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Howling Music Scores Big on “Free Throw”

NASHVILLE— The score to

Free Throw

, Court Crandall’s uplifting documentary about eight inner city students from Compton, CA, competing for a college scholarship, is as surprising as the film itself. Composer David Grow of Nashville-based

Howling Music Group

describes the music as “simple, understated arrangements,” which are in stark contrast to the gritty, urban setting of the film.

Free Throw

documents a challenge issued by Crandall, a successful screenwriter and creative director of Los Angeles advertising agency Wong, Doody, Crandall and Weiner, to students from Compton High School, traditionally one of Southern California’s most gang-plagued and poorly performing schools. Eight students took part in a free throw shooting contest with the winner receiving a $40,000 college scholarship.

The documentary, which follows the contest and tells the stories of the students’ remarkable struggles to succeed against the odds, has a surprise ending that Crandall, himself, did not anticipate. The winner of the contest, Allan Guei, spontaneously donated his prize to his seven fellow finalists after receiving a separate athletic scholarship.
Grow, who had previously worked with Crandall on commercials for ESPN and Dr Pepper, was Crandall’s first choice as composer. “We’d worked together several times before,” Crandall explains. “He’d created music for ESPN that I felt was some of the best music we’d ever done. He was an obvious choice for the movie.”

After some trial and error, Grow arrived at a score that was far removed from the rhythms of contemporary urban music, but closer to the heart of the documentary.
Grow calls the project among the most challenging of his career, largely because the subject matter required a particular kind of sensitivity. “It’s striking how courageous these kids are in overcoming obstacles,” he observes. “But to me, this film is not about Compton per se. It’s about courage and determination. I felt the music needed to reflect what was happening with these kids internally, which is one of the reasons we stayed away from something obvious like hip hop. It also couldn’t be sad or maudlin, but had to carry a certain emotional weight.” Grow believes that audiences who see the film will be as affected by the subject matter as he was. “Court is a very compassionate person,” Grow says, “and he’s made a compassionate film.”
The film is scheduled to be premiered in October at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival.

About Howling Music

Founded in 1999,

Howling Music

is an original music production company specializing in creating original music for commercial spots in the television, film and emerging media. Since their inception, Howling Music has scored hundreds of national and international commercial spots alongside many of the top advertising agencies in the world including Wieden and Kennedy, Chiat Day, Crispin Porter Bogusky, and J. Walter Thompson, New York, among many others. In 2006, Howling Music moved their headquarters to Nashville, TN.
For more information, call (615) 614-3364 or visit