Established 13 years ago in Cologne, Germany, Soundtrack_Cologne has quickly become one of Europe’s most important congresses for the screen music industry. I got the chance to speak with CEO and Co-Founder of Soundtrack_Cologne, Michael P. Aust, who granted some insights into this year’s extensive program between August 24th and 28th.
Over 50 events in only three days
Packed with more than 50 panel discussions, workshops, concerts, and networking opportunities, it is important to give a general overview about the three day congress itself. To begin with, Soundtrack_Cologne is different to many other events in the screen music industry because of its focus on providing insights and networking opportunities from inside the industry. All main organisers – film producer Michael P. Aust, video games composer Helge Borgarts and composer Matthias Hornschuh – have been working in the industry for around two decades and therefore always strive to deliver a program that does not stop at highlighting the beauty of music in films, games and TV.
Every year Soundtrack_Cologne provides a platform for composers and sound designers, to gather new insights and connections from and with music supervisors, agents, PRO and political representatives, music professors and other working professionals in the industry. Apart from the extensive accompanying See the Sound film program every evening, Soundtrack_Cologne is divided in three Theme Days: Music in Games, on August 25th, Music in Film on the day after and concluding with a focus on Music in TV on Saturday.
From Cliff Martinez and Jasmin Reuter to the Pet Shop Boys and Nuendo
As an example for the packed daily schedules: During the Film Music day alone, up to seven events take place at the same time. In the thread focussing on film music, you will hear talks with composers Cliff Martinez (who will also receive this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award on the 27th), Ilan Eshkeri and Gary Yershon. Later that day, director Anne Zohra Berrached and composer Jasmin Reuter invite attendees to a workshop discussion on scoring 24 Weeks, a German Golden Berlin Bear-nominated drama about the polarizing topic of late-term abortion. In the morning Music Supervisors Thomas Golubic, Lynn Fainchtein, Pia Hoffmann und Milena Fessmann will provide insights into their work for TV and cinema highlights such as Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead or Birdman, followed by a matchmaking opportunity.
For everyone with a more hands-on approach, workshops are offered as well: In the morning on the 26th, visitors also have the chance to attend the workshop „A practical introduction to adaptive Games Music“ with Andreas Kolinski and Helge Borgarts. Then followed by a remix workshop with French Remix duo The Penelopes (known for their Lana del Rey and Pet Shop Boys Remixes) in the afternoon as well as an analysis of Legendary Television’s new Sound Logo, presented by creator and composer Frank Ilfman himself in an extensive insight from briefing to final recording. Also the sound logo’s orchestrator Matthew Slater will be present.
At the same day you can hear more about the importance of political involvement within the music industry: In the morning there will be a panel about the potential collection of data inside the screen music industry to show its ever rising potential to legitimize it as a growing market. In the afternoon you can hear more about the potential of blockchain (think Bitcoin) in the music industry or a discussion with Germany’s performance rights organisation GEMA (“GEMA for Beginners”).
Other highlights from the two other days include a workshop about Steinberg’s Nuendo Audio Post Production System, a film scoring workshop with composer Tuomas Kantelinen as well as an academic study on the impact of games music conducted by the Hanover University of Music, Drama and Media.
The fully packed three main days (25.-27.8., download program) are then always concluded by networking events, parties as well as the See the Sound film program that begins on the 24th and ends on the 28th (download program).
Discussing the many obstacles of Women Composers
Having four established working female composers among the guests, there will also be a general focus on women composers in the industry. Together with composers Miriam Cutler, co-founder and board member of “The Alliance for Women Film Composers“, the aforementioned Jasmin Reuter, Jessica Curry, as well as Francine Raveney, Head of Research and PR at the European Women’s Audiovisual Network, the many obstacles women composers have to face will be discussed.
Already at the Cannes Film Festival, the Soundtrack_Cologne organisers had conducted the European Film Music Day including a panel about female composers in the industry. Back then Laura Karpman, President of Alliance for Women Film Composers, stressed on the issue that only one to two percent of all films are scored by women and that the Alliance for Women Film Composers as well as other organizations are raising awareness for Women Composers to change these percentages.
Jessica Curry on the other hand last year published her extremely important, eye-opening, and thought-provoking open letter titled “Why I’m (sort of) leaving The Chinese Room” within which she also mentions the harsh reality as a female composer in the industry. Still few people know about these things happening on a daily basis and it is great to see that events like Soundtrack_Cologne offer a discussion platform to spread the word about these prodigious wrongdoings.
The many prestigious composer guests in an overview
As you can see, a wide range of topics awaits you at the end of August in Cologne and we look forward to meeting you when we report from this year’s Soundtrack_Cologne!
To conclude this little insight into the yet to be fully published program of this year’s Soundtrack_Cologne, here are some of the officially confirmed guests invited to this year’s edition summed up: