The World Soundtrack Awards were launched in 2001 as a way of honouring an often forgotten but crucial component of films: film music and their composers. These prestigious film music awards recognise outstanding achievements by honouring the Film Composer of the Year, TV Composer of the Year, Best Original Song, Discovery of the Year, Best Original Score for a Belgian Production and the Public Choice Award. The Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to a film composer with an exceptional career, while the Sabam Award for Best Original Composition by a Young Composer goes to the winner of the Composition Contest.
The winners are announced during the annual World Soundtrack Awards Concert. At the concert, Brussels Philharmonic, conducted by Maestro Dirk Brossé, music director of Film Fest Ghent, performs a selection of music by the guests of honour and the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, accompanied by film clips on big screens.
The official institution behind the WSAwards is the World Soundtrack Academy. The WSAcademy is an international community of screen composers and industry professionals that supports the art of film music through cultural, promotional, educational and professional activities. The WSAcademy promotes film music worldwide through the annual presentation of the WSAwards, as well as through the development of other promotional activities. The WSAcademy supports both emerging and established composers for screen.
Through the organisation of film music seminars, masterclasses, workshops and other activities at Film Fest Ghent, the WSAcademy actively contributes to the education and study of this art form. The WSAcademy engages itself in the preservation of the history of film music through recordings, publications and the development of an archive.
The WSAcademy also develops initiatives that are aimed at offering public platforms to new film music talent and networking activities for the creatives and industry professionals involved in music and sound for screen.