BIFF options dialogue with movie music composers | Native Information

BELOIT – As part of this year’s Beloit International Film Festival, the organizers welcomed some special guests for a question-and-answer session on composing music in the film industry.

Oscar-winning composer Rachel Portman, 60, said she fell in love with music composing as a teenager and later pursued a career.

“I like to tell stories in music,” Portman said. “They are like short stories. I like to write music for everything. “

The virtual presentation on Friday was one of several events planned for the 16th annual Beloit International Film Festival (BIFF).

During the event, which was broadcast live on the BIFF Facebook page and YouTube channel, BIFF managing directors Greg Gerard and Portman gave comments and showed clips from films such as “Chocolat” (2000), “Emma” (1996) and “Never Let Me Go” (2010) and more.

Portman is also known for her composition work in films such as Mona Lisa Smile (2003), The Cider House Rules (1999) and Benny & Joon (1993).

Beloit Native people, rising stars and internationally recognized composers in the film industry, Pierre Charles III and Jonathan Bartz – both proud alumni of Beloit Memorial High School – also came to Portman online to answer questions.

Charles remembered when he was a student at BMHS that he was part of the school’s wind ensemble and played a score called “Atlantis” by Bartz. The students at the time appeared in a national competition in Tennessee.

“Well, it’s funny that we’re both on this panel together,” said Charles.

The exchange included discussions on topics ranging from working with different directors to finding inspiration for scores to balancing work and private life and opportunities for uniqueness.

“We are really open as musicians,” said Portman. “It all comes from something we loved or heard as kids, and a lot of composers are really smart at working with things that influenced them or that they really loved.”

Portman touched how challenging music writing for comedy films is. Portman said that’s because the composer has to add a slight touch without making it clear that the audience should laugh at certain moments.

When asked by Bartz how she steered her career as a composer, which has long been a male-dominated area of ​​the film industry, Portman said she focused on her own work and never gave up.

Portman added that more and more women are entering the composition field and being credited for big movies or shows. She said the industry is catching up in terms of representation.

“I was totally determined, and that would be my advice to anyone who is young. You have to be very persistent and learn everything. Be ready to take care of all aspects, ”Portman said.

Gerard said he was thrilled to bring the three composers together virtually to share their wealth of knowledge with the audience.

To see a replay of the entire event with Portman, visit the BIFF Facebook page or visit their website at

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