Jazzy Overtones at Film Fest Gent

Terence Blanchard

Jazz composer Terence Blanchard has created music for more than 50 films and 25 TV shows. (Photo courtesy TerenceBlanchard.com)

The Film Fest Gent at its World Soundtrack Awards takes place this week, paying tribute to 100 years of jazz with Terence Blanchard as special guest. Blanchard, one of the most prolific jazz composers to write music for film, is one of several musicians being honored at the Oct. 18-19 event, which is dedicated to the  influence of jazz music on the art of film scoring.

“In the year that we celebrate the 100th birthday of jazz, how could we not focus on this quintessential American art form at the World Soundtrack Awards?” fest artistic director Patrick Duynslaegher said. “Especially since the rise of the Jazz Age coincided with the development and worldwide success of another quintessential American art form and entertainment: the movies. Over the years, jazz and film have influenced and enriched each other.”

The birth of jazz is tied to the recording of the first jazz album in February 1917. The record featured “Dixieland Jazz Band One-Step” on the A side and “Livery Stable Blues” on side B. In addition to the gala concert the night of the WSAwards, Oct. 18, the festival close with a Symphonic Jazz Concert on Oct. 19. “We will bring to live the best of the great jazz scores from the past and the present,  Duynslaegher promised.

After announcing the nominees for Best Composer, Score and Song, the World Soundtrack Academy has just released the second wave of nominees for Best Original Score for a Belgian Production, Discovery of the Year, SABAM Award for Most Original Composition by a Young International Composer and Public Choice Award.

For the second year in a row, the award for Best Original Score for a Belgian Production will be given to one of the three nominees who recently scored a Belgian film. The WSAcadamy has nominated Jef Nevefor his score for Speechless, American musician Johnny Jewel for Home and Jean-Luc Fafchamps for Film Fest Gent’s opening film this year, Insyriated.

With the Discovery of the Year Award, the WSAwards wants to encourage young international composers. In addition to receiving a prize, the winner is also invited to perform at the 2018 WSAwards ceremony. Three other young composers will also have the opportunity of winning the SABAM Award for Most Original Composition by an up-and-comer.

The candidates were assigned to compose a score for a selected scene from Bernardo Bertolucci’s Il Conformista. The jury consisted out of Film Fest Gent’s music director Dirk Brossé, artistic director Patrick Duynslaegher, composers Hans Helewaut, Michel Herr and Stefan Rycken and director Cecilia Verheyden.

During the 17th awards ceremony, the winner of the Public Choice Award will also be announced. One of the five nominees will receive the prize of the public on 18 October at Capitole, Ghent.

As previously announced, the Lifetime Achievement Award will be awarded to David Shire (The Conversation, All the President’s Men). Following the awards presentations, the Brussels Philharmonic together with a few jazz solists, will perform selected work by Terence Blanchard, who served as a composer for Spike Lee films including Mo’ Better Blues, Malcolm X, 25th Hour). That talent also comprises the annual Film Fest compilation album featuring Blanchard’s work.The album was recorded in August by Brussels Philharmonic and jazz soloists under the guidance of Maestro Dirk Brossé.

Discovery of 2016 Joe Kraemer (The Way of the Gun, Jack Reacher, Mission: Impossible- Rogue Nation) will also perform that evening.

Since 1982 Film Fest Gent has experienced a growing focus on music in cinema with a special section dedicated to music films.


Best Original Score for a Belgian Production
Jean-Luc Fafchamps: ‘Insyriated’ by Philppe van Leeuw
Johnny Jewel: ‘Home’ by Fien Troch
Jef Neve: ‘Speechless’ by Hilde Van Mieghem

Discovery of the Year 2017
Michael Abels: ‘Get Out’
Nicholas Britell: ‘Moonlight’
Dan Jones: ‘Lady Macbeth’
Rael Jones: ‘My Cousin Rachel’
Dustin O’Halloran and Hauschka: ‘Lion’

SABAM Award for the Most Original Composition by a Young International
Gavin Brivik (US)
Andrea Grant (IT)
Jim David van der Panne (NL)

Public Choice Award
Jóhann Jóhannsson: ‘Arrival’
Diego Navarro: ‘Pasaje al amanecer’
A.R. Rahman: ‘Viceroy’s House’
Alejandro Vivas: ‘El jugador de ajedrez’
Michael Wandmacher: ‘Voice from the Stone’

The World Soundtrack Academy has been supporting for already 17 year original scores, sound design, composers and even TV music since last year. The WSAcademy membership has become an impressive group of 370 film (music) professionals who vote every year for the WSA nominees in several ballots.

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