From film’s advent music has been nearly as essential to the storytelling as the images on screen. In Ukraine, scoring music for films and television is also not a new phenomenon, yet until recently, there had been no formal higher education programme for this specialization. Until recently: now the British Council has joined forces with Kyiv’s Oleksandr Dovzhenko National Centre to initiate the first local development programme for film composers. We call our approach Envision Sound.

We brought celebrated UK film score composers along Michael Price and Guy Bartell and Ukraine’s own Alla Zagaykevych to work with emerging film composers on their craft. Our students, thirteen in all, were selected by open call and came from Ukraine, Poland, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan to spend an immersive and intensive week in a programme designed by our guest instructors filled with practical, hands-on training with loads of studio time. From 22-26 January 2018 these fledgling film composers plied the expertise of our instructors to address questions on editing, working on blockbusters, working with electronic music, audio dubbing and much more. At the end of the week our mentors evaluated the studio projects of their students and selected five winners for the most outstanding programme project, awarding them with cash prizes to support their scoring of two films currently in development and three silent films from the Dovzhenko Centre archives.  For more about the programme, see the tabs below.

Winners

Following a week of intensive workshops and studio sessions, the mentors evaluated participants’ homework (audio dubbing one of the proposed episodes of archival or modern films), as well as their work during practical classes and final work on scenes they had scored that were presented publicly before the films’ directors. Five of 13 Envision Sound composers were identified for their outstanding work:

  • Roman Vyshnevsky (Ukraine)
  • Anton Degtyarev (Ukraine)
  • Azar Azgarov (Azerbaijan)
  • Sergiy Leontiev (Ukraine)
  • Antoni Kulka-Sobkovich (Poland)

The winners received grants from the British Council and Dovzhenko Centre in the amount of 22,000 hryvnia. The prize will support their composition of music for two film projects by emerging Ukrainian directors who had submitted their works-in-progress to the programme, and three silent films from the Dovzhenko Centre archive to be shown during the Festival of Silent Film and Contemporary Music “Mute Nights” in June 2018. The Dovzhenko Centre will also underwrite the fees of the musicians who will perform the music composed by the Envision Sound finalists during screenings of the silent films in Kyiv and Odesa.

Two further collaborations were agreed upon between composers and filmmakers during the programme. The British Council in Ukraine agreed to support their efforts with grants of 7,000 hryvnia for studio recording and soundtrack mastering to the following projects:

  • The film “Satellites” — Composer Dmytro Kozynets, Director  Marina Gryshai,
  • The film-adaptation of Franz Kafka novel "The Process" — Composer Mykyta Shpanko, Director Anastasia Mehedi.

Participants

The following 13 composers were selected from our open call for workshop participation including eight emerging composers from Ukraine and five from the neighbouring countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Poland and Kazakhstan:

  1. Hayrapetyan Vahagn (Armenia)
  2. Asgarov Azar (Azerbaijan)
  3. Allahverdi Firudin (Azerbaijan)
  4. Issimbayeva Gulmira (Kazakhstan)
  5. Kulka-Sobkowicz Antoni (Poland)
  6. Dehtiarov Anton (Ukraine)
  7. Loginov Boris (Ukraine)
  8. Danov Dmytriy (Ukraine)
  9. Kozynets Dmytro (Ukraine)
  10. Prystupa Eduard (Ukraine)
  11. Shpanko Nikita (Ukraine)
  12. Vishnevskiy Roman (Ukraine)
  13. Leontiev Sergei (Ukraine)

About Dovzhneko Centre

Dovzhenko Centre is the biggest Ukrainian Film Archive (est. 1994) for feature, documentary and animation films. The Centre also has its own Film Copying Laboratory (est. 1950). The collection includes around 6000 titles produced since 1909. The Centre is the only Ukrainian member of the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF). An important player in the distribution and promotion of Ukrainian cinema, the Centre restores and preserves national films and the personal archives of cinematographers and supports scientific research in cinematography.

Meet Programme Mentors and Guest Speakers

Michael Price is one of the UK’s most sought-after composers. His work for film and television has been widely recognised, winning an EMMY award in 2014, as well as awards from the Royal Television Society, Music&Sound, and Televisual Bulldog. He also has had a BAFTA nomination and 2 further EMMY nominations for the critically acclaimed BBC series Sherlock, which he scores with David Arnold. Price has also a broad experience in music editing, having worked on blockbuster films such as Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Richard Curtis’ Love Actually and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason.

Alla Zagaykevych is the winner of the Ukrainian Film Academy’s Golden Dziga award for “Best Composer” (April 2017, for the documentary The Living Fire). She scored the Ukrainian fiction films Mamai and The Guide, and is the curator of the international electroacoustic music projects Electroacoustics and EM-Vision. She is also the founder of the electroacoustic music studio at the National Music Academy of Ukraine (1997), and was also a member of the folk band DREVO (1986—1998).

Guy Bartell (guest speaker) — a UK-based composer working in the fields of film soundtrack, electronic and electro-acoustic music.  His previous soundtracks include the cult Swedish silent film Häxan, and the Soviet documentary Turksib, commissioned and released by the British Film Institute. His latest work, commissioned by the Dovzhenko Centre, Ukraine and the British Council, is the soundtrack to Oleksandr Dovzhenko’s Arsenal, a film about the Bolshevik uprising in Ukraine in 1918 (the score was premiered in Kyiv in April 2015). His soundtracks have been performed at numerous international film festivals and venues. He has also released four albums as Bronnt Industries Kapital on Static Caravan, Get Physical and I Own You Records.

“Bartell is one of electronica's staunchest and most singular foot soldiers" — The Wire