Envision Sound 2020/21

Last November, British Council Ukraine launched the first Envision Sound Composer Grants scheme. It is aimed at providing an opportunity for emerging composers to realise a new original score supplied by our Envision Sound partners in Ukraine (Docudays UA International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival, Linoleum Contemporary Animation and Media Art Festival, Oleksandr Dovzhenko National Centre) so we can continue to create stronger links between Ukraine and the UK during the challenges posed by the pandemic. After an overwhelming response of many high-quality applications, we are really pleased to announce the 3 recipients of the Envision Sound Composer Grants! 

The three recipients are: 

Chloe Knibbs. Chloe will be creating a new score to the short animation ‘Today’, directed by Julia Shalimova. She will be mentored by Enrica Sciandrone

Chloe Knibbs is a composer exploring storytelling, theatricality and sidelined voices with a particular emphasis on feminist perspectives.  Included in the British Music Collection, her work includes compositions for opera and music theatre, orchestra, chamber music, art song and choir. Her music has been featured on BBC Radio 3 and performed by a number of ensembles including the Riot Ensemble, Birmingham Opera Company and Project Instrumental. Chloe's work has also received support from PRS Women Make Music Scheme and Jerwood Arts. 

Ela Orleans. Ela is writing score for ‘The Beilis Affair’, directed by Nikolay Breshko-Breshkovsky, kindly provided by the Oleksandr Dovzhenko National Centre film archive. Neil Brand will be mentoring Ela over the next few months. 

Ela Orleans is an electronic sound and visual artist, performer, academic and composer based in London. Her work fuses elegant, noir-ish laments, lush and atmospheric fractured narratives with influences ranging from the BBC Radiophonic Workshop to the Éthiopiques series and Bernard Herrmann film scores. Since her solo debut Low Sun/High Moon in 2008, Orleans has received international critical acclaim for her growing catalogue of work.  

Subsequently, Orleans has toured across the UK, Europe, USA and Canada, performing work at MoMA PS1, New York; MoCA, Massachusetts; The Venice Biennale and TATE Britain. She has worked on several albums, film soundtracks plus theatre and opera works. She has also completed a remix of work by new age sound pioneer, Laraaji for Warp and her album Circles Of Upper and Lower Hell was shortlisted for Scottish Album of the Year in 2017. Following the performance of her audiovisual composition "Night Voyager" based on NASA archives at Sonica Festival, Orleans joined the Cryptic Artists’ roster in 2020. She is a PhD candidate in Music at the University of Glasgow. 

Jo Ranger. Jo will be composing new music for the documentary ‘I Am Michelle’, directed by Olena Siyatovska and will be mentored by Nainita Desai

Jo Ranger is a classically trained musician and composer living in London. She is a member of the BFI Network x BAFTA film crew and currently on the Ivor’s Academy Youth Council and Media Committee. She has worked on a variety of projects such as short and feature films, production music, and artist albums. At the moment she is finishing off her debut EP of solo trombone music. 

Additionally, she has recently founded Audio Artemis - the collective for womxn in sampling. The aim of the collective is to support and further the voices of women and gender minorities in the audio sampling world. 

Jo loves to create lush and exciting orchestral, synth, and hybrid music - rich in melodies and harmonies - and draws on her extensive orchestral experience as a multi-instrumentalist and singer. Telling stories that tap into human drama, whether largely universal or highly specific, comes naturally to Jo. She’s driven to write music that helps us understand on a deep emotional level the world and people around us. 

Film Directors

Yuliia Shalimova is a director, designer and illustrator, born in Kyiv, Ukraine. She studied graphic design at the Kyiv State Institute of Decorative Art and Design named after M. Boychuk. For  almost 10 years, Yuliia worked in printing as a graphic designer.  Since  2010, she has been working with different publishers as an illustrator.  During this time , nine boos  featuring  her  illustrations have been published.

In 2018, Yuliia graduated from the Kyiv National I. K. Karpenko-Kary University for Theatre,  Cinema and Television  where  she  studied Animation Direction (Yevhen Syvokon’s workshop). She  is  the director  of  animated  short  films  “Travels” (2017, term project), “Romeo and Juliet” (2018, graduate project), animated music video for the song “Na Volyu” (“На волю”) by the ethnic-jazz band GANNA (2020) that received awards in Ukraine and abroad. Yuliia Shalimova is also a nominee for the Dzyga National Film Award in the Animation category (Ukraine, 2019) and winner of the international Shakespeare Shorts 2020 competition (Great Britain, 2020).

