LSM Newswire

Monday, September 21, 2009

Local arts organizations partner to present Emerging Composer-Director Mentorship Program

Halifax, NS – Four emerging Atlantic Canadian film composers will soon have the opportunity to produce and record their compositions live with Symphony Nova Scotia during the 29th Atlantic Film Festival.

The Guild of Canadian Film Composers, Symphony Nova Scotia, and the Atlantic Film Festival Association are proud to present an Emerging Composer-Director Program as part of the “Music & Image” program at this year’s Atlantic Film Festival. Atlantic Canadian composers Duane Andrews, David Christensen, Cy Giacomin, and Robert Kenning have been chosen to work with regional independent filmmakers Rachel Bower, Andrea Dorfman, Aram Kouyoumjian, and Adam Perry to create original film scores which will be recorded by the Symphony in partnership with producer Hayward Parrott of St. Cecilia Studios.

Under the direction of award winning film composer and GCFC vice-chair Darren Fung, this innovative program is the first of its kind in Atlantic Canada, and gives these filmmakers and composers hands-on experience recording orchestral music for film from start to finish. Not only will participants work directly with musicians, orchestrators, and sound engineers, but they will also benefit from mentorship, feedback, and real-life considerations such as time constraints and on-the-spot revisions.

“The cooperation of all four partners is truly a testament to the incredible artistic and production communities that exist in Atlantic Canada,” says Fung. “This is a unique program that highlights the importance of the director-composer relationship, as well as the importance of original music in film and television.”

“This program came out of a strong desire for the Symphony and the Film Festival to collaborate with others within the regional cultural sector," adds Erika Beatty, CEO of Symphony Nova Scotia. “It’s so exciting for the Symphony to help give voice to the thoughts and ideas of these young artists.”

“The Atlantic Film Festival is very excited to be building on the phenomenal success of the ‘Music and Image’ program, our regional collaboration with the East Coast Music Association, with another partnership that opens up new relationships and markets for Atlantic Canadian musicians and filmmakers,” says Andrea Thomas, Director of Operations with the Atlantic Film Festival Association.

The finished productions will be screened to an audience of Atlantic Film Festival industry delegates in an “open house” format. At the screening, participants will host a panel to discuss the highlights and challenges of their experiences. For more information, contact Alyson Sanders at or 902.420.4577.


Robert Kenning (Wolfville, NS)
A recent graduate of the Selkirk College Music and Technology Program, Andrew is working toward a career in film and media composition. While at Selkirk College he studied composition and film scoring with Genie-nominated composer Don MacDonald. As a saxophone player, he has performed with a wide variety of groups, from symphonic wind ensembles to rock bands, with experience writing and arranging for jazz big bands and combos, rock groups, string quartets, and other chamber ensembles.

Duane Andrews (St. John’s, NL)
Duane is an emerging composer based in St. John's, NL who is presently focused on orchestral music. He has received funding from the Canada Council for the Arts to develop his orchestral writing and will be working with the Newfoundland Symphony Youth Orchestra this fall to develop music under the mentorship of composer Jim Duff. Duane has composed and produced a multitude of film scores and was recently awarded Instrumental Album of the Year in 2009 at the East Coast Music Awards.

David Christensen (Halifax, NS)
David is an emerging composer based in Halifax, NS and has created compositions for film, television and theatre. He has worked with Symphony Nova Scotia as well as such artists as Jenn Grant, Joel Plaskett and Gordie Sampson. He was awarded Best Original Score at the 28th Atlantic Film Festival for his work on Good Morning Kandahar.

Cy Giacomin (Halifax, NS)
Having recently completed his bachelor of music in composition at Dalhousie University, Cy has gained the tools and training to develop his technique as a composer and orchestrator, and plans to continue improving these skills at the master’s level at McGill University. Cy’s experience with orchestra began as a performer (trombone and piano), and since then he has taken up orchestral composition and conducting as well.


Adam Perry (Charlottetown, PE)
Adam was raised in Stratford, PEI and has always had a passion for storytelling. He graduated from Holland College with a diploma in Graphic Design but then felt compelled to learn more about filmmaking. Being a life-long student, he took what he knew about websites and filmmaking and began making entertainment for the internet. In 2006, he directed a well-received short comedic film called Profile PEI, which was developed into the nationally recognized web series of the same name ( Shortly after Profile PEI’s first season, Adam received a healthy short-film grant which he used to make the film Jiggers.

Andrea Dorfman (Halifax, NS)
Andrea Dorfman started making Super 8 films with friends in high school before graduating from Montreal’s McGill University in 1992. She graduated from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax in 1995 and then wrote, directed, shot and edited several experimental short films through the Atlantic Filmmakers Co-op while working as a camera assistant in Halifax’s commercial film industry. In 1998 she made her first dramatic short film, Swerve, as well as Nine, a half-hour documentary. Both films earned her the award for Most Promising New Director at the Atlantic Film Festival and went on to play at many international festivals. Andrea has a lengthy list of award-winning work throughout her career in directing, producing and writing.

Aram Kouyoumjian (Bayside, NS)
In the twelve years since Aram’s first film, he has run the gauntlet in production experience. His years in industry sound recording have allowed him much time on the front lines of the creative process of filmmaking. This experience and a longtime love of music and storytelling has led to an interesting exploration of music videos and short films, yielding several nods from the industry, including a Juno nomination and a MuchMusic Video Award nomination (In Flight Safety’s The Coast is Clear), and the CBC/NSFDC Bridge Award in 2006 for his third half-hour television project. Aram’s interest in telling stories through larger-than-life fantasies has led to his being called “Halifax’s Michel Gondry” by some and “smartly over-ambitious” by others.

Rachel Bower (Halifax, NS)
Rachel was one of 25 professional crew members from across Canada chosen to participate in the Women in the Director’s Chair Workshop at the Banff Centre for Arts. Rachel has been a camera operator and editor for the Outdoor Life Network’s action series 16mm. She has also worked as a camera assistant and Steadicam focus puller for 70 episodes of CBC’s drama series Edgemont. Creating documentaries feeds Rachel’s natural curiosity about the history and humanity of people, and her ten-minute Nigerian-based documentary, Akain Wari: Building the Niger Delta, has been screened at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in South Africa. Her film Time Apart: A History of Hope, funded by the National Film Board, the Linda Joy Media Arts Society, and CTV, is currently on the film festival circuit. Rachel works at CTV in Halifax, Nova Scotia as a camera operator.

About Symphony Nova Scotia
Symphony Nova Scotia is Nova Scotia’s orchestra. Each year more than 50,000 audience members (including 15,000 young music lovers) join us in communities across Nova Scotia for performances of the music they love – from baroque and classical to pop and rock and folk. Under the inspirational leadership of Music Director Bernhard Gueller, Symphony Nova Scotia is recognized as one of the finest orchestras in the country. Visit to learn more, listen online, or subscribe today!

About the Atlantic Film Festival Association
The Atlantic Film Festival Association (AFFA) is a non-profit organization committed to promoting and building a strong cultural industry in Canada, and presenting the best materials from this region and around the world to our community. The creative professional team making up the Association is based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and is the largest cultural organization in Atlantic Canada. The Association has developed a year-round calendar of events to facilitate, through professional and business development platforms, sustained economic growth for the Atlantic Canadian film, television and music industry.

About the GCFC
The Guild of Canadian Film Composers is a national association of professional composers and music producers for film, television and new media, whose purpose is to further the interests of its members in liaison with Canada’s cultural industries and agencies, media producers and music publishers, educational institutions and the public.

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