Volker Bertelmann, Nicholas Britell and Amelia Warner among winners at 23rd World Soundtrack Awards
Simon Franglen took home the Discovery of the Year Award, while Amelia Warner was honoured with the Public Choice Award. Film Fest Gent’s Music Director, Maestro Dirk Brossé, who conducted Brussels Philharmonic on this magical evening, composed the Best Original Score for a Belgian Production. Nicola Piovani and Laurence Rosenthal each received a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Film Composer of the Year
Even the festive 50th edition of Film Fest Gent had to end sometime, and as tradition dictates, the conclusion of the festival was celebrated at the World Soundtrack Awards, the prestigious film music prizes at Film Fest Gent. Due to an ex-aequo, six composers - instead of the traditional five - were in the running for the coveted Film Composer of the Year Award, but Volker Bertelmann, also known by his stage name Hauschka, beat them all.
He has been nominated for the World Soundtrack Awards before: in 2018 for TV Composer of the Year for the Kit Harington-headed Gunpowder and Patrick Melrose, and in 2017 as Film Composer of the Year and Discovery of the Year for his score for Lion, co-composed with Dustin O’Halloran. The World Soundtrack Academy crowned him Film Composer of the Year for his scores for the Norwegian World War II feature War Sailor, the dystopian Memory of Water and the Oscar-winning World War I picture All Quiet on the Western Front. For his music for All Quiet on the Western Front, he has already picked up many prizes, including an Academy Award and a BAFTA.
Television Composer of the Year
Nicholas Britell has scored a hat-trick with his theme for Succession: he has won Television Composer of the Year for Season 2 in 2020, for Season 3 in 2022 and this year for Season 4, and for the first season of Andor. We can only wonder if Andor will make him as invincible in this category as Succession in the years to come. Britell has also received World Soundtrack Awards in other categories: he won Best Original Song for "Call Me Cruella" from Disney's Cruella in 2021, Film Composer of the Year in 2019 and Discovery of the Year in 2017.
Best Original Song
From the five nominated songs in the Best Original Song category, only one was from a series instead of a film. Yet, the song “Your Personal Trash Man Can” grabbed the win. The song features in the fifth season of The Marvelous Mrs Maisel and written by Thomas Mizer and Curtis Moore and performed by Phillip Attmore, Jake Corcoran, RJ Higton, Tommy Sutter, and the cast, that has convinced the Academy. “Your Personal Trash Man Can” is the second song from a series nominated and the first song from a series to win in this category.
Discovery of the Year
Simon Franglen is anything but a newcomer to the music industry. He collaborated on award-winning albums by the likes of Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson and Toni Braxton, and collaborated with composers such as Howard Shore for Se7en and James Horner for Titanic. With Avatar: The Way of Water, he takes over from Horner, who tragically passed away in 2016, as composer for the Avatar franchise. His score for the second Avatar instalment was an immediate success as he took home the Discovery of the Year Award tonight.
Public Choice Award
The Public Choice Award went to Amelia Warner for her score for the period drama Mr. Malcolm's List, based on Suzanne Allain’s novel of the same name. The score was well received by the audience and garnered the largest number of votes from film fans. It’s her first win, but Warner has been previously nominated in 2018 as Discovery of the Year for Mary Shelley and in 2021 for the Public Choice Award for Wild Mountain Thyme.
Sabam Award for Best Original Composition by a Young Composer
Composer Alec Sievern received the Sabam Award for Best Original Composition by a Young Composer. He convinced the jury with the score he wrote for a scene from Abzû, a video game developed by Giant Squid for which Austin Wintory composed the original score.
Best Original Score for a Belgian Production
Film Fest Gent Music Director Dirk Brossé won Best Original Score for a Belgian Production for his music for the breathtakingly shot documentary series and film Our nature (Onze natuur). Maestro Brossé was present to receive the award in person as he was conducting Brussels Philharmonic during the World Soundtrack Award Ceremony & Concert.
Lifetime Achievement Award
The oeuvres of composers Nicola Piovani, Laurence Rosenthal and Eiko Ishibashi took centre stage at the concert. The audience was delighted to hear Brussels Philharmonic perform a selection from Piovani’s work for the Fellini film Intervista (1987) and of course for La vita è bella (1997), and from Rosenthal’s work for Arthur Penn’s The Miracle Worker (1962) and the popular series The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles (1995), among others. During the ceremony, both Piovani and Rosenthal received a Lifetime Achievement Award. Composer Eiko Ishibashi, who won Discovery of the Year in 2022, wrote a suite inspired by both her music for Drive My Car and for Evil Does Not Exist especially for this evening, which was performed by Brussels Philharmonic.
WSA Game Music Award
On Thursday 19 October, the first World Soundtrack Award of 2023 was presented at Film Fest Gent’s PRESS PLAY: Music in Games concert. Australian composer and multi-instrumentalist River Boy (Narayana Johnson's solo artist moniker) has won the first WSA Game Music Award with his score for Cult of the Lamb. The concert was entirely dedicated to the world of video game scores, a historic first for the festival in its 50th edition.
WSA Industry Award
This year's WSA Industry Award was presented during the WSA Dinner on Friday 20 October to film music producer Robert Townson. Robert has been a lifelong champion of film composers through his over 1400 album releases for Varèse Sarabande, including 80 albums with the legendary Jerry Goldsmith, and an ongoing series of international concert productions. Now as president of Robert Townson Productions, he continues to celebrate film music through his lectures, writings, concerts and recordings. He has contributed significantly to general public awareness and appreciation of great film and television music. For these major contributions the World Soundtrack Academy presented him with this award.
Overview of the winners
- Film Composer of the Year
Volker Bertelmann for War Sailor, All Quiet on the Western Front & Memory of Water
- Television Composer of the Year
Nicholas Britell for Andor S01 & Succession S04
- Best Original Song
“Your Personal Trash Man Can” from The Marvelous Mrs Maisel S05, written by Thomas Mizer and Curtis Moore and performed by Phillip Attmore, Jake Corcoran, RJ Higton, Tommy Sutter, and Cast
- Discovery of the Year
Simon Franglen for Avatar: The Way of Water
- Public Choice Award
Amelia Warner for Mr. Malcolm's List
- Sabam Award for Best Original Composition by a Young Composer
- Best Original Score for a Belgian Production
Dirk Brossé for Our nature (Onze natuur)
- Lifetime Achievement Award
- WSA Game Music Award
River Boy (Narayana Johnson) for Cult of the Lamb
- WSA Industry Award