Anna San Juan: Making Movie Music Magic

  We all know the power of one song in a movie. Whether it’s “As Time Goes By” from Casablanca, the Bee Gees “Staying Alive” from Saturday Night Fever, “Unchained Melody” in Ghost, Eminem’s “Lose Yourself”, or a host of others, one song can instantly recall the experience of seeing a certain film. Music Supervisor Anna San Juan has corralled the music for many films and far reaching advertising campaigns. Her work with Deviant Pictures on some of the company’s upcoming releases has once again required her to utilize her skill to obtain the ideal songs for moments that the filmmakers hope will similarly become synonymous with their productions. Part scientist and part chef but more rooted in filmmaking than anything, Ms. San Juan has become the magic ingredient of many a successful production. She relays her insight and expertise as it relates to these upcoming offerings from Deviant Films.

  Writer/director Michael Keating’s mind bending thriller Offseason premiers at the 2021 SXSW Film Festival this March. Starring such notable cast members as Richard Brake of Twentieth Century Fox’s Kingsman: The Secret Service and Melora Walters (of Oscar Winning Film Dead Poet’s Society, and Oscar Nominated Films Magnolia and Boogie Nights), the film is already peaking major interest prior to its premier. Little is known about the storyline except that it follows a woman whose journey to an island town is sparked by a mysteriously letter. One aspect of the film which Keating was adamant about was the musical complement to one of the film’s most poignant scenes. To obtain the specific song which would perfectly complement the scene and achieve this vision, Keating brought Anna San Juan aboard the team as the music supervisor. As previously noted, one specific song can achieve a moment that is historical and enduring for a film. While being guarded about the actual song prior to the film’s release, Anna relates, “The film had such a poignant scene for a thriller, with a song by an iconic 60’s rock group held very close to our director’s heart. It’s very central to the plot and definitely a movie moment to watch out for when it premieres. Countless calls and email negotiations took place, both within the team and with the label. Other options were considered, including replacements, but from the outset it really was priority #1 that there was no backing down in negotiations. Honestly it was touch and go towards the last moment. The song really was, musically-speaking, a breakthrough highlight for the film, set the tone, and also creatively very, very important it stays on for the final release.”

  Deviant Films was so overwhelmingly pleased with the outcome of Offseason that they immediately placed San Juan onto its upcoming feature film No Running. A Sci-Fi Thriller from Director Delmar Washington (known for his work on the Peabody Award Winning and Image Award Nominated Def Poetry as well as the Image Award Nominated BET Awards 2011), the film’s diverse and extraordinary cast includes -Stars Skylan Brooks (of Globe Winning TV series Empire ), Taryn Manning (SAG Award Winning Actress for her role on Orange is the New Black), Rutina Wesley (Image Award and SAG Award Nominated Actress), Bill Engvall  (American Comedy Award Winner and Grammy Nominee), and others. As the film is set in the future, Anna confirms that the music will be comprised of that which reigns supreme on today’s music charts.

  A recent inductee as a member of the prestigious Guild of Music Supervisors, Ms. San Juan will not only be contributing to the film industry with her work but will also be voting in this year’s annual GMS Awards. Inspired from a young age by a combined love for film, writing, and music, Anna professes, “The ability to make a moment with a song is something I always chase for in every project. Getting to see it air on TV, theaters, and now more popularly streaming services always gives me that boost to keep going and to keep being part of meaningful art.”

(Music Supervisor Anna San Juan)

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