The Screen Music Lab, a joint program between the SOCAN Foundation and SOCAN, took place at the legendary Piccolo studio in Montréal, from Nov. 15-17, 2023. Over the course of three days, eight Canadian composers came together to re-think the music of selected excerpts from director Marianne Farley’s 2019 Oscar-nominated short film, Marguerite.
The three days of creativity immersed the artists in the reality of the business, with deadlines, collaboration, artistic choices, and enriching human relationships. Director Marianne Farley and accomplished composer Michel Corriveau were on hand to guide participants in their endeavours, and to share their valuable experience. Participants also benefited from the advice of Robert Kraft, formerly President at Fox Music/20th Century, and current Founding Director of Kraft Box Entertainment.
A 13-piece orchestra, led by Benoit Groulx, joined the cohort on the second day to record their scores. This culminated in a third day of mixing and final touch-ups, as well as a round-table discussion with renowned Montréal-based saxophonist, multi-instrumentalist, and soundtrack composer Colin Stetson, culminating in a screening of the final cut versions in the company of industry professionals.
“It was a major challenge for the composers, both artistically, and in terms of relationships and time management,” says Julien Boumard Coallier, Program Manager at the SOCAN Foundation. Coallier organized the Lab in collaboration with Gagan Singh, Creative Relations Executive for Film, Television, and Visual Media at SOCAN. “Everyone showed great professionalism and dedication. Their talent as composers is not only skill-based, it also lies in the humanity they’ve shown in their collaborative work. That is why I believe they have a promising future.”
For her part, director Marianne Farley said she was very grateful to have been able to experience this precious moment. “My experience as a mentor-director during the SOCAN Foundation and SOCAN’s Screen Music Lab was incredibly rewarding,” she says. “As a filmmaker, I rarely have the opportunity to explore multiple musical options on a single project. Being able to collaborate with eight different composers is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Thanks to this program, I was able to discover some very talented artists, and further my reflection on the importance of collaboration between film directors and music composers.”
If the Screen Music Lab experience itself has been positive, the spin-offs could prove even more so, as there are already collaboration opportunities on the horizon for its participants, following the final listening session with industry professionals in attendance.
Stephanie Hamelin Tomala
Julien Boumard Coallier
Tessy Pokuah Paquin
Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television
M for Montréal