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Emerson, Berklee match student filmmakers

Bringing student composers and student filmmakers together in Boston is the aim of a new program that launched November 1.

The Visual and Media Arts Department in conjunction with Berklee College of Music’s Film Scoring program collaborated to present “Connecting Sound & Picture: A Networking Event for Visual Media, Music, and Sound Artists” in the Bright Family Screening Room as a part of the Bright Lights screening series. The event kicked off 48 hours of programming around Boston that addressed how to marry original composition with narrative and documentary film.

Berklee Assistant Chair of Film Scoring Alison Plante has worked hard to bring student composers and filmmakers together. For several years, she has put the call out to Emerson and other ProArts Consortium filmmakers to submit their pieces for a group of her composing students to choose from and collaborate with. The outcome, she explained, is “beyond beneficial for both students—the filmmaker gets a free film score, and both of them get the experience of working together on the process.” Collaboration is a hallmark of Boston’s ProArts Consortium since its founding in 1984. The Consortium is composed of six Boston institutions: Emerson, Berklee, Boston Architectural College, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston Conservatory, and School of the Museum of Fine Arts. Plante noted that it would be “silly not to let some of the best filmmakers in the city work with the only film scoring program in the area.”

Three short films (Impressing the Critic, Heartbeats and Christmas Trees, and Measuring Matthew) were shown during the showcase, followed by question-and-answer sessions with the director-composer pairs. Although all three pairs engaged in different collaborating processes, the peaks and valleys remained the same. “A lot of it is the language you use,” a filmmaker said. “You think you can describe what you want, but it’s a matter of communicating that.”  

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