Month: April 2017

The Sounds of Facing Darkness

By Doug Kaufman, Composer/Sound Designer


Creating the soundtrack for FACING DARKNESS has been a huge honor … helping tell the story of the Liberian people and the amazing team that risked their lives to help them during the Ebola crisis.

The process of developing the music and sound design of the film took a few unconventional turns. Rather than following the usual process of waiting to write the score until the editing of the film was close to complete, the film’s editor, Jacob Snyder, and I decided to develop a palette of instrumental scores and vocal songs for him to choose from and build with as he edited the story.

The vision for the instrumental portions of the soundtrack was to combine traditional Liberian instrumentation with the traditional music of the Southeast U.S. where Samaritan’s Purse is headquartered. Some of the Liberian instrumentation was recorded on-site in Liberia, and the American instruments were recorded in a small country church in the mountains of North Carolina.

I’ve been friends for a long time with Tony Reece, a truly amazing dobro player. He created the signature riffs that you hear punctuated throughout the entire score. One of our producers at Samaritan’s Purse, Bryan Siceloff, is also a talented multi-instrumentalist. He introduced me to the bouzouki, a Greek instrument resembling a giant mandolin. We recorded a lot with that instrument, and also incorporated more traditional acoustic guitar sounds.

I took an acoustic bass and modified it to allow it to play like a baritone guitar. It has a raspy, sort of ominous tone, and you’ll hear it used in a lot of heavier passages of the film. I also recorded on an old upright piano, sampled a lot of abstract percussion, and played a custom-made oil can guitar modeled after the guitars played on the streets of Monrovia.

I brought all these layers back into the studio and combined them with deep electronic pulses, percussion, electric guitar, and ambient sounds to create the final soundtrack for the film.

For the vocal songs, I wanted to find organic, authentic recordings that would complement the instrumental score and reflect the character of the story. I’ve followed Dustin Kensrue’s work for a long time, and after listening to hundreds of songs, finding Oh God ended up being the perfect fit to end the film.

Dillon Hodges recorded a special version of Take These Hands for the film; my wife Laura recorded a beautiful version of It is Well; Jadon Lavik contributed Be Still My Soul; and Swing Low Sweet Chariot by Anya Rose drives a montage toward the end of the film. The hymns are a testament to God’s faithfulness with previous generations, and the newer songs help tell the story of that same faithfulness to the team in Liberia.

Courage Leads to Life

Ahead of the first showing of FACING DARKNESS, had a blog post written by Arthur Rasco of Samaritan’s Purse, the director of FACING DARKNESS. In his piece, Arthur writes about Joseph, a Liberian whose life has been dramatically changed by the Ebola epidemic.

Joseph Gbembo credits Samaritan’s Purse for saving his life and educating him about Ebola. He told me that God “didn’t make a mistake by sending Samaritan’s Purse in Liberia. It’s really for the purpose to save life.”

In crafting the documentary, Arthur saw Joseph’s incredible story as a beautiful illustration of a challenging concept.

In FACING DARKNESS, I tried to subtly weave in the premise that fear leads to death, but courage leads to life. And I think that Joseph embodies that notion well: In the face of danger, because of the education he had, Joseph could be courageous, help people and stay alive.

You can read Arthur’s full blog post here

If you saw FACING DARKNESS, you too have been inspired by Joseph—as well as the many other people you interact with during the film. If you haven’t seen the movie, you have one last chance: Monday, April 10.

Be sure to get your tickets today and get ready to be inspired by God’s work through Samaritan’s Purse!

Find Theaters for April 10

Everyone’s Talking About Facing Darkness

Between last week’s initial showing of FACING DARKNESS and next week’s encore presentation on April 10, there have been a lot of stories about the film. Here are a few you might want to read or listen to:

Check out Franklin Graham on …

And make sure to see FACING DARKNESS in its encore presentation in theaters Monday, April 10!
Get Your Tickets Here

Award-Winning Facing Darkness Inspires Moviegoers

With a special encore presentation this coming Monday, April 10, you still have the opportunity to see FACING DARKNESS on the big screen. You can find theaters and get tickets here.

Wondering what you’ll experience? Check out some of the latest thoughts of people like you who saw the film and posted their comments on Facebook.

“This documentary was amazing. A testament to the power and love of God and the ones who do his work in the name of Christ. I highly recommend this. It was very informative, showing what really went on there in West Africa with the Ebola outbreak. I saw it on March 30 when it came out, everyone who hasn’t please go and see it on April 10.” Sandra

“Great documentary! ‘Faith does not make us safe.’ Is where I am God wants me? Is God being honored? Do I allow Satan to discourage me? The movie challenged me in those areas. I have not faced what they did.” Viviian

“My husband and I went to go see this movie it is wonderful and very enlightening I highly recommend it to everyone. I would highly encourage youth leaders to bring the young people to see this also it’s a great inspiration. They could see how God could call them into a great mission field.” Minta

“Incredible!! Saw it last week! The missionaries stared death in the face. Samaritans Purse HAD to make this film. There’s no other way to explain how big God is. I’m a nurse and I don’t know how the doctors and nurses did it other than God’s strength. Everyone needs to see this film!” Barbara

“Amazing movie! Loved to see how God was there, moving in middle of the darkness. You can see His hand throughout the entire process! Thank you for showing us! Definitely eye opening to what was going on with Ebola and how the media ignored the severe danger of what these people were going through.” Kim

“Wonderful movie! It really inspired me to pray more frequently and much harder for missions and missionaries. My prayer is that God will raise up godly servants to join in the work of Samaritans Purse, and touch many hearts to support the blessed work of this outstanding organization.” Kathy

“Very, very glad I saw this movie. I thought I was paying attention during the epidemic, but oh how this movie enlightened me. We take way too many things for granted. Takeaway: fear is not something to run from, but something to run to.” Ann

“I saw this movie and it was excellent. It made me realize just how indifferent I was to the Ebola breakout when it was in our Headline News. At that time I just thought we can’t have it here. It really made an impact on me. Put a little more of that compassion back into me.” Enda

“It’s great to read 50 wonderful reviews of a movie and not ONE negative thing said. I will definitely go see this April 10, if it’s shown around my area!” Debra

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