Universal Filmed Entertainment Group’s (UFEG) Global Talent Development & Inclusion group today announced the launch of the Universal Film Music Composer Initiative. The initiative has been designed to develop burgeoning and novice composers who have had limited or no access to the studio production process by engaging them through yearly assignments across various UFEG labels. The composers will have the opportunity to work with filmmakers, executives and other talent from within Universal Pictures and Focus Features, as well as DreamWorks Animation, Universal 1440 Entertainment and Awesomeness.
The Universal Film Music Composer Initiative: DreamWorks Animation partnership was successfully piloted by Universal and DreamWorks Animation last fall, when composer Nora Kroll-Rosenbaum wrote and recorded the musical score for DWA’s short Bird Karma, directed by William Salazar. Kroll-Rosenbaum landed a 2015 Grammy for Best Engineered Album, Classical (“Ask Your Mama”) and started composing on video-games. Since then her work has extended to docs and TV series.
Selected composers will have access to the scoring and production process, shadowing studio sessions, and mentoring with creative and production studio executives. Participating artists will receive a financial grant to refine their compositions, as well as have the opportunity to see their work fully executed at an orchestral-scoring session.
“Alongside our inaugural partners at DreamWorks Animation, we take great pride in launching this groundbreaking initiative, one imagined to identify and empower a new generation of talent in the film-music-composer community,” said Mike Knobloch, President, Global Film Music and Publishing, Universal Pictures in a statement. “As we seek out underrepresented artists, this effort furthers our commitment to inclusion and championing voices that demand to be heard. Working with Nora enabled us to look beyond the typical pool of available composers and bring her unique, fresh perspective to the project.”
“Nora’s compositions for our short film Bird Karma astutely and elegantly interpreted the artistry and subtle tones of William’s vision,” lauded Chris deFaria, President, DreamWorks Animation Film Group. “This program through Universal Film Music dovetails beautifully with our recently launched DreamWorks shorts initiative, which likewise develops emerging artists within our ranks. Once we recognized the value of combining these two innovative programs to create unique collaborations between music and film, everything fell into place.”
“Access and awareness are the driving forces behind this unique initiative targeting diverse and female talent in a traditionally restrictive landscape where a recent study revealed that less than two percent of film composers are women,” said Janine Jones-Clark, Senior Vice President, Global Talent Development & Inclusion. “Universal has a rich history of cultivating talent that reflects our globally diverse audience, and we look forward to building upon this legacy in the music space.”
Composer submissions for consideration for the DreamWorks Animation’s shorts program will be accepted through April 15, 2018, or until 100 eligible applications are received, whichever comes first.