‘Saint Judy’ tells the story of immigration attorney Judy Wood, and how she initiated the change in U.S. law of asylum to save women’s lives.
“‘Saint Judy’ took a bit of experimentation to get to its final sound. Initially it was a jazzier, piano-driven score with a lighter feel to it. The fear was that we would slow the story down and overburden the audience with a dark musical background. Ultimately that approach was too light and didn’t address the weight of the struggle at hand. We had to find a delicate balance so the music ended up shifting to an agitated, motor-rhythmic motif driven by strings to convey Judy’s tenacious drive and spirit. There are also hints of Afghan flavour as we see flashbacks of Asefa’s story in her village but only just enough to capture the essence of it as this story is about women’s struggle for protection in general, not just Asefa.
Sean always has fresh ideas about how to convey the emotion in his films. There is a key flashback in the film where we see Asefa being assaulted and imprisoned by the Taliban that would normally be handled with tension and dissonance and that’s how I scored it intially. Sean had me go in another direction which was to play it as a memory and so it ends up being almost a minimalistic piece. A piece that conveys a memory over time with passing dark clouds. This piece called ‘The Arrest’ is sort of a departure from the rest of the score for a reason. I think it is successful and was an idea entirely from Sean. We work well together as we are always striving to get the music to serve the scene even if it means straying from our current palette.” – James T. Sale