Unpacking the News

A prize for music at the Cannes Festival? Maybe one day…

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#Cinema #Creation

Though rarely mentioned at the beginning of the credits, the composer is indeed a co-author of any cinematographic work, alongside the director and the scriptwriter — not just by virtue of intellectual property law, but above all because of his or her artistic contribution. The original musical creation contributes to the very identity of any film. The composer tells a story without being seen, and writes without being read.

The scriptwriter builds the story, the director brings it to life, and the composer — the third author — gives the images a sonic soul that captivates, stirs, illustrates, and sometimes transports entire scenes.

It is impossible to imagine “The Big Blue” without Eric Serra’s soundtrack, “A Man and a Woman” without Francis Lai’s melody, “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg” without Michel Legrand’s score, “The Artist” without Ludovic Bource’s notes, “The Shape of Water” without Alexandre Desplat’s soundtrack, or the shower scene in Hitchcock’s Psycho without Bernard Herrmann’s music.

Yet still…

At Cannes, the world’s most prestigious film festival, a melting pot of cinematographies, a meeting place of art and industry … music has not received an award in the official selection for more than 40 years. Even though composers and directors agree that music and cinema form a winning duo.

Cinema is the reason I wanted to be a music composer. Writing music for a film, marrying sound with image, that’s what stimulates me, what drives my passion!

The director opens his cinematic universe to you and invites you to transport him into yours. And on this journey we can surprise each other. So yes, the success of a film can go hand in hand with the success of the music and vice versa. There are films in which the music nurtures the image and creates a sort of third dimension that accompanies the narrative but that we don’t see on the screen.

said Amine Bouhafa, a composer who wrote the original score for five films in competition this year at Cannes*

Music at Cannes

Cannes has waltzed to the rhythm of the music of many films and has allowed fabulous encounters between producers, directors, composers and young creators. For several years now, Sacem has been committed to composers and has done its utmost to offer them a window of exposure during this key event for world cinema.

As an institutional partner of the festival and its parallel selections, Sacem was the first to reward music from 1946 to 1952 with the Grand Prix International de la Sacem. Each year, Sacem supports music through several initiatives and accompanies the composers who have written the soundtracks of the films presented at Cannes.

“We are committed to Cannes, but also to other major audiovisual festivals dedicated to music created for the screen. Composers have told me that without the mechanisms put in place by Sacem to connect them to developing productions, they would not be the authors they are today. I am proud of the great work that is being done in the field. These professional encounters give rise to fruitful artistic collaborations,” said Patrick Sigwalt, composer and Sacem’s Chairman of the Board of Directors.

After two years of crisis, Sacem is doing everything it can to support musical creation and to honour music composers for this 75th edition of the Cannes Film Festival.

Sacem is organising the first-ever ascent of the steps for the women and men who composed music for films in the festival, led by Patrick Sigwalt.

Sacem is also behind The Music Lesson, an initiative that highlights the work of composers and which this year will honour the composer, Gabriel Yared.

“All the activities we’re engaged in aim to highlight the value of music composers. Today, they are sometimes considered as service providers, but it is essential that they be recognised as the co-authors of films. The composer creates a work of the intellect that will become a better export if it receives more support in terms of budgets but also in terms of recognition” explains Patrick Sigwalt.

Royalty collection is not the only thing that creates value for this work

Sacem is aware of the challenges that young creators face when starting their career. Outre la création In addition to creating opportunities during the Cannes Film Festival, it organizes a number of professional meetings throughout the year, creating bonds between young composers and directors during audiovisual and film festivals, with the aim of propelling them into the professional world and providing them with the means necessary for their development. It is a partner for key music and image events: Sœurs Jumelles in Rochefort, the film festival in Les Arcs, the Annecy animation film festival and Music & Cinema in Marseille.

Valentin Hadjadj, composer for the film Close, which is in official competition this year, met Lukas Dhont four years ago at the Third Character market, co-organised by the Sacem and the Music & Cinema festival.

Sacem has set up a number of support programmes for composers.

“Our ambition is to help young talent become known. Sacem has a real role to play in the emergence of young artists. We must allow them to make their mark in this ecosystem that is as challenging as it is demanding,” Patrick Sigwalt said.

A prize for best composer one day?

Propelling young artists and guiding them toward international success is a wonderful path to success that Sacem is determined to follow, alongside its composers. Supporting career plans, promoting repertoires, creating value for creators, accompanying talent and perhaps one day celebrating music and composers at the Cannes Festival.

Cannes is a festival that defends the author. Every composer dreams of being awarded a prize at this event 

Amine Bouhafa said

If one day this dream were to come true, Sacem would be there, pulling out all the stops to celebrate it.

* “Polaris” by Ainara Vera (Acid selections), “Nos Frangins” by Rachid Bouchareb (Cannes Première), “Les Harkis” by Philippe Faucon (Directors’ Fortnight), “Under the Fig Trees” by Erige Sehiri (Directors’ Fortnight) and “Alma Viva” by Cristèle Alves Meira (Semaine de la Critique)

– Crédit photo : RgStudio –

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