characters – check it out below!