Film Music at the TJFF: May 5-12, 2012

May 5, 2012 | By | Add a Comment

'Why do I keep hearing a jazzy piano solo?'

Sat. May 5

Although it’s officially Day 3 of the Toronto Jewish Film Festival, today marks the beginning of the film music sidebar series, The Sound of Movies: Masters of the Film Score.

Toronto author & film critic Kevin Courrier begins the series with his FREE talk, Notes and Frames: The Neglected Art of Film Music, at 1pm at Innis Town Hall. For a taste of Courrier’s insight & humour, the CBC’s archived his talk with Fresh Air’s Mary Ito, which originally aired this morning at 7:30am.

Also at Innis, Courrier’s talk will be followed at 3pm with a FREE screening of the documentary Music for the Movies: Bernard Herrmann, which is part of a 4-episode series that ran on PBS and Brava several years ago.



Sun. May 6

Also part of the PBS series is Music for the Movies: The Hollywood Sound, which is being introduced by curator Ellie Skrow. The doc screens at the Al Green Theatre at 12pm, and is also FREE.

Back at Innis, at 3:30pm Canadian composer Mychael Danna will introduce an archival 35mm screening of the original Planet of the Apes, which features a superb score by Jerry Goldsmith.

The day’s film music series ends with a screening of Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation, and composer David Shire will both introduce the film and re-emerge for a discussion & Q&A with Kevin Courrier after the screening.



Mon. May 7

Shire returns for an intro & discussion for a screening of the once impossible-to-see teleplay Evening Primrose at 3:15pm, at the Al Green Theatre.

Closing the day at 8:30pm at the Bloor is a rare screening of The Last Butterfly, based on the novel by Canadian author (and my screenwriting prof) Michael Jacot. In addition to a rarely-seen NBC interview that’ll precede the film, Last Butterfly’s producer, Steven North, will provide an introduction, and will return for a Q&A with myself after the film, focusing on the movie and the film’s composer, Alex North, his amazing father. After the Q&A there’ll be a rare screening of the Emmy Award-winning doc The Gingerbread Revolution, about Czechoslovakia’s Velvet Revolution which occurred during filming.



Wed. May 9

At 3pm at the Al Green Theatre there’s a screening of the doc Michael Nyman in Progress + the Howard Shore featurette “A Composer’s Dream,” and at 8pm the theatre will screening Jack Garfein’s Something Wild (1961), starring Carroll Baker & Ralph Meeker, and featuring a jazzy score by Aaron Copland.



Fri. May 11

At the Al Green Theatre at 4:30pm, I’ll introduce a screening of a rare live TV appearance by American Musical Theatre: Elmer Bernstein from 1960, plus two Charles & Ray Eames shorts scored by Bernstein: “House: After Five Years of Living” and “Tops”.



Sat. May 12

The sidebar series’ concludes with a FREE screening of the rarely seen doc Film Music Masters: Jerry Goldsmith (which comes from a broadcast quality master, not DVD) at the Bloor Cinema. Yes, Goldsmith at the Bloor at 4pm on a big screen with the cinema’s gorgeous new sound system. Somewhere in Heaven co-director Fred Karlin is smiling, and maybe saying ‘It’s about time!’ He worked hard on the damned thing, and fans will enjoy the plethora of film clips, music clips, and home movie clips of the Composer God who scored Alien, Gremlins, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and guilty pleasures like The Boys from Brazil and Damnation Alley – the latter a barely function film if not for a great, grim soundtrack.

The final program at the Bloor at 7pm (and FREE) is Movie Music: A Portrait of Lalo Schifrin, a doc which joins the composer during a concert tour, and has him reminiscing about his amazing career in jazz, film, and the concert world. If time permits this week, I’ll have a review of his autobiography, but until then, here’s a short interview done at the time of the book’s publication.

I think I’ve said this before, but this may be the most film music-related material & appearances at one time in Toronto. Even if you’re mildly curious about movie music & its makers, try out a few screenings, because based on the success of this series, it could provoke programmers in T.O. to add film music related content in additional festivals. We have a glut of film festivals, and every culture has its musical heroes. (Yes, I came up with that sappy tag line all by myself.)

Lastly, do check out the other screenings at the TJFF, because there’s a lot of music-related docs that are not or aren’t easily available on home video. There’s nothing worse than missing a film that sounded intriguing in the catalogue, and it never reappears again. Hate that, particularly when you forget the name.

Skip work, lie about being sick, and pretend you’re ‘at a conference’ at your discretion (but don’t drag my name into it).



Mark R. Hasan, Editor ( Main Site / Mobile Site )

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