Cross-Cultural Creative Collaboration: A Conversation with Student Filmmakers and Composers in the US and Israel (+ Special Guest George Clinton)
Now you can watch our July 27 Conversation on Creative Cross-Cultural Collaboration with 3 sets of student filmmakers and composers in the US and Israel! Paired through our Back Room Project, these emerging filmmakers from the University of Georgia's Grady College and composition students from the Jerusalem Academy of Music & Dance, have been collaborating for several months on original scores for their films. They discussed their work together and we watched short clips from their films: Sheldyn Moore 's "Little Drummer Boy", with music by Tom Zylberstein; Eli Saliba's "Stay", with music by Zohar Elnatan, and Jackson Mulkey's "Let Go", scored by Neil Pessach. And we were super-fortunate to have a special guest, Composer George S. Clinton, who has scored over 100 films and has won multiple awards to share his expertise with the students, and give us all detailed insight into how music and film intertwine to make great storytelling!
Musical Magic in the Movies with Frank Ilfman
Can music change the way an audience feels about a character? Perceives a scene? Understands how the story is unfolding? How do the director and composer work together to make sure the music enhances the story? How does a composer intuit what the music should be? And how and why does one become a film music composer in the first place?
There was no one better to tell us about this and more than prolific composer Frank Ilfman, whose extraordinary talent for understanding the nuances of music's role in film – and whose eclectic musical path – has led him to a versatile career in film scoring and to critical acclaim for his scores across genres. He has scored numerous TV dramas, documentaries and feature films including the hit black comedy horror, Big Bad Wolves, which saw him win the coveted Saturn Award for Best Original Music in 2014, ahead of John Williams, Howard Shore and Danny Elfman. Frank's many scores also include the Israeli tv series Commandments; the documentary There Are No Lions in Tel Aviv and the beloved children's adventure Abulele.
His score for Gunpowder Milkshake, starring Karen Gillan, Angela Bassett, Lena Headey and Michelle Yeoh, is currently nominated for the International Film Music Critics Association's Best Original Score for an Action/Adventure/Thriller Film, one of 5 nominees alongside Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard, while his score for Speer Goes To Hollywood is nominated for the prestigious IDA Best Music Award. From comedy to thrillers, from drama to documentary, Frank has scored it all.
The Making of In Search for Israeli Cuisine with Roger Sherman
We got a taste of the story behind The Making of In Search of Israeli Cuisine when its award-winning director Roger Sherman, gave us the backstory behind the making of this entertaining and enlightening documentary. Guided by Chef Michael Solomonov, the owner of the wildly popular restaurant Zahav, it has been said that Roger's journey In Search of Israeli Cuisine 'puts a face on the culture of Israel, drawn from the more than 100 cultures that make up Israel today – Jewish, Arab, Muslim, Christian, Druze.' The film is streaming on a variety of platforms listed in this link
Why Do Films Need Music?
Ever wonder what a movie would be like without music? Of course not – music has been part of film since even before the spoken word could be heard. We had an illuminating discussion on the irreplaceable role of movie music with two industry gurus, composer George S. Clinton and long-time music exec Doreen Ringer Ross. Having written scores for films from blockbuster comedies like Austin Powers International Man of Mystery and its sequels, to Disney’s hit Santa Clause and its sequels, to the heart-wrenching Emmy Award winning drama Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, George has in-depth understanding of the role of music in bringing emotions to life on screen. In over 3 decades as Vice President Film, TV & Visual Media Relations at Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI), Doreen directed BMI’s activities serving screen composers and established key programs for composers. Both George and Doreen are alumni of backStorygroup trips to Israel and shared their impressions of the Israeli music scene with us as well!
In Conversation with Jordan Passman, CEO of Score a Score
Composers and content producers need each other; recognizing that ahead of the curve, in 2010 Jordan Passman founded Score a Score, a Cannes Lion-winning music company specializing in original music for marketing. In 2020, Score a Score was featured on the Inc. 5000 list for its 5th consecutive year. Since 2010, Jordan has paid out millions of dollars to his roster of independent artists, and has worked on thousands of music placements for global advertising clients.
So naturally, we believed emerging composers who plan to write music for a living would love to hear what Jordan had to say, and ask him some questions as well.
Made in Jerusalem: Film & Television + Animation
We were delighted to bring you an insider's look into film and television Made in Jerusalem, a conversation with Yoram Honig, the visionary founder & director of the Jerusalem Film & Television Fund, and filmmaker Gidi Dar, whose profound Legend of Destruction tells the story of the destruction of the Second Temple. The internationally acclaimed film was nominated in 7 categories, including Best Picture, at Israel's 2021 Ophir Awards and won for Best Art Design, Best Music, Best Editing and Best Sound Design!
In addition, composer Yonatan Albalak, who co-wrote the compelling score with Assaf Talmudi, joined us for this program, moderated by The backStorygroup's own Wendy Revel, which we presented with the American Israel Friendship League.
On the Cusp: A Series of Short Films by Emerging Artists in Israel and the U.S: Part Two
On the Cusp is an ongoing series of short films from students and recent grads in Israel and the US. Each of these screenings will be followed by an online discussion with the emerging filmmakers and industry pros who will provide their valuable insight.
Part Two in the series were three films from the School of Audio and Visual Arts at Sapir College and one from a recent grad from the Grady College at the University of Georgia. Read more about the films here.
Our special guests for the discussion were Judy Cairo and Michael Simpson, partners in Cairo Simpson Entertainment and Informant Media, and composer George Clinton. Click here for more information about our special guests.
On the Cusp: A Series of Short Films by Emerging Artists in Israel and the U.S.
On the Cusp is an ongoing series of short films from students and recent grads in Israel and the US. Each of these screenings will be followed by an online discussion with the emerging filmmakers and industry pros who will provide their valuable insight. First in the series we showed three films from the Maaleh School of Film and Television and two films from the Grady College at the University of Georgia.
Our special guests for the discussion were Rick Allen, CEO of ViewLift, writer/director Takashi Doscher, and David Gale, EVP of Development and Production at Gunpowder & Sky.
Stories from Israel: Virtual Screenings and Live Discussion: Part Two
Part 2 of Virtual Screenings + Live Discussion series, cosponsored with the Bender JCCGW, was an online screening from June 3-7 of 3 student films from the Ma’aleh School of Film & Television in Jerusalem
Following these 3 very distinct short films, each with its own unique insight and artistic approach, we had an enlightening online discussion with the director of Ma'aleh, Neta Ariel.
The Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance presents
Rick Baitz's Master Class on "Composing for the Screen."
Though we couldn't be in Jerusalem for composer Rick Baitz to teach the master class we had originally planned, we are thrilled that he taught an abbreviated version online to the students at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance on May 7.
A Unique Virtual Experience
The backStorygroup normally takes professionals, film students, and music students on cultural trips to Israel where American film students can share and engage with Israeli film students. Since we can’t currently take such a trip, we thought it would be a good time to bring Israeli student films to you. We were delighted to partner with the Bender JCC of Greater Washington to share some of that with you via the limited American screenings of two Israeli films: Reflections, written and directed by Yael Bibelnik, with score by Sapir Matityahu, and Upper Lip, written and directed by Shiri Cohen.
We hope those of you who watched the films enjoyed them, and that those of you who joined the discussion with the young Israeli filmmakers and composer--and our special guests, composer George S. Clinton and Producer David Gale--found their insights into filmmaking and film scoring interesting. We certainly did, and look forward to bringing you more programming in the near future