In April 2009, film directors José Luis Figueroa and Sebastían Diaz asked singer-bassist Phil Beaumont of Little White Teeth to compose a score for Tijuaneados Anonymous: A Teardrop, A Smile. The documentary profiles a group of Tijuana residents meeting once a week to share experiences and challenges of living in the border city.
Shortly after the film’s release, Beaumont, drummer Yuko Sugiyama, violinist Matt Resovich, and guitarist Dmitri Dziensuwski played at the 2009 Morelia Film Festival in Michoacán, Mexico, and last year, they played the live score during a screening at the Ambulante Film Festival in Tijuana.
“The performance was very successful,” writes Diaz, the film’s codirector and a member of visual arts collective Galatea Productions, in a March 7 email. “The Tijuana audience really enjoyed it, so we proposed the same for this year’s San Diego Latino Film Festival.”
The band agreed, and on March 20, Little White Teeth, along with cello-player Kate MacWilliamson (Kill Me Tomorrow, Tender Buttons), will perform the score live during a screening at 3:30 p.m. at Hazard Center in Mission Valley.
Performing the movie’s soundtrack to an audience does present some challenges, says Beaumont. “We had to set up a computer with a time code to let us know when to start and what scene is coming up next.”
Diaz and Figueroa have more plans for Little White Teeth. In January, the band wrote three songs for the soundtrack of Galatea’s newest documentary, Tierra Brillante (Brilliant Soil), a film chronicling the dangers of lead poisoning in traditional Mexican pottery and one woman’s attempt at changing the tradition.
“[Beaumont’s] music evokes those feelings that we are looking for,” writes Diaz. “We like how [the band] is able to capture the emotions of the characters and transform it to music.”