Olena Siyatovska is an artist and an emerging director. She was born in Czech Republic. She grew up in Dnipro, studied at the National University of Oles Honchar (Ukraine) and University of Fine Arts in Poznan (Poland), lives and works in Kyiv. Siyatovska focuses on social relations, human rights, and identity in the digital dimension. She received a scholarship from the Ministry of Culture of Poland “Gaude Polonia” in 2019 and has participated in exhibitions and residencies in Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania, and Germany. “I Am Michelle” is the directing debut of Siyatovska.

Profiles of the UK mentors

Enrica Sciandrone 

Enrica Sciandrone is an award-winning composer originally from Italy and now resident in London. She has been active in the film music industry since 2009, working on mainstream projects such as Warner’s Wrath of The Titans, Sony’s Life and Mowgli collaborating with established composers such as Javier Navarrete (Pan’s Labyrinth), Nitin Sawney, Jon Ekstrand as well as with orchestrator Nicholas Dodd. She has composed soundtracks worldwide for several feature films, documentaries, animations and TV commercials, together with production music (EMI). Her music, orchestrations and arrangements have been broadcasted on BBC Radio 3, Radio Rai 3 (Italy), BBC, Amazon Prime Video, Channel 5 and ITV. 

She is professor in composition for screen at the Royal College of Music in London. 

Nainita Desai 

Working at the forefront of a new wave of emerging artists, RTS and BIFA nominated composer Nainita is a BAFTA Breakthrough Brit, Ivor Novello 2020 nominee and is the International Film Music Critics Association Breakthrough Composer of 2020. She has scored countless BAFTA, Oscar, Emmy acclaimed productions. The PRS placed Desai at No 2 in their Top 10 female writers whose work was most used in Film & TV through 2018. Nainita’s most recent feature releases include OSCAR 2020 nominated and BAFTA, Cannes, BIFA, SXSW winning feature doc For Sama which was also nominated for Best Music at the BIFAs 2019. Other recent projects include Untamed Romania, the most successful Romanian non-fiction film of 2018, WW2 period drama Enemy Within, psychological horror Darkness Visible [BFI], and Interactive game / video game Telling Lies one of the top critically acclaimed releases of 2019 by Annapurna Interactive including Scala Radio’s Top 5 Video Game Scores of the Year and Music+Sound Award winning Title track.

Neil Brand 

Neil Brand has been a silent film accompanist for over 30 years, regularly in London at the Barbican and BFI National Film Theatres, throughout the UK and at film festivals and special events around the world.

Training originally as an actor, he has made his name as a writer/performer/composer, scoring BFI video releases of such films as South (Shackleton's Journey to the South Pole), The Ring by Alfred Hitchcock, Piccadilly (premiered at the Lincoln Centre) the great lost film The Life and Times of David Lloyd George and Early Cinema. 

Neil is becoming well-known as a TV presenter on BBC4 with his hugely successful series Sound of Cinema, The Music that Made the Movies and Sound of Song, is a regular presenter on Radio 4's Film Programme, a Fellow of Aberystwyth University and a Visiting Professor of the Royal College of Music and is considered one of the finest improvising piano accompanists in the world.

Key dates

21 October – 21 November 2020 – open call for composers and filmmakers

14 December – 18 December 2020 – announcement of the results on the website and social media of the British Council and respective partners

21 December – 12 March 2021 – music composing, mentoring sessions

26 March – 4 April 2021 – presentation of the winning documentary project at the Docudays UA International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival

1-5 September 2021 – presentation of the winning animation project at the Linoleum International Contemporary Animation and Media Art Festival


Envision Sound is an international educational programme for composers from Turkey, Ukraine, Israel and other countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia who want to further develop their skills working with film and moving image. This unique programme of practical skills development, mentoring and networking for professionals of the film and music industries was designed by the British Council in partnership with the Oleksandr Dovzhenko National Centre in Ukraine. During three cycles of the programme in 2017-2020, 33 film composers became Envision Sound graduates. Almost half of them were commissioned to create new scores to contemporary and archive Ukrainian films. You can find more about the programme here.