Music Meets Film

Over the past few years, Music Meets Film (MMF) has become a recognizable platform and a highly anticipated series of events. In 2023 MMF returned in a new format and will continue to provide the possibility of a meeting place for extending the film and film music professionals’ network but our focus will be on young new talent.

The program brings together composers and directors; from music and sound creatives to producers, agents, and the wider music and film industry. It aims to build bridges between creatives, grow as an interdisciplinary meeting place, and encourage new international collaborations between students and professionals.

Submissions for Music Meets Film 2024 participation will be open from spring. The program will be announced at the beginning of autumn.

Music Meets Film 2023

Music Meets Film (MMF) returns with its 11th edition and is welcoming a new focus on young talent while continuing to provide the possibility of a meeting place for extending the film and film music professionals’ network.

The aim is to offer a highly practical program of lectures and masterclasses to young composers to provide realistic tools for their careers. These will encourage them and help them to navigate the industry in the filmmaking process with the whole team, knowing one’s intellectual and financial rights as well as how the creative process of composing for a film comes together.

The participants will be able to attend MMF's panels and masterclasses led by award-winning professionals and industry-leading companies and partners. From each session, the participants could gain precise practical knowledge and possible new connections to advance their careers. We will dive into the following:

Even more, the participants can also join other Discovery Campus’ open lectures and take part in speed meetings to connect with new friends and colleagues.

Discovery Campus’ leading idea this year is collaboration. With collaboration, we can expand our network, spark new ideas and get inspired, find new projects for the future and gain knowledge from others’ experiences.

This is all possible in November in Tallinn, where almost every film area representatives from all over the world come together. This is the place and chance to make your next step.


Highlights of the 2023 Music Meets Film programme

Masterclass by John Altman

What are the practicalities of film scoring, and how much creative freedom does a film composer have? Which creative languages are used in the filmmaking process, and which language are the characters responding in? Acclaimed composer, arranger and songwriter John Altman will lead the journey through these questions to address their answers in the case study of the Emmy-winning score of the film RKO 281 score (1999, dir. Benjamin Ross).

John Altman has composed, arranged, conducted, produced and directed countless music for television and film including Titanic, Little Voice, Goldeneye, Leon, Peake Practice and RKO 281 for which he won an Emmy. As an arranger and conductor he’s worked on hit records for artists including Rod Stewart, Diana Ross, Tina Turner, Roy Orbison, Simple Minds, George Michael. He has written, arranged and produced the music for over 4,000 commercials worldwide. He is an incredible saxophonist and has played or recorded with the likes of Little Richard, Prince, David Bowie, The Damned, Eric Clapton, Sting, Jimi Hendrix, Chet Baker, Bob Marley, Amy Winehouse, Muddy Waters, Phil Collins. The list is endless.

Scoring masterclass with Orchestral Tools

Within this masterclass, the participants will have a chance to create scores for a preselected film clip with Orchestral Tools’ virtual instruments. The scores will be created beforehand and during the masterclass they will be listened to and analyzed with the film’s director and composer. In this method young composers can get direct feedback to their music as well as see how the film can change through the hands of different composers and visions.

Panel discussion. The Art of Translation: Communication Between the Director and the Composer

In teamwork and in filmmaking, communication is the essence of collaboration and progress. This topic arises especially with situations where people who speak different languages come together. In our case it is so with directors and composers. How to understand each other and translate your craft to a language to explain your approach and ideas so that you still respect one’s professional boundaries and also maintain flexibility within the process of making a film? The art of translation is explaining your ideas and approach as a composer to a director who does not have a musical background. Similarly, it is the other way around: how do you understand the director’s vision and also trust them with the big picture and your creation within it?

How to explain your musical choices? What to do if the director crosses the line of their area of expertise? What is the role of a supervisor and how can it help understanding each other? Where does the line of flexibility and trust run between standing your ground? How to co-create the film in such an organic way that when the audience walks out of the screening, they won’t remember the score, but if they were to hear it again, it will take them back to the film?
The panelists include Nis Bøgvad, music supervisor, director Tanel Toom and a acknowledged composer (TBA)

Music Meets Film programme takes place 14-17 November 2023.

Learn more about MMF’s past panels from here

If you have any related questions regarding MMF, feel free to contact the project manager Hanna-Greth Peetson

Music Meets Film is proud to be sponsored by Orchestral Tools, a German-based sample library company, and Tallinn UNESCO City of Music.. Starting from 2022, Tallinn is part of UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network. The title "City of Music” gives strength to the future talents and offers opportunities for artists, musicians and organisers. It’s a badge of quality for Tallinn’s music scene and for the city as a whole.


Previous years

Music Meets Film Award

In 2021 and 2022 MMF presented an initiative – The Music Meets Film Scoring Competition. It was launched to support and promote talented young composers.

Participants, anyone around the world, in the age of 30 years old or younger, were invited to compose an original soundtrack to a video clip, to demonstrate their composition skills and musical creativity.

The 2022 clip was kindly provided by the creators of Melchior the Apothecary (2022), directed by Elmo Nüganen.

Orchestral Tools promoted the initiative and awarded the winner with a prize of 2000 EUR as well as a package of Orchestral Tools’ virtual instruments including their acclaimed Tallinn collection.

The winner of the MMF Scoring Competition 2022 was selected by a jury of music and film professionals from Music Meets Film panelists, and announced on 22 November 2022 at the Music Meets Film Award.

