In a somewhat strange movie, before the Fox panel for Prometheus and Abe Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Fox Searchlight was scheduled to present a panel for an upcoming film of theirs, Sound of My Voice. This is a film that premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, only now coming close to being released in theaters. The film is a psychological thriller that surrounds the concept of a mysterious cult-like group, led by a young woman, and discovering whether or not she is for real in her claims or leading an elaborate con. Given that this was an independent film with a different sort of premise, it felt kind of odd to put it on display in a room full of thousands of people more interested in panel’s for blockbuster films; however, at the same time, upon finding out the premise, there is a some logic as to why this film would be benefited by such a panel. Read on to find out more about this film and to see a trailer and clip from the film.
The WonderCon panel description:
Fox Searchlight – Sound of My Voice:
Producer, writer, and actress Brit Marling is a rising talent and new voice in the genre world, creating independent films about everyday people finding themselves in fantastic circumstances. In her new film, The Sound of My Voice, Peter (Christopher Denham) and Lorna (Nicole Vicius), a couple and documentary filmmaking team, infiltrate a mysterious group led by an enigmatic young woman named Maggie (Brit Marling). Intent on exposing her as a charlatan and freeing the followers from her grip, Peter and Lorna start to question their objective and each other as they unravel the secrets of Maggie’s underworld. Appearing in person: star, producer, and co- writer Brit Marling (Another Earth), and the film’s director/co-writer Zal Batmanglij.
The first thing that occurred during this panel was the decision to show the first 12 minutes of this film. This entire clip can actually be found on the film’s website, but having seen the footage, I can say that I was certainly intrigued by the premise that is established. We are thrown into a specific situation, as we follow a couple being initiated into the mysterious group, only to lead us into the introduction of Maggie, the leader. We then learn of her backstory and eventually a big twist regarding a main element to this character, before the clip ends. The most obvious comparison to make would be that Sound of My Voice looks to be a combination of two other Fox Searchlight films I enjoy – the cult thriller Martha Marcy May Marlene and the existential, sci-fi/drama Another Earth, which also starred and was co-written by Brit Marling. The film certainly has the look and spirit of an independent feature, but I was also intrigued by the amount of mythology that this film seems to be creating from a few simple aspects.
Following the footage, two members of the supposed group that we see in the film took the stage for a brief period to further try and compel audiences to go and check out the film. I have to hand it to these people for staying in character during the mixed reaction to this portion of the panel. There was some laughter coming from the crowd as the two cultish members continued their dedication to presenting the film in a fairly obscure manner, but it at least was not as awkward as the Tim Burton gag that came in the panel that followed.
Things became clearer once star/co-writer Brit Marling and the film’s director/co-writer Zal Batmanglij came onto stage and spoke more about the film, the development process, and the excitement they have in presenting a small film to such a large crowd in this manner. The inspiration for this film apparently came from a curiosity in regards to cult-like groups and developing a story from there, only to turn it into a much more involved screenplay. The film was then made by very independent standards, with the main office for the film being set in Marling’s own apartment and having a lot of the cast and crew sleep there as well. Given that the film apparently received a strong response at Sundance, I am interested in seeing how it is received upon theatrical release, given the effort to develop such an intriguing marketing campaign.
One final note, in the clip we saw, there was one particular moment that involved a very specific handshake for members of the group to perform. Fittingly, we got to witness Marling and Batmanglij perform the handshake on stage as well.
Sound of My Voice will arrive in theaters on April 27th; check out the website below to learn more:
Here are also some trailers and clips from the upcoming film: