Toward the end of this interview, things got pretty serious. Like when Tony said he’d recently broken his iPhone in half with his bare hands. By that point, though, we’d been talking for over an hour and I didn’t find his confession that surprising. Tony is a guy who takes his life and his work seriously. You can hear it immediately in his songs, and you can sense it almost immediately over the phone. This guy isn’t messing around. After starting his career with a pirated version of FruityLoops and a chance meeting with Hans Zimmer, Tony has gone on to score projects for some of the biggest brands and most influential filmmakers in the world. But none of it would have happened had he not gone through a series of complete and utter breakdowns.
It’s a weird time to be a nonfiction filmmaker in America. But rarely has it been more important. Not only do we need true stories, but we need deep, nuanced true stories that eschew the broad brush of clickbait journalism in favor of what New York Times writer Michiko Kakutani called “the fresh, mixed-up happy-sad texture of real life.” In other words: we need documentary filmmakers. And we need good ones.