Music for Screens Summit 2022
Five of the most diverse and innovative composers currently working in film gathered during Variety’s Music for Screens summit to talk about current issues in media music. All but…
Five of the most diverse and innovative composers currently working in film gathered during Variety’s Music for Screens summit to talk about current issues in media music.
All but one are in their 30s and 40s. Two are women, two are people of color and all are in contention for end-of-year awards for their work in acclaimed films and television projects.
Nicholas Britell, Emmy winner and three-time Oscar nominee, created a sensation with his hip-hop-meets-classical approach for TV’s “Succession” and now, with the Harvey Weinstein sex-scandal movie “She Said,” has written a score that utilizes unusual string techniques and is co-produced by his cellist wife Caitlin Sullivan.
Terence Blanchard, two-time Oscar nominee and five-time Grammy winner, is best known for his many scores for Spike Lee’s films. Lately he has also gained renown in the classical world for his opera “Fire Shut Up in My Bones.” This year his orchestral and choral score for “The Woman King” is drawing attention, and he has also scored the jazz documentary “Louis Armstrong’s Black & Blues.”
Chanda Dancy is the composer of two talked-about films: “Devotion,” about a Black fighter pilot during the Korean War; and “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” the Whitney Houston biopic slated for Christmas release. Dancy counts among her recent credits the social-justice film “Raise Your Hand” and the maternal-health documentary “Aftershock.”
Rob Simonsen has scored Darren Aronofsky’s new film “The Whale,” with Brendan Fraser in an acclaimed comeback performance. Simonsen has been a steady presence in Hollywood for the past decade, scoring such films as “Love, Simon,” “The Front Runner,” “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” and TV series including “Blue Bloods” and “Life in Pieces.”
The newest name on the list is Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch, a Paris-born, London-based pianist and composer who was nominated earlier this year for England’s Ivor Novello Award for her score for “Censor.” Her latest film is “Living,” the critically praised film starring Bill Nighy as a bureaucrat in 1950s England facing a fatal illness.
The panel, presented by BMI, includes discussion of all their current scores; the growing acceptance of women and people of color in a traditionally all-white, all-male business; the changing landscape, especially for composers who have come through the pop or rock ranks instead of the traditional conservatory training; and how open filmmakers have been to new, sometimes radical approaches with music.