Winner of MMF Award 2021: Jonas Tarm

MMF Award 2021_6

Music Meets Film Award ceremony 2021

Program 2022

Monday, 21 November // Arvo Pärt Centre

If you need transportation to Arvo Pärt Centre at Laulasmaa, please register yourself HERE

11:00–11:15 Opening of Music Meets Film 2022*

Introduction to this year’s program by Music Meets Film curator Michael Pärt.

11:15–12:00 Opening panel: Current trends*

MMF’s opening panel touches on current trends in the scoring, gaming, and music industry. The panelists will share their experiences in the industry. Hannes Tschürtz will moderate composer Aram Shahbazians, and agent & score supervisor, Alice Atkinson.

12:00–13:15 MMF Trio Series*

This year’s Trio Series will touch on “How Directors Think - How Composers Think & How Editors Think”. Moderator Kaarel Kuurmaa will take us on a retrospective case study of 2022’s two installments of the Melchior the Apothecary feature films with composer Liina Sumera, director Elmo Nüganen, and editor - Marion Koppel.
This panel will also be broadcasted via web stream!

14:15–15:15 How to become a music agent*

Why is the role of an agent for creatives so important, and how to enter this field and develop skills to become and grow as an artists’ agent? Music agent and score supervisor Alice Atkinson from the internationally-renowned agency Air-Edel will take us on a journey to explore these - and many other questions. Moderated by music agent and consultant Thea Zaitsev.
This panel will also be broadcasted via web stream!

15:15–16:00 Keeping the intellectual property in order*

Renato Horvath and Hannes Tschürtz specialise in the licensing process as labels, publishers, sync agents, and music supervisors. Together with artist and performer Maarja Nuut, we will hear their relevant story for performing artists, ensembles, bands, managers, agents, songwriters & composers about their experience in getting the licensing and contractual part of ones' business in order and have all ducks in a row. This panel is moderated by Toomas Olljum.
This panel will also be broadcasted via web stream!

16:15–17:00 Speed Networking*

An opportunity to meet this year's panelists and mentors in a round of informal 5-minute speed meetings.

19:00–20:30 Live scoring to film: Fred Jüssi. The Beauty of Being*

Acclaimed Composer William Goldstein will show us his unique talent by creating an instant score on stage for a live audience whilst watching Jaan Tootsen’s 65-minute feature documentary Fred Jüssi. The Beauty of Being for the very first time. Learn more about this magical event!
This event will also be broadcasted via web stream!

20:30–21:00 Live scoring to film: “Fred Jüssi. The Beauty of Being” Q&A*

Following the live-scoring film screening, we will be part of a dialogue between film director Jaan Tootsen and William Goldstein, followed by a Q&A with the audience.
This lecture will also be broadcasted via web stream!

Tuesday, 22 November // Music Estonia & Nordic Hotel Forum

10:00–12:00 One-on-one mentorships @ Music Estonia

Meet a selection of this year’s MMF panelists and mentors for a 20-minute for 1:1 mentorship session. Pre-registration is required as there is limited availability.

14:00–15:30 Music Tech Talk @ Music Estonia*

Selected MMF panelists lead the conversations on all matters of technology — what gear do we use, which machines work best, plugin finds, and which workflow makes a composers' setup work best.

15:30–17:00 My Greatest Failures @ Music Estonia*

Panelists composer William Goldstein and Agent & Score Supervisor Alice Atkinson share their greatest failures, trials, and tribulations, and how they’ve come out of them stronger.

19:00–22:00 Music Meets Film Award and Happy Composer Hour @ Nordic Hotel Forum*

Announcement of the MMF Award 2022 winner and the prizes of EUR 2000 and generous collections of Orchestral Tools virtual instrument licenses handover. Round off the festival with a relaxed evening of music, drinks, and cultivated conversation with fellow composers, filmmakers, and Music Meets Film guests during the MMF “Happy Composer Hour”.

*The event is accessible to accredited guests of Industry@Tallinn & Baltic Event.
The time zone for the schedule is Eastern European Time (EET).

Meet the speakers

Michael Pärt (Estonia) is a producer, and music editor, and has been Chairman of the Arvo Pärt Centre since its founding in 2010, a foundation that preserves Arvo Pärt’s creative contribution to the arts, its legacy, and education for future generations. He has worked with artists including Icelandic singer Björk, composers Danny Elfman, Alexandre Desplat, and Howard Shore, and film directors Peter Jackson, Francis Ford Coppola, and Tom Hooper.
His most recent film projects as music editor were Margus Paju's O2 (2020) and Tom Hooper's The Danish Girl (2015). Additionally, he contributed to the Grammy-nominated albums Volta and Vulnicura by Björk and Neon Bible by Arcade Fire.

Hannes Tschürtz (Austria) is a founder of Ink Music, an independent label and publishing house in Vienna, Austria, established in 2001. Hannes is a leading member of Europe in Synch; a founder/director of a Music Film Festival (Poolinale, 2011-16), and an occasional music consultant for films. Sometimes also a lecturer, speaker, and mentor in music business matters. He already looks back on two decades of work in the field and is a highly active figure in various organisations like the Austrian Music Fund or the local IFPI board.

Aram Shahbazians (Poland) is a composer and sound designer with more than 10 years of experience in the industry working on games, films, trailers, and commercials, his works have also been performed live by orchestras and ensembles. He made audio and music for Cyberpunk 2077, Song Of Horror, Redout, and Redout: Space Assault, among other titles. In 2020 the soundtrack for Redout: Space Assault won Best Music at the Megamigs Awards in