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CineMart X Buma Powerlunch

A Buma Cultuur roundtable to discuss music, sound design and film

By Young Film Critic Hectór Oyarzun Galaz

In film schools, they teach you that, in theory, sound represents 50% of the film, but in the practice, there is a tendency to use sound merely as a secondary tool. Screenwriting tends to be the focus in the development stage, neglecting sound design and music as a last moment process.

This is particularly visible when we notice how often sound and music are the last hurried step in the long process of making a film. What could be the benefit of including music in the creative process in a much earlier stage? 

This was the question that gathered composers, filmmakers, and producers in the roundtable organized by Buma Music in Motion at IFFR's Cinemart. Hayet Benkara – a Toronto-based Film Industry Advisor, and one of the two roundtable moderators – stated that "just having this conversation" was a good starting point to make sound and music a priority for filmmakers. The participants of the table remarked the importance of improving communication between everyone involved in the process.

A fluent conversation between filmmakers, producers, composers, and consultants could improve sound design as a crucial part of the process. The participants also highlighted the importance of having a good balance between sound design and music. If the film has a previous strong sound concept elaborated by the filmmaker, music and sound design can potentiate each other instead of competing.

"Film business is about communication", Benkara said. Film festivals were mentioned as one of the best instances to communicate with different talents at one place. Just liking somebody can be the reason to start a fruitful collaboration. Film Festivals, like IFFR, gather talented people from all over the world at the same time, which creates a perfect occasion to find someone suitable for a certain project. Raising the importance of sound and music in the film industry is a matter of communication. 

There is a lot of work still pending, according to the participants of the discussion. The underestimation of sound design and music as a crucial narrative device is still a common case in the film industry. The speed of the development stage doesn’t leave room for a creative use of sound. The film industry needs to take a moment to rethink their way of work with sound and music. Nevertheless, including sound design in an earlier stage of development could be on of the ways to think of sound in a conceptual way. Sound design, music, and editing are the key elements that secretly can make a film stand out above the others. The discussion is just beginning.

Photo in header: CineMart X Buma Music in Motion