Anna San Juan, the music supervisor on the award-winning film "Martian American," joins the production of Issac Caad's film "City Limits"
Online PR News – 16-May-2016 – Los Angeles, CA – Music supervisor Anna San Juan, who is known throughout the international film industry for her work on several multi-award winning films such as Lee Citron's 2014 comedy "Martian American," Chloe Okuno's coming of age horror film "Slut" and "Young Americans" directed by Kevin Lacy, has been tapped as the music supervisor on the upcoming film "City Limits."
Directed by Issac Caad, the action packed crime drama "City Limits" will star MTV Movie Award nominee Ray Park ("Heroes"), multi-award winning actor James Duval ("Donnie Darko," "Gone in Sixty Seconds") and Golden Apple Award winner Bai Ling ("The Crow"). Weaving together themes of friendship, family and deception, "City Limits" follows one man's journey into a dangerous world in search of answers to the cause of his father's untimely death; but the closer he comes to finding out the truth, the greater the threat to his life and those around him becomes.
With production on the film set to begin later this year, San Juan has already started laying the groundwork in terms of the kind of emotional tone the music for the film will take. She explains, "[City Limits] strikes me as a gritty, urban tale. I imagine the songs will eventually fall under this umbrella. The dark undertones in the characters and plot would be nice to flesh out with some subtly sinister tracks."
San Juan has proven herself to be an unequivocal master at creating soundscapes that drive home a film's overall story on a visceral level. Beyond this, it's up to her to decide exactly where music should be inserted into a production to support the visual media within the story and where it should be left out.
Her work on "Slut," which was awarded at the Screamfest Horror Film Festival and took home the Palm d'Gore Award at the Knoxville Horror Film Fest in 2014, speaks leagues to her ability to set the tone of a film through song selection. With the film being set in the ‘80s, San Juan chose songs to reflect the era juxtaposing them with tones that added to the film's eerie nature.
San Juan's work on the film "Martian American," which revolved around a Martian visiting Los Angeles as an inter-planetary tourist, put her talent for creating the perfect playlists for productions with vastly different themes on display once again. Her selection of source music created the necessary balance of sci-fi and light comedy within the film, and "Martian American" went on to earn international praise winning the Best Comedy Award at the 36th College Television Awards and the Jury Prize at the Las Vegas International Film Festival.
While her repertoire of work has come to include projects that extend across virtually every genre, "City Limits" will be a relatively new adventure for her. She admits, "Tone-wise it's something I haven't been involved with prior, and it's always exciting to explore new landscapes."
With an impressive track record already under her belt it's not surprising that San Juan has also been tapped as the music supervisor for "An Angel's Story" and "The Chase and Pursuit," two films that will shoot this year as well.
"An Angel's Story" and "The Chase and Pursuit" writer and producer Joshua Hall explains, "Anna is a great resource for the music industry. She was able to reach out to publishers, make contact with them and assist me with artists. She helps me organize new music breakdowns and work with music with scripts. She has done a fantastic job for me."
Whether it's by attending shows or sifting through a music publisher's library of music, San Juan goes to great lengths to seek out the kind of music that will combine with a film's visual media in a way that elicits an emotional feeling within the viewing audience. Aside from the creative responsibilities, one of the most challenging aspects of any music supervisor's job is the fact that their department is often given less than five percent of a project's budget, meaning that San Juan has to go above and beyond when it comes to negotiating the rights to include the desired music in a project. And when that doesn't work, she uses creative problem solving to find alternatives that will both fit the story and make everyone involved happy.
"Satisfying project needs isn't always straightforward... a limited budget usually leads to more creative avenues of acquiring songs that will work for the scene," explains San Juan. "This means extra research, extra talks. extra meetings. So finding alternatives isn't inherently a roadblock to the creative process. In fact, it's always a welcome challenge and discovering new artists is a plus."
Thanks to her ability to think outside of the box and intuitively gauge what music and soundscapes are needed, San Juan has propelled herself to the top of the film industry in a relatively short amount of time. One of her greatest strengths is her gift for prespotting what scenes in a film will need music and knowing what tracks to pick to keep the story unfolding organically.
As the music supervisor on the highly anticipated film "Actors Anonymous," which is currently in post-production and stars Oscar nominee James Franco, San Juan's talent for pre-spotting scenes and delivering tracks that embodied the desired vibe were a major asset.
She recalls, "Shortly after our first meeting, I presented a playlist to our producers Chris Abernathy and Tim Astor. It was the vibe I had envisioned from reading the script, and pre-spotting scenes that may potentially need songs. Two of the songs ended up on the final cut, one during a main montage sequence. I also selected the track for the other main montage."