Dedicated to reviews and news of music for film, TV and games

Saturday, February 21, 2009


Two items of news from Costa Communications:-




(Hollywood, CA) Award-winning composer JOHN DEBNEY scores Disney’s HANNAH MONTANA: THE MOVIE, directed by Peter Chelsom. The family comedy stars Miley Cyrus, alongside her dad Billy Ray Cyrus. Debney created a new love theme for the film and integrated the score with Miley’s songs to create a unified sound throughout the film. He wove the song tracks and score to play simultaneously, creating a seamless marriage between the two. Debney’s approach to the score is rural and contemporary. Debney wrote the orchestral arrangement to “Butterfly Fly Away,” performed by Miley and Billy Ray Cyrus, written by the Grammy-winning songwriting team of Glen Ballard and Alan Silvestri. Next month at the Burbank International Film Festival, Debney will be honored with the Career Achievement Award, and a medley of his scores will be performed at the opening of the festival. HANNAH MONTANA: THE MOVIE will be in theatres April 10; the soundtrack will be released on March 24.

Recently Debney completed the score to another family, fun-filled film, HOTEL FOR DOGS. Last year, Debney set the tone to the dramatic film THE STONING OF SORAYA M. (adapted from the New York Times best seller), which received critical acclaim at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival. Currently Debney is scoring the latest Eddie Murphy comedy, A THOUSAND WORDS. His other credits include THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST, for which he received an Oscar nomination; IDLEWILD, a Prohibition-era musical starring the duo Outkast and featuring famed trumpeter Arturo Sandoval; the animated films BARNYARD and CHICKEN LITTLE; the comic-book inspired SIN CITY, and the comedies ELF and LIAR, LIAR.

Debney’s ability to deliver the perfect score in a wide variety of films has made him one of the most sought after composers in Hollywood, leading him to work with several directors multiple times. For Garry Marshall, Debney scored the black comedy, GEORGIA RULE, PRINCESS DIARIES 1 & 2, and RAISING HELEN; for Tom Shadyac, he scored BRUCE ALMIGHTY and EVAN ALMIGHTY.

In addition to an Academy Award nomination, John Debney has received several Emmy awards, a Dove award for THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST, a CUE award for the score to the videogame LAIR and several gold and platinum selling albums, including THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST and THE PRINCESS DIARIES. Debney was the youngest recipient of the ASCAP Henry Mancini Award for Career Achievement, and has conducted concerts of his music with orchestras throughout the United States and Europe.

In HANNAH MONTANA: THE MOVIE, Hannah Montana's popularity begins to take over her life. Miley Stewart (Miley Cyrus), at the urging of her father (Billy Ray Cyrus), takes a trip to her hometown of Crowley Corners, Tennessee to get perspective on what matters the most in life.

Composer Austin Wintory Scores


Winner of Jury Prize at France’s Gerardmer Film Festival

Los Angeles, CA – Film composer Austin Wintory’s latest project, the psychological thriller Grace, continues on the festival circuit after winning the Jury Prize at France’s prestigious Gerardmer International Fantasy Film Festival in early February. Grace, writer/director Paul Solet’s feature debut, screens at South by Southwest on March 14, 17 and 21 at 11:59 p.m. at the Alamo Ritz 1. Wintory was at Sundance last month for the premiere of Grace; his film last year, Captain Abu Raed, won the Audience Award and received critical acclaim for the score. At 26 years old, Wintory has been BAFTA nominated and last year was presented with an award for “Best New Film Composer.”

Wintory’s role in the production of Grace went a step further than that of a typical composer. As a friend of director Paul Solet, Wintory was involved with the film very early on. Before any filming occurred, Wintory wrote 20 minutes of music based on the script, and then flew to the set to play the music for the actors and discuss their characters. None of that music was ever meant to be part of the score; Wintory wrote entirely new music for the finished film.

For his Grace score, Wintory took an experimental approach. The score consists of manipulated sounds, including recordings of creaking floorboards on the set, a baby crying and flies buzzing. Wintory even used traditional instruments in non-traditional ways, weaving a piece of plastic through the strings of a cello and assembling the largest group of clarinets ever recorded in London at Abbey Road. The score also features vocalist Lisbeth Scott (Captain Abu Raed, Passion of the Christ). Scott wrote lyrics to the lullaby sung by the mother, which is repeated as a theme sung by Scott throughout the score. “I have no intention of ever working with another composer,” said Solet.

Austin Wintory taught himself how to compose, orchestrate and conduct in high school, before attending NYU and USC. His first short film at NYU won a local scoring competition and premiered at New York’s Lincoln Center. At USC, Wintory studied under Golden Globe nominated composer Christopher Young (The Shipping News, Spider-Man 3). In the three years since beginning his professional career, Wintory received a BAFTA nomination for the videogame flOw, was named “Best New Film Composer” at the Hollywood Music Awards and was listed as an Oscar contender for Captain Abu Raed by the Los Angeles Times. His upcoming film projects include the drama The River Why, starring William Hurt and Amber Heard.

Grace stars Jordan Ladd as a pregnant woman who loses her unborn child though a sudden tragic accident. She carries the stillborn baby to term, where she miraculously wills the delivered corpse into life. But it is not too long before the increasingly isolated mother realizes that something is not right with baby Grace, and she must make horrible sacrifices to keep her living.


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