World Soundtrack Academy establishes new rules for World Soundtrack Awards eligibility

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News 23 Mar 2021
The World Soundtrack Academy, the premier organization preserving and celebrating the art of film music, has announced rule changes for World Soundtrack Awards eligibility. Most importantly, scores for feature-length documentary films will from now on be eligible for the WSAwards for Film Composer of the Year, Discovery of the Year and the Public Choice Award.

Highlighting the ever-growing importance and prominence of documentary film, the World Soundtrack Academy Board has decided to make feature-length documentary films eligible for the annual and coveted World Soundtrack Awards. From WSA2021 on, scores for documentaries will be up for the awards for Film Composer of the Year, Discovery of the Year, Best Original Song, Best Original Score for a Belgian Production and the Public Choice Award. Distinctions - whether between actor and actress, comedy and drama, or documentary and fiction - seem increasingly arbitrary. Petite fille, a documentary by Sébastien Lifshitz won the 2020 Grand Prix for Best Film at Film Fest Ghent, the host of the WSAwards. It proved the perfect catalyst for the WSAcademy to confirm the rule change.

Further acknowledging evolutions in composing and writing music for screen, the WSAcademy also makes TV series eligible for the category Best Original Song. Since 2016, the World Soundtrack Awards honour the Television Composer of the Year. The eligibility of TV series for Best Original Song is the logical next step in confirming the varied work of composers and lyricists for screen.

Wim De Witte, programme director of Film Fest Ghent: "In recent years, we have noticed that soundtracks have become an increasingly important part of documentary filmmaking. In portraying real world situations, film makers use music to set the tone and rhythm of their
film whilst at the same time ensuring it does not disrupt the emotional involvement of the spectator. This is a delicate balance and crucial for the authenticity of the film. Therefore, after twenty years focusing solely on fiction films, we are pleased to announce the scope of the World Soundtrack Awards will be broadened to include documentary filmmaking. This will enable us to recognize the magnificent work done by composers in this area."

Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the industry, scores for films which premiered on a streaming TV service that commissions original content will also be eligible. Members of the World Soundtrack Academy will be able to submit composers and songs for consideration in the categories Film Composer of the Year, Television Composer of the Year and Best Original Song via Submissions are open between 1 April and 15 June and do not require an entry fee. The finalized lists of eligible composers and songs are approved by the WSA Advisory Board.

The WSA rule book can be found here.