Chattanooga International Film Music Festival bigger than ever this year
NOT LONG AGO, I HAD A CONVERSATION WITH A friend about film and music. He suggested an article that focused on how certain songs are forever changed due to their association with film.
For instance, any one who’s seen “Pulp Fiction” has the image of Michael Madsen dancing and singing with the severed ear of a tortured police officer, all to the tune of “Stuck in the Middle with You” by Stealers Wheels, burned forever into their memory. A song that was originally intended as a comical look at the music business becomes something all the more sinister when used by Quentin Tarantino.
Beyond that, who doesn’t see Wayne and Garth and company headbanging whenever “Bohemian Rhapsody” is heard on KZ106 or imagine Marvin Berry calling his cousin Chuck while Marty McFly tears through “Johnny B. Goode” at the Enchantment under the Sea Dance? These are all short pop tunes that changed their perception by being featured in a small scene. Imagine then, the effect a film score must have on impact of a film. Music and movies are inextricably linked—college courses are taught on how a score enhances a film. The best and brightest composers usually find work at some time or another creating entire symphonies to accompany even the most banal Hollywood blockbuster. Movies combine all artistic mediums into one massive work of art that can surpass even the most elaborate of stage productions. It’s truly something to be celebrated. Between Feb. 28 and Mar. 2, the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera will once again acknowledge the importance of film in the world of classical music by hosting the Chattanooga International Film Music Festival.
According to festival officials, Alan Silvestri joins the festival’s artistic director, George S. Clinton, for a weekend of seminars with film music composers such as Clinton and Sundance Film Music Program director Peter Golub, a panel discussion moderated by BMI’s Doreen Ringer Ross, a screening of “Back to the Future” followed by a discussion with Silvestri, as well as open rehearsals and two film music concerts with the CSO.
For those unfamiliar with him, Alan Silvestri has scored more than 80 films, including “Back to the Future” and its sequels, “Predator,” “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” “A Night at the Museum,” “Captain America” and “The Avengers.” Silvestri was nominated for both an Academy Award and Golden Globe Award for “Forrest Gump” and “The Polar Express.” and has won three Grammy Awards for his work on “The Bodyguard,” “Cast Away” and “Polar Express.” He is a titan in the industry, someone that could easy be mentioned alongside John Williams and Danny Elfman as household names in the world of film composition. Of particular note is the year’s first concert. It features one of my favorite Hollywood musicals, “Singin’ in the Rain.” The entire film will be shown, with live accompaniment by the Chattanooga Symphony. It’s an event not just for film fans, but for anyone who loves live music.
For those who are especially interested in the technical side of composition for film, the panels featuring Alan Silvestri, George S. Clinton, and Peter Golub are essential. Each composer will present their own work and talk through their creative processes and the choices needed to create scores that resonate with both the film and the audience. Later during the festival, each composer will answer questions from the audience in a roundtable discussion of music and film. These educational events are designed with students in mind, as Chattanooga has a wealth of film programs at surrounding higher education institutions. Student tickets for film, composing, and conducting students are available for discounted rates: $50 for all events instead of the usual $189. I would encourage students in other fields to briefly change their major during the month of February.
The Chattanooga International Film Music Festival serves as a precursor to the Chattanooga Film Festival (which is now taking submissions and will soon have tickets available) and what you see in terms of programming is similar to what you’ll find at the CFF in April. The Film Music Festival tickets are available now at www.chattfilmmusic.com. It looks like winter will end with a blossoming of incredible film events, which is a far cry from what was available just a few years ago. Support local film and keep these events happening.