Directed by renowned artist JR, Ellis is a lens through which the story of Ellis Island is captured and retold by the words of one immigrant. Starring Robert De Niro and featuring the visually arresting Unframed art installation, which inhabits the abandoned Ellis Island hospital complex, the short film takes you on a compelling journey through the crumbling hallways of what once stood as the gateway to America.
Entwined with this unfolding narrative is a score composed by multi-talented Woodkid, performed and co-written by Nils Frahm. Whilst the delicate piano motifs of "Winter Morning I" culminate in a crescendo of strings, it's atop the harmonium swells on the B-side that De Niro's narration evokes the presence of those who shaped modern America so clearly.
There's perhaps not been a more relevant time for this story and its themes to be brought to life in such a special way, with all proceeds from this release going towards the Sea Watch initiative, a non-profit charity dedicated to the protection and rescue of civilian refugees. Following a screening as part of Nils's Barbican Weekender, the Ellis score will be available on vinyl in July 2016.
"The music fell in our laps and melted with the images. The film has stuck in my head ever since; it moved my heart and changed my soul." – Nils Frahm