FilmScore 2018 – its fourth year – was another triumph of quality over limited resources.

The competition was launched at FilmBath Festival 2017 (in November), with 4 excellent short films (minus their soundtrack) being made available to anyone aged 14-19 who wanted to enter.

The deadline for entries was the beginning of Febuary at which time we had a number of outstanding compositions from which we had to choose 5 for the Grand Final.

In the event, only 2 of the films were used by the shortlisted composers; one (called Mr. Night Has A Day Off), is a witty piece based on the notion of Mr. Night turning everything dark out of sheer whimsy.

The other popular choice was Chickens, though the title is deceptive. It is actually a romantic comedy about a couple who seem determined to ignore their mutual attraction, despite the elephant in the room that accompanies them everywhere – though they are unable to see it (we can). Chickens make only a brief and unexplained appearance.

Paradoxically, this made the competition more intriguing, since the audience and judges could see competing scores for the same film, making it in some ways easier to determine which one fits the images most aptly.

The five finalists were invited to the Grand Final at Komedia, in front of an audience of enthusiasts, friends and family; along with Alastair King is an orchestrator, conductor and composer in film and television in both the UK and Hollywood. His Film and TV projects include Wonder Woman, Downton Abbey, The Martian, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and Doctor Who.

Lilian Henley has written for both contemporary film and silent films which she accompanies live at events and festivals including Bath Film Festival, the British Silent Film Festival, Barbican Centre, Fashion in Film Festival, Hoxton Hall, Cinema Museum in London.

Hutch Demouilpied is a composer, sound designer and musician who has recently completed the soundtrack to the feature film The Levelling  Her songs and music have been used in film and television projects around the world and she has collaborated with film-makers, animators, artists, choreographers and theatre directors.

The finalists were:

Ben Hywell-Davies

James Gabb

Louis Benneyworth

Samuel MacDonald

Jasmine Meaden

The first part of the evening was a fascinating conversation with the judges about how they became involved in the business of composing music for film and television; and what lessons they would pass on to the young people following in their footsteps. In some ways, this was the most useful part of the occasion, since it is wisdom straight from the horse’s mouth.

The next stage is for each film to be shown, succeeded by a brief conversation with the young composer. They were all articulate and dealt with the pressure of being in front of an audience very well.

After all 5 compositions and films had been shown, it was down to the judges to go away and consider their verdict. And the audience also got to have their say. Every audience member was given a voting slip on their arrival at Komedia, and the interval was their chance to think about which one they liked best, as well as discussing options with friends and neighbours.

Finally, the judges returned and took it in turns to talk about each composition, what were its merits and how it might be improved. There was a general consensus that the standards were remarkably high and that choosing a winner from the five finalists was not an easy job.

In the end, the winner was announced.

Jasmine Meaden was the judges’ choice for her score for My Night’s Day Off. The prize for the winner was a half day of mentoring at the world famous Real World Studios near Box, where so many great albums have been made by some of the biggest names in music.

The winner of the Audience Prize was second time finalist, Sam MacDonald.

Even more important, everyone in the audience had a wonderful time; the young musicians were given a taste of how their careers might progress; and the judges were hugely impressed with what they had seen and heard. You can see photos of the evening here – and watch a short film of it here.

Roll on FilmScore 2019!