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Film music in focus during the Berlinale

By Carl Kristian Johansen Posted: 07. Feb, 2019

Norwegian composers will be traveling to Berlin to build and sustain their international network

This year Norway is the “Country in Focus” on the European film market during Berlin international film festival. The festival, which sees its 69th edition, will take place between 7. – 17th of February. The “Berlinale” is one of the largest and most important film festivals in Europe, and Norway therefore has an unique opportunity as “Country in Focus” to introduce and present Norwegian film to a global audience and industry professionals.

Nordic Film Music Days will be a part of the program and will be held the 11th and 12th of April. A large delegation from Norway consisting of composers from NOPA (the Norwegian Society of Composers and Lyricists) and NKF (the Norwegian Society of Composers) will be attending these two days. The program contains the Harpa Awards, in addition to seminars and speed meetings with film directors and producers.

Read more: The program of Nordic Film Music Days

The composer in focus
In 2010, George Christopoulos started Oticons, a talent agency for film composers. The agency represents internationally a roster of composers from 20 different nationalities, primarily dedicated to feature films and international co-productions. Christopoulos will be present in Berlin and is also a part of the Harpa jury.

– Why are initiatives like the Nordic Film Music Days important for Nordic film/media composers?

– Any initiative that has at its core the artists themselves are beneficial by default. To have a platform for Nordic composers, especially during one of the most important film markets in the world, with the aim to promote them and network them serves totally the #1 rule of the industry: it’s all about connections and relationships. I believe the Nordic countries set an example with this event for other regions to follow.

– What is the current standing and international recognition of Nordic film music?

– In a similar manner that we often talk about the “before and after Star Wars” effect on cinema and film scoring, we mention a before and after “the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” effect in modern Nordic cinema and film music. If we add to that recognizable “noir” brand of Nordic film music, the immense effect the music of Johann Johannsson had, we can say that the world is looking into the Nordic film composers always expecting the unique, the special, original and unexpected musical language, yet always somewhat dark and atmospheric, says Christopoulos.

Arena for international networking
Kate Havnevik is an artist, composer and a board member in NOPA, and in her opinion, Nordic Film Music Days is an important arena because it provides the opportunity to develop even more knowledge.

– The seminars are filled with inspiring talks and speeches and connects you with people in the movie industry. It also gives the film composers an arena to meet colleagues in the same area of expertise. The arena has helped me with my international network, because it attracts people who are interested in the music in film, such as agents, publishers, directors and producers who are looking for composers they have not worked with before. You have an audience if you put the work in for it, says Havnevik.

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Composer Kristin Bolstad will be present in Berlin.

Composer, Kristin Bolstad will be attending Nordic Film Music Days for the first time as a part of the delegation from NKF.

– I hope that it will be an arena where I can get to know the culture and attend whatever is happening. I am also hoping to get acquainted with a few of the various professionals and attendees. The whole thing seems so big, so I will just have to go with the crowd this time. I am excited to see how it all works, and I of course look forward to the networking part of it, but I also think just my presence and observation will be very important, says Bolstad.

– What is your ambition with being present?

– Since this is my first time I will take this on as a challenge, where the goal is to speak with as many as possible, join as much on the program as possible and learn a few tricks I can use in my career. One goal is to scout the terrain for possibilities for live foley in silent films, which is one of the things I do. I also want to see if there is any possibility of placing my music in any specific projects.

– For a long time I have been working with music for different spaces and settings. I have composed music for Emanuel Vigeland’s mausoleum and James Turrell’s “Skyspace” in “Ekebergparken,” and I am curious to see if this way of tailoring music can be transferred to film. I am also working on a few artistic move projects for one of the aforementioned projects, so I would like to pick up a few tips and tricks on how I can get them out to the world, Bolstad adds in.

Partners in Nordic Film Music Days:​
SKAP (The Swedish Society of Songwriters, Composers & Authors)  | FST (Föreningen af Svenske Tonsättere)  | Music Finland   |  Finnish Music Creators FMC  |  STEF (Icelandic Collective Rights Management Society)  | NOPA (Norwegian Society of Composers and Lyricists)  | Komponistforeningen (Norwegian Society of Composers)  | Music Norway  | ​ BFM Danish Organization for Film- and Media Composers.

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