Screen Music Awards 2019 – the sweetest comp of all

The Screen Music Awards are back and the judges have expert ears so its game on for the clash of the composers.

The 2019 Screen Music Awards are off and running again, and the 2019 contenders have been announced. There are a lot of musicians who work in the smaller, more voluntary end of the screen world, but only a small cohort who build a career on larger projects. 

So the same names go round and round, but their work is exquisite. Practice does make perfect, and the discipline requires a deep understanding of composition, film, storytelling and found sound. And the discipline to realise that less is more. 

This year the awards, supported by APRA and AMCOSS, are at the Forum in Melbourne on November 20. 

One of the pleasures of the list is the way that it has absolutely no respect for mainstream, and honours challenges. So the feature contenders are 

Title                             Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan
Composed by              Caitlin Yeo
Published by                Cas Music Australia obo Copyright Administration Films
Title                             I Am Mother
Composed by              Dan Luscombe and Antony Partos
Title                             Jirga
Composed by              AJ True
Title                             Judy and Punch
Composed by              François Tétaz
Published by                Sony/ATV Music Publishing and Rubber Music Publishing

Caitlin Yeo has a lovely cv and she is also president of the guild. Her work on Danger Close has seven vocalists, two violins, two violas, two cellos, one contrabass and two percussionists. Caitlin Yeo provided the flute, accordian and piano.

In the partnership to musicalise the science fiction film I am Mother, Dan Luscombe has also worked on Jindabyne and Hounds of Love, while Antony Partos has a huge cv which takes him from the sonic world of a Pacific Island community to the Sherpas on Everest. 

Jirga is a tiny film, and a quest into the backblocks of Afghanistan which is pretty spiritual. Composer AJ True is known for his work as co-founder and drummer of psychobilly band Zombie Ghost Train. But he has also written for Red Dog, Underbelly, True Blood, Home and Away and Star Wars Burlesque.

Judy and Punch must have been a lovely challenge for François Tétaz since it is quasi-medieval, quasi-theatrical, quasi-European and mostly a fable with outburst of anti-comic violence. Tétaz is mostly involved in the recording industry for which he has a Grammy and an ARIA. In film he has done The Square, Wolf Creek (for which he has a Screen Music Award) and Rogue.

The organisers are always keen to emphasise the new names in the list alongside the veterans which also include Briony Marks, Cezary Skubiszewski, David Bridie, Amanda Brown and Burkhard Dallwitz.

According to the release, ‘The 2019 roll-call also features first time nominees Piers Burbrook de Vere, Brontë Horder, Andrew Sampford, AJ True, Sophia Brous, Mirrah Foulkes, Rory Chenoweth and Luke Altmann.’

Here is the rest of the list: 

Best Music for a Documentary
Title                             2040    
Composed by              Bryony Marks
Published by                Kobalt Music Publishing obo Lillipilli IP
Title                             Australia’s Lost Impressionist
Composed by              David Bridie
Published by                Mushroom Music
Title                             The Cult of the Family 
Composed by              Amanda Brown
Published by                Kobalt Music Publishing obo Lillipilli IP
Title                             The Leunig Fragments
Composed by              Luke Altmann
Best Music for a Short Film
Title                             Cernunnos
Composed by              Rory Chenoweth
Title                             For the Girl in the Coffee Shop
Composed by              Angela Little
Title                             Shiloh
Composed by              Freya Berkhout
Title                             Sohrab & Rustum
Composed by              Burkhard Dallwitz
Best Soundtrack Album
Title                             2040
Composed by              Bryony Marks
Published by                Kobalt Music Publishing obo Lillipilli IP
Title                             Little Monsters
Composed by              Piers Burbrook de Vere
Title                             Me and My Left Brain
Composed by              Cezary Skubiszewski
Title                             The Merger
Composed by              David Bridie
Published by                Mushroom Music
Best Original Song Composed for the Screen
Title                             Be My Girl from The Craft
Composed by              Justin Shave
Title                             Day by Day from Fourteen
Composed by              Brontë Horder
Title                             Every Day My Mother’s Voice from The Final Quarter
Composed by              Paul Kelly
Published by                Sony/ATV Music Publishing
Title                             Firesong from Judy and Punch
Composed by              Sophia Brous, François Tétaz* and Mirrah Foulkes 
Published by                Sony/ATV Music Publishing and Rubber Music Publishing*
Best Music for Children’s Television
Title                             Bill & Tony: Planet of the Socks
Composed by              Michael Lira
Title                             Bluey: Teasing
Composed by              Joff Bush
Published by                Universal Music Publishing obo BBCW Music Publishing
Title                             The Bureau of Magical Things: End of the Road
Composed by              Brett Aplin
Title                             The Pilgrims Progress
Composed by              Michael Dooley
Best Television Theme
Title                             Bloom
Composed by              Antony Partos
Published by                Sonar Music
Title                             Dead Lucky
Composed by              Michael Yezerski
Title                             The Bureau of Magical Things
Composed by              Brett Aplin
Title                             The Pacific: In the Wake of Captain Cook with Sam Neill
Composed by              Caitlin Yeo
Best Music for a Television Series or Serial
Title                             Bloom: The Memory Box
Composed by              Jackson Milas and Antony Partos
Published by                Sonar Music
Title                             Secret City: Run Little Rabbit
Composed by              David Bridie
Published by                Mushroom Music
Title                             Tidelands: Not One of You
Composed by              Matteo Zingales
Published by                Sonar Music
Title                             You Can’t Ask That: Alcoholics
Composed by              Andrew Sampford
Published by                ABC Music Publishing
Best Music for a Mini-Series or Telemovie
Title                             Dead Lucky
Composed by              Michael Yezerski 
Title                             Fighting Season
Composed by              Daniel Denholm
Title                             Lambs of God 
Composed by              Bryony Marks
Published by                Kobalt Music Publishing obo LilliPilli IP
Title                             Ms Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries 
Composed by              Burkhard Dallwitz, Brett Aplin and Dmitri Golovko
Best Music for an Advertisement
Title                             Dan Murphy’s
Composed by              Adrian Sergovich
Published by                Song Zu Publishing
Title                             HP Indigo
Composed by              Dmitri Golovko
Title                             Jewel Changi Airport
Composed by              Gerard Fitzgerald
Published by                Song Zu Publishing
Title                             Where Inspiration Lives: Sydney Opera House
Composed by              Caitlin Yeo
Most Performed Screen Composer – Australia*
Composers                   Adam Gock and Dinesh Wicks
Composer                    Jay Stewart
Composer                    Mitch Stewart
Composer                    Neil Sutherland
Most Performed Screen Composer – Overseas*
Composer                    Alastair Ford
Composer                    Jed Kurzel
Composer                    Neil Sutherland
Composer                    Nerida Tyson-Chew

David Tiley was the Editor of Screenhub from 2005 until he became Content Lead for Film in 2021 with a special interest in policy. He is a writer in screen media with a long career in educational programs, documentary, and government funding, with a side order in script editing. He values curiosity, humour and objectivity in support of Australian visions and the art of storytelling.