A celebration of film and television music was once again at the heart of Krakow’s Film and Music Festival, now in its eighth year.
Running from May 27-31, the event brought together more than 58 international composers - including Stephen Warbeck (Shakespeare in Love, Mon Roi), Ramin Djawadi (Game of Thrones), Jeff Beal (House of Cards), John Lunn (Downton Abbey) and Trevor Morris (The Borgias, The Tudors) – for a culmination of performances, panels and master classes.
“Composers are not often given the attention they deserve,” said Artistic Director Robert Piaskowski. “So we wanted to create a space that presents film music as art, and where audiences can come and appreciate a score’s symphonic sounds.”
Piaskowski is not alone in his interests. The festival now aligns itself as the start of the season, with similar musical events taking place in Tenerife and Cordoba in July and Vienna and Gent (that also hosts the World Soundtrack Awards) in October.
““When we started, technology was not yet able to support what we wanted to do, and there was some resistance from Hollywood.
“Now we have over 800 artists on stage throughout the festival, approximately 30,000 attendees and support from companies like HBO, BMI and American Music Awards (AMAs),” added Piaskowski.
Taking place in both Krakow and neighbouring city Katowice, festival go-ers had the option of listening to compositions from films by Krakow’s Oscar-winning director Andrzej Wajda.
Video game fans were tempted with a sold-out show from Critical Hit – the American band known for its musical themes to Angry Birds, Tetris and other gaming favourites, while young students from local academies performed works by Polish composer Michal Lorenc.
Bigger in scale – The International TV Series Gala brought over 12,000 people to see composers such as Jeff Beal conduct his own scores to Rome and House of Cards; Daniel Licht utilise scissors and knives in his creative instrumentation of Dexter and Icelandic composer Atli Örvarsson riff on the piano while his sister led the vocals to overlaying scenes from Chicago Fire.
Academy Award winning composer Elliot Goldenthal (Frida, Titus), who was on hand with partner and film-maker Julie Taymor, was revered with the first annual Wojciech Kilar Award.
Diego Navarro – film music composer, conductor and artistic director of Tenerife International Film Music Festival – was praised with the Ambassador statuette, giving a nod to his efforts in strengthening international ties in the music industry.
And in its third year, the Young Talent Award was given to Antonio Di Iorio (Italy) for his compositional extract to The Borgias.
The Young Professionals Programme saw over 100 submissions from 22 countries – with the 26 accepted candidates receiving daily master classes on scoring, rights, arrangements, marketing and social behaviour.
“It is very important for the festival to support young, aspiring musicians. We want to make them aware of their talent, and to give them initiative to present themselves to top industry professionals,” said Piaskowski.
Composing for television closely captured audience’s attention, as did a talk on electronic versus symphonic recordings.
“The better your writing is - the more you can articulate what you want. Once film-makers hear the dramatic impact of live musicians - that is what they will want. And if they want it badly enough - they will find the money,” insisted music producer Andy Hill.
A women’s panel was also hotly debated, with British composer Jocelyn Pook pointing out that a mere 16% of registered composers and songwriters in television and film are women.
“I tend to work with a lot of female musicians - but there could certainly be more. I think there needs to be time spent on educating young women in film overall,” said Pook.
Gaming proved popular as well, with Dexter’s Licht saying, “The thing that’s changing is - we’re all willing to work on everything. The boundaries have dropped - film, TV and gaming composers are not territorial anymore.”
Composing agent Darrell Alexander talked globalisation, reminding artists they must go where the work is, whether it’s London or LA, or even burgeoning sound recording hot spots such as Macedonia, Brussels, Munich and Prague.
Piaskowski reiterated a continued emphasis around the education of young professionals, while also highlighting Roman Polanski’s films as the next focus for the Polish Music Gala.
Electronic music too was mentioned – looking at Academy Award winning scores such as Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ The Social Network and Steven Price’s Gravity.
But above all, Piaskowski added, “The mission is to save the real sound of symphonic orchestra - and to raise the importance of the composer’s interdisciplinary work.”
Krakow continues its festival focus with The Krakow Film Festival presently taking place through June 7.