Emmy-winning composer Jeff Beal scores the moving and personal documentary, When I Walk directed by Jason DaSilva who turns the camera on himself at 25 years old, after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. The director met the composer online when he became aware of MS related treatments Beal's wife, Joan, was researching in 2010. "Jason thought I might be interested in helping him tell his story. Since I was diagnosed with MS in 2007, of course I was!" explains Beal. When I Walk, which premiered at Sundance, is airing on PBS, June 23, 2014 at 10PM.
When I Walk reflects DaSilva's worldwide journey in search of healing, self-discovery, and love, while dealing with losing his ability to walk and other muscle controls. DaSilva's inspiration to make the film was his mother who reminded him that despite his disease, he was still fortunate to pursue what he loves most: art and filmmaking. In composing the score, Beal stated, "Jason has an infectious sense of humor and optimism about life. It was important to have the music reflect that, and also help bring the audience into the emotional aspects without being too heavy handed. Jason's family is from India, he grew up in Canada, and lives in New York City. Part of the film is a bit of a travelogue; following Jason back to India to visit relatives, to Lourdes in France looking for answerswe had some fun with defining this kind of "citizen of the world" type of journey the film takes on." Beal used tables, accordions, percussions, guitars, and pianos to reflect the journey both geographically and spiritually.
DaSilva's personal journey was difficult for Beal in many respects. "Jason is only in his 30s but has the most aggressive form of the MS. I remember very clearly when I was diagnosed in 2007, having to deal with the fears regarding my own mobility and progression in a few short years. He is a very talented filmmaker and the choice to turn the cameras on himself reflects not only a brave and creatively risky approach, but also a very emotionally raw one. His response to his MS is inspiring and healing for me to watch, and the support network we meet in the film become major characters. When I Walk really celebrates the people who stand by a loved one with MS, or any other type of disability. They are truly unsung heroes and inspiring people to meI should know, I'm married to such a person," explains Beal.
Last year, Beal received two Emmy nominations for David Fincher's House of Cards; Outstanding Music for a Series and for Outstanding Main Title Theme. He is an eleven time Emmy nominee, with four wins. He has scored documentaries including: Blackfish, Last Call at the Oasis and The Battle of Amfar. Additionally, Beal composed He's Way More Famous Than You which was released nationwide after its premiere at Slamdance. Beal's film and TV credits include The Queen of Versailles, Appaloosa, Pollock, Door to Door, The Passion of Ayn Rand, HBO's Rome, ABC's Ugly Betty, and the theme and underscore for USA's hit series Monk. Beal is currently scoring the documentary Spirit of the Marathon II and House of Cards Season 2.