About 8 months ago I was approached to score the music for a documentary. At the time, I knew very little about the film, and accepted mainly because the editor who contacted me, Thom Stromer, is such a high quality dude, I knew any project he was behind had to be worth while. Little did I know how amazing the experience was going to be.
The film, ‘Healing Neen’ documents the assent of Tonier ‘Neen’ Cain from a childhood of abuse, neglect, and violence, through a journey of drugs, prostitution, and prison, into a life-changing trauma-treatment program where she turned her past around. She is now a world-traveling mental health advocate, working to better the lives of the people she used to sleep with, under bridges. It’s a tale too dramatic to be made up, and Tonier herself is a character too full of life to be dreamed.
There were nights as I sat and recorded music for certain scenes when I was brought to tears, just realizing the power of this woman. She exudes a love and passion that can be felt through the screen. And the wisdom she has gained from traveling through the depths is the pearl of great price. There is no ‘after-school special’ moral to the film, instead it breaths and moves in a very human way. The scenes with her mother are some of the most heartbreaking I’ve seen. And the moments captured with her own daughter, now 6, make you nearly melt.
Probably one of the most meaningful compliments I’ve ever gotten came to me in an email late one night, returning from a gig. I sat down and opened up a message from Laura, the beautiful, insightful director of ‘Healing Neen’. She said that Tonier had just heard the end credit song I wrote for the film, and that Tonier was crying to her on the phone relaying how perfect the song was. She said she couldn’t believe she’d come to a point in her life where she now had a theme song! How amazing! It was wonderful that she liked it, ’cause it was sort of a big leap for me stylistically, but I just had this gut feeling that it was what the story was calling for. And it worked.
I know that the story is still unfolding for Tonier, and once you meet her, I’m sure you will agree with me when I say that she can go anywhere from here.
If you’re interested in seeing the film, please come out to the premier Thursday, April 29th at 7:00pm at The Creative Alliance. The website, Healingneen.com has info and will keep you up to date on future screenings. Also, The Signal just ran a feature on Tonier, and you can listen to it here.