12th Film Music Festival is over
21 world premieres, nearly 50 songs, two spectacular galas with pyrotechnical effects, two simultaneous film shows with live music, 70 workshop sessions, 80 sewn costumes, 700 orchestral musicians and choral musicians, and 28 soloists on stage – these figures are the best summary of the 12th Film Music Festival in Krakow. Almost 40,000 persons took part in this year’s festival events.
From big choral works and songs from Quentin Tarantino’s films to the biggest hits of Walt Disney’s cinema and burlesque songs in Craig Armstrong’s arrangements – during the 12th Film Music Festival, we heard not only songs, but also interpretations of music and film works. ‘There was symphony music, chamber music, jazz music, also popular music, sometimes deliberately in kitsch style. The festival must be surprising. It must avoid its own predictability. It must anticipate and sometimes even lead to a discord between purists of the genre and those who really believe in the slogan that has been the key to our program in the last few years: “All is film music”,’ says Robert Piaskowski, the artistic director of the FMF.
We arranged nine main concerts in a manner that helped expose the kaleidoscopic ersity of cinema-related musical styles. Among them there was Cinema Chorale – the atmospheric inauguration concert in the Gothic interiors of St. Catherine’s Church, with choral topics and film songs in the repertoire. There were also big monographic concerts devoted to Krzysztof Zanussi’s films and music by two-time Oscar winner Alexandre Desplat and two simultaneous film shows with live music: the world premiere of Bram Stoker's Dracula by Francis Ford Coppola and Wojciech Kilar and Birdman directed by Alejander González Iñárritu, with music improvised by composer and drummer Antonio Sánchez. On the other hand, we could hear chamber versions of film music within Dance2Cinema and Cinematic Piano cycles, with songs from Quentin Tarantino’s cult films and music by Alexandre Desplat arranged for a chamber ensemble. Finally, there were two spectacular galas in TAURON Arena Kraków, with choreography and special effects: Disney in Concert: The Magic of Music (performed by the FMF Youth Orchestra under the direction of Erik Ochsner and Monika Bachowska and Polish popular music stars, including Michał Szpak and Natalia Nykiel) and The Glamorous Show – the spectacular finale featuring the Beethoven Academy Orchestra and the Pro Musica Mundi Choir conducted by Krzysztof Herdzin and an ensemble of dancers and soloists: Natasza Urbańska, Barbara Kurdej-Szatan, Natalia Nykiel, Maria Sadowska, Igor Walaszek, and Jakub Wocial.
This year’s Audiovisual Forum abounded in meetings with the greatest international filmmakers and discussions on all cinema-related topics. 80 young filmmakers working under the supervision of 50 specialists from several countries (e.g., from Poland, France, Portugal, Spain, Greece, Great Britain, Italy, Canada, Mexico and USA) took part in 70 industry workshops. During discussion panels, we talked about such topics as the life of soundtracks after the cinema premiere, music scores in modern cinema and the details of composing techniques of Wojciech Kilar, whose music played a special role in this year’s program. As Robert Piaskowski says, ‘one of the essential elements of the FMF is the care and maintenance of the heritage of film music.’
During the 12th FMF, we granted four prestigious awards aimed at distinguishing not only recognised and young talented film music composers, but also personages and friends of the FMF. Already for the seventh time we granted the Young Talent Award statuette – the winner was Hubert Walkowski, a student of the Karol Lipiński Academy of Music in Wroclaw. Composed for certain scenes from Agnieszka Holland’s Spoor, his suite was selected from among almost 100 works submitted by young composers from 16 countries. The winner of the YTA received the award during the Scoring4Polish Directors concert gala in the ICE Kraków Congress Centre. During this ceremony, for the first time in the history of the FMF, we also granted an award for the Polish soundtrack of the year. Its first winner was Bartosz Chajdecki for his music for the TV series Kruk. Szepty słychać po zmroku [Crow. Whispers Heard After Dark].
Two further awards were granted during The Glamorous Show final gala in TAURON Arena Kraków. The title of FMF Ambassador went to Ray Costa – a TV journalist and the founder of the leading Hollywood PR company Costa Communications. The statuette of the Wojciech Kilar Award, which is granted every year to an artist taking special care of the music score and the composer’s ethos in cinema, went to the British composer and arranger Craig Armstrong – the author of soundtracks for such masterpieces as Romeo and Juliet, Moulin Rouge! and The Great Gatsby by Baz Luhrmann.
This week we concluded the 12th Film Music Festival in Krakow with an outdoor show of The Great Gatsby in the Kraków district of Powiśle and a repetition of the concert with Walt Disney’s songs in the Krzysztof Penderecki European Centre for Music in Lusławice. We organised the festival in co-operation with seven institutions from Poland and USA (ASCAP, Sony/ATV, Music Export Poland, Krzysztof Penderecki European Centre for Music, Academy of Music in Krakow, AGH University of Science and Technology, Krzysztofory Palace).
‘The 12th FMF brought us so many emotions, I feel truly fulfilled,’ summarises Robert Piaskowski. ‘The festival surprised, enticed and ided the audience and caused ovations and forced artists to perform encores. The Internet is full of discussions about whether the artists rose to the challenges or not. The most wonderful thing for every festival is when discussions continue after the finale and the audience asks about the next year’s program. I promise that the 13th Film Music Festival will be equally rich and erse. See you in May 2020!’