After much delay, this Wednesday 02/07/18, winners of the 2018 Berlin International Film Scoring Competition were announced. The competition was extremely tight with almost 300 participants vying for a top position. I was blessed to represent the U.S. and to be honored as a top 10 finalist. You can view my entry and read more below:
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The film, "Sputnik," a Maxim Zhestkov short, took over a year and a half to create by a team of industry-leading artists from all over the globe. "Sputnik" was then edited to roughly 5 minutes in length and given to composers with only a brief cryptic description of storyline "...the evolution of an extraterrestrial mind, and its journey to the light." The film being of such stellar quality, then coupled with an open storyline, led to a tremendous source of inspiration and perpetual creativity from start to finish.
Congratulations to all the finalists and a big thank you to Maxim Zhestkov and crew for creating the gem that is "Sputnik" and to all the distinguished judges for giving so much of their own time to not only judge hundreds of entries but in offering an illuminating opportunity for composers to freely create, compete, and share with one another.
I am extremely grateful to my family and friends who continue to support, encourage, and believe in my endeavors. You know who you are ;) I also have a handful of especially talented and brilliant minds that I can rely upon for brainstorming, constructive criticism, and guidance in my compositional and production process. So a very special thanks to audio guru, producer, and composer Israel Tanenbaum, visual artist, director, and composer Zennor Alexander, director and writer, Elias Jimenez, composer, pianist, and instructor Dr. Igor Iwanek, composer, orchestrator, and instructor Dr. Deniz Hughes, and innovator, CEO, and software developer Don Williams for the invaluable composing tool that is Overture 5.
Thank you so much for your time, support, and interest. To find out more about the film, finalists, and esteemed judges feel free to visit the official website for the BIFSC.
Recently, my family suffered the loss of a beautiful woman...my magical, angelic, kind, wise, strong, and humorous aunt Lois. So with the encouragement of her daughters and my own unresolved feelings, I composed "Circled Flight" to honor her memory. The compositional process was filled with mixed emotions that I wrestled with...mainly sadness, joy, and nostalgia. I thought the piece might first be heading towards a shorter and quieter quintet...but as I took my time reflecting on the memories I had with her and with the rest of our family...composing just took on a life of it's own. I reflected on memories yes, but tried to place myself in her shoes as I thought about her life, and also meditated on a poem she had left behind for her daughters. The poem she left... "Grieve Not" also known as "Do Not Stand At My Grave & Weep" by Mary Elizabeth Frye was also a big part of the structure and inspiration (hence the title of the piece):
Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.
So...we take a "Circled Flight" over, above, circling around more gentle, quieter, magical, tender moments...alluding and leading to a building grandeur. My hope is to honor the indomitable spirit of my wonderful aunt, my family, and to offer a piece that might lend itself to the remembrance of anyone who has passed on in your life... yet still holds a special place in your heart.
As many of you may know, almost seven years ago I had a rather epic dream that was filled with incredible imagery, music, sounds, and symbolic spiritual significance. I felt a strong need to express and share the dream, so I immediately attempted to capture the experience through music and a rather primitive slide show experience. You can find out more about the dream and view the archaic presentation on my You Tube Channel or listen to the original music below:
While the music and slideshow served its purpose for the time, I always felt that something more was needed to really do the dream justice. So, as fate would have it, I began a collaboration with unconventional animator Zennor Alexander. I have always appreciated and been drawn to Zennor's otherworldly, surrealistic, dark, apocalyptic, bizarre, and exotic approaches in imagery. Yet, within his portraits, lies a perception of the unknown...conveyed through intricately weaved symbolism that results in an alluring depth of story. Needless to say, Zennor Alexander is the absolute perfect fit for the "dream project" at hand. You can visit his site @ www.zennor.com "where skeletal off-world electronica and sublime visuals collide in the space between dreaming and waking."
We both have been collaborating on Cosmic Remnants between a variety of other ongoing projects and obligations. I am also currently working on a new score with "remnants" of the original piece, and as of today there is no deadline on the project. That said, it is my pleasure to share with you a couple gems of Zennor's brilliant work from the film. It's an epic undertaking, yet things are moving along beautifully. We continue to trust in patience, the creative process, and the vision behind the film in the hopes of sharing something truly meaningful, original, and unforgettable with you. Continue to check back for more updates...
The "Forever Home Series" was created by a small band of artistic animal lovers with a yearning to create a social impact on the current state of the homeless animal community. Each episode stars at least one homeless animal and provides an opportunity for viewers to learn about fostering and adoption. A charming backstory was developed about the plight of the animals and the craziness their rescuers sometimes endure.
I am proud to have been asked to score the remaining 3 episodes in Season 1 and to be a part of such a fantastic cause and caring group of individuals. Directed by: Lisa Alonso Vear. You can find out more about the "Forever Home Series," donate, and listen to the soundtrack HERE.
Two years ago, I finished the composition and production on the score for the short fantasy/drama Many Times Over. Since that time, I was asked to jump onto sound design for the film, so I put on another hat to help bring audio production to completion. It was challenging but very rewarding! Working with director Elias Jimenez has truly been a fantastic experience. He has a remarkable gift for visual story telling, directing, and bringing out the best in people. In addition to his film making talents, Elias is also a sculptor, designer and the founder of the Believe In Me Project. If that wasn't enough, he wrestles with several health conditions in the thick of work and raising a family. He possesses a truly amazing spirit. Elias plans to be able to complete the remaining elements of post production and share the film in the very near future. He has brought together a brilliant vision, depth of story, and super talented cast & crew for Many Times Over. I think in the end you will appreciate the wait and quality of this film. You can visit Elias' website @ www.eliasjimenez.net
Over the past year I have had the distinct honor and pleasure to be among the first selected to beta test and work personally with Don Williams, CEO of Sonic Scores and developer of Overture 5. Throughout the testing process we squashed numerous bugs, implemented vst3 technology (with CC response), covered multiple system networking and library hosting with Vienna Ensemble Pro Server, time code/video synchronization for film scoring, MIDI editing, audio mixing, exporting/recording, and countless other notational options and features that have helped shape Overture into the powerful, gorgeous, and user friendly program it has become. Don has worked tirelessly on coding an extremely efficient program that combines both music notation and a DAW. It has evolved into a powerful tool that is giving many competitors like Finale, Sibelius, and Notion a run for their money. The beta release is now available for purchase and is also available to test as a demo. I encourage you all to be a part of the testing and finalization of this absolute gem of a program. Whether you are a professional or just like to tinker around...if you have ever wanted to try out an alternative to your existing MIDI sequencing or notation software...this is the one to try! It's extremely well priced, easy to use but more importantly...seldom do you find a developer who works so closely and tirelessly with his users in the pursuit of perfection. Watch the brief intro above or click the image to visit the Sonic Scores product page and find out more.