February 26, 2017 at 10:49 am #4725
Lesley Barber – Canadian Screen Award Nominee
Best Original Music for a Non-Fiction Program or Series – How To Change the World
Canadian Screen Award Nominee Lesley Barber is interviewed by SCGC member Elizabeth Hannan about the success of her score for How To Change the World.
“In 1971, a group of friends sail into a nuclear test zone, and their protest captures the world’s imagination. Using never before seen archive that brings their extraordinary world to life, How To Change The World is the story of the pioneers who founded Greenpeace and defined the modern green movement.” ~imdb.com
SCGC: Was this project meaningful to you personally?
LB: Yes, it was. I didn’t realize how meaningful it would be when I started the project. It’s based on the story of how the Greenpeace organization came together – an absolutely intriguing story about Bob Hunter and the rest of the co-founders of the group. The film traces their early work: the initial voyages, the campaigns. It also deals with the controversial aspects of the campaign and their struggle with success and the eventual breakup of the group. It was an extraordinary project to score.
SCGC: What was the biggest challenge you faced during this project?
LB: Unlike writing for scripted projects, when you enter the project early for a feature documentary, the story is revealing itself as the filmmakers are still editing. Some of the thematic sketches I worked on in the beginning stages were connected to storylines or narrative perspectives that shifted, changed, and in some cases disappeared over the course of the editing and final scoring of the project. It was really exciting to be open to the agility that it takes to create music that unifies, blends and adds a new level to the storytelling with this sort of process.
SCGC: What was your favorite part about working on this project?
LB: I think it was the collaboration with the producers and the director as well as my team. The producers and director were a dream to work with. I decided early on to record the orchestral sessions with the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. We were tight on schedule and working around the clock to meet the premiere date for Sundance – the film opened the World Documentary Program on the opening night of the festival – and there wasn’t time to fly into Prague so I produced the score from Toronto via source connect with an amazing team both here in Toronto (including SCGC member Neil Parfitt), London UK, and Prague. Scoring the film was a complete pleasure and co-ordinating the team and recording sessions concurrently in Toronto and Prague was a fun and satisfying part of the project.
SCGC: Do you work with a production team such as musicians, copyists, arrangers, recording or mix engineers? If so, how do you manage the deadline while giving them the time they need?
LB: I had a great team for this project. There were a number of people working on it concurrently as different parts of the score needed to be recorded at the same time so I could meet the final mix dates. I think the key is the people I collaborated with – musicians, editorial and engineers – are a stellar group, well accustomed to tight turnarounds and an attention to detail that helps the entire team move the score towards the deadline.
SCGC: With all of the buzz around your score for “Manchester By the Sea” being shortlisted for the Oscars, what does this CSA nomination mean to you?
LB: I was thrilled and honoured by the CSA nomination! It’s a huge honor to be nominated alongside other colleagues in the industry.
Listen to selected tracks from How to Change the World: