Ever since Dorothy Scott wrote “Ride These Waves” in New York in the mid-‘90s, it has been a staple of the local singer-songwriter’s performances. Though Scott admits she wrote it for a New York fan whom she “sort of had a crush on,” it has become a song through which countless people have fallen in love with Scott’s heartfelt music.
Countless more will have the chance to enjoy her passionate, vulnerable lyrics paired with her crystal clear vocals and incredible fluidity on the guitar when the feature-length film Birthmarked is released in the United States on March 30.
Filmed in Montreal, Quebec by director Emanuel Hoss-Desmarais, Birthmarked stars Toni Collette and Matthew Goode as two scientists who embark on a social experiment with their three kids – one biological and two adopted. Their mission is to study nature vs. nature by attempting to raise these children into specific personality types that run contrary to their genetic backgrounds.
For the adopted child whose parents were angry, they will attempt to raise him as a pacifist; their biological son, who comes from a family of scientists, will be raised to become an artist; and the daughter, who comes from “a long line of dimwitted individuals” will be nurtured into “the smartest little girl you’ve ever seen.” This offbeat comedy, written by Marc Tulin, follows the experiment during the course of three decades.
Scott’s song “Ride These Waves” was pitched to the director and music supervisor by Scott’s friend Rónán Ó Snodaigh, of the Irish folk/world music group Kíla. Scott wrote two versions of “Ride These Waves” – the first, which appeared on her 1995 debut album Into the Natural, features guitar, piano and vocals, while the second version, appearing on her 2007 album Pass It On, Scott describes as “a little bit more produced,” with a drum track and background vocals. Birthmarked will feature the latter.
“The most important part about that song is that everybody seems to have always liked it and after all these years it’s a song that I can still sing because some of my other pieces are a little bit complicated and I don’t always go for those because of their complication element,” Scott said. “But this one’s an easy, breezy one to get through and give over.”
Scott does not know in which scene the song will appear, but she joins a collection of musicians on the movie that include Rodriguez, the Detroit singer-songwriter whose albums – unbeknownst to him – became highly successful and influential in South Africa (he is the subject of the 2012 documentary Searching for Sugar Man), along with the late Karen Dalton, a Cherokee folk blues singer, guitarist and banjo player best known for her association with the early 1960s Greenwich Village folk music scene.
This is not the first time Scott’s music has made it onto a movie soundtrack. She has had music featured on an HBO film, in a movie by Duncan Roy, and in 2003, her song “Down Into the River” appeared in director Deborah Kampmeier’s award-winning film Virgin, starring Elisabeth Moss and Robin Wright Penn.
“It was really cool because in the scene they were in a car and they turned on the radio and my song came on,” Scott said.
The musician is particularly excited about Birthmarked, whose March 30 release she will watch in either Oshkosh or Madison.
“This one is obviously a little bit bigger,” Scott said. “It’s the first real feature film. I’m extremely excited because I absolutely adore Toni Collette.”
The film’s release precedes, by two weeks, Scott’s favorite event of the year in Door County, “LEAP: The Human Kindness Project.” LEAP, scheduled for April 13 and 15, is the acronym for “Learning to Empower and Appreciate all People,” and expands on a violence-free message while challenging attitudes toward acceptance of social injustice. Door County students lead a program that includes dance, theater, spoken word, songs, visual arts and multimedia, all intended to encourage positive thinking and personal growth. Scott co-produces the annual event.
“It’s about authenticity,” Scott said. “Being your authentic self. That’s by far the most favorite program that I’m involved in. If you like teenagers from all walks of life, and dancing and singing and acting, you will love it.”