For the third time Mark Kermode will play some of my music on his film music show on Scala Radio. Today, Saturday 22 February, 1-3pm, available for a week online.
Mark plays film classics, current cinema score releases and also champions less-known composers (like me!) A few weeks ago he played two cues from Poppies and today it’s two mostly electronic tracks, ‘Lost in London’ from My Friend the Polish Girl and ‘Penny’ from Crocodile.
On 6 February there is a screening of I Do Not Want to Smoke, a fascinating short film by Steven Sheil. Towards the end of last year I composed a solo piano score for the film, which is based on a Soviet script, published in 1936 but never produced.
The unprecedented ‘war on smoking’ unleashed in early Soviet Russia combined anti-tobacco propaganda with innovative cessation therapies. One of the most distinctive methods developed by the Soviet state to combat smoking and cultivate healthy habits and behaviours was film hypnotherapy.
I Do Not Want to Smoke brings to life one of the world’s first experiments in using the cinema as a means of psychotherapeutic treatment. The film showcases the techniques used to educate the public about the dangers of nicotine and to impart mass suggestions about smoking cessation.
Funded by the Wellcome Trust, I Do Not Want to Smoke sheds light on the intersection between cinematic technology, medicine, and programmes of mind/body transformation.
Steven produced & directed IDNWTS with Dr Anna Toropova, a Wellcome Trust Research Fellow at the University of Nottingham, who will introduce it in Bristol as part of a project called Life Of Breath.
6 February 2020, 5.30 PM – 6 February 2020, 6.30 PM, Room G5, 3-5 Woodland Road, Bristol, BS8 1TB
I recently scored a new short film, I do not Want to Smoke, by filmmaker Steven Sheil, who worked with medical historian Anna Toropova from the University of Nottingham on the script. This fascinating Welcome Trust funded film is based on a script for a Russian medical film from the 1930s which was initially intended to show how hypnosis could be used to cure people from the urge to smoke.
The film called for solo piano music for its score, which ranged from minimalist to Russian nationalist influenced. I asked the fantastic Kamilla Arku to record the piano part.
I was thrilled to have a couple of cues from my music to Seahorse played on the Mark Kermode show last Saturday, 7th September. He played and discussed A Positive Result and The Long Wait, which were written for two separate scenes dealing with Freddy’s pregnancy tests. Mark Kermode hosts a fantastic show on Scala Radio, all on film music, and I made some great new discoveries.
The show is available to listen online for a few more days here and my cues are about 12 minutes in, although I have to say I was pretty chuffed to hear at the start of the programme “I’ll be playing music from Bernard Hermann…Mica Levi and Tara Creme”
Seahorse, The Man Who Gave Birth had a UK-wide cinema release at the end of August, with many screenings accompanied by Q+A from the filmmakers. The audience reception has been incredible.
On September 10th the film was broadcast on BBC2, again with fantastic responses from viewers and many pick-of-the-days from media. It is now available to watch on player.
Great news from Poland! My Friend the Polish Girl has received the Grand Prix at this Film Festival for debut films. A massive and deserved well done to directors Ewa Banaszkiewicz and Mateusz Dymek who were there to pick up their award, and also to Michal Dymek who picked up best cinematography. Next stop for the film is a UK release from July 19th.
Seahorse had full and enthusiastic audiences for its European premiere screenings at Sheffield Documentary Festival last week. It was great to travel up to watch the film — including q+a with director Jeanie Finlay and film’s subject Freddie McConnell — where I enjoyed a few days watching documentaries and attending talks. Other highlights included American Factory and audience award winner For Sama, as well as a talk with the legendary Werner Herzog. Seahorse is currently showing in New Zealand, and will screen in London on July 16th.
Exciting news that the documentary feature I scored, Seahorse, is to receive its world premiere in competition at Tribeca. Directed by Jeanie Finlay and produced by Andrea Cornwell for BBC Storyville it is “one trans man’s pioneering quest to fulfil an age-old desire: to start his own family. This is the story of the dad who gave birth.”
It was a great pleasure to work with Jeanie on this documentary, which I scored for strings, piano, accordion, guitar and electronics.
Editor Alice Powell, executive producers Charlie Phillips at Guardian and Orlando von Einsiedel at Grain Media, Sound Designer Pip Norton.
I have just completed music for Cosima’s lovely and informative short film Phyllida, about the artist and her work.
The film coincides with Barlow’s fantastic new exhibition Cul-de-Sac at the Royal Academy and will be screened every Friday evening for the duration of the show.
Beautiful playing by Richard Curran and Jack Tait Westwell and music mixing by Rich Aitken. Also thanks to Sonica Studios for when I asked if I could prepare and record their piano responding with “sure, we’re always up for this kind of madness!”
More good news for My Friend the Polish Girl. It was recently nominated for the Michael Powell award at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, where it also had its UK premiere. I joined the directors Eva and Mateusz and actors Aneta, Emma and Darren for the festival and great fun was had by all. Sadly my short stay meant I didn’t get to see many films but my highlight was the powerful documentary Island of the Hungry Ghosts.
Following on from Edinburgh, My Friend the Polish Girl has been entered into the international competition of New Horizons Festival, Wroclaw, Poland, which takes place at the end of this month, and now the “Certain Regard’ competition at Gydnia Film Festival in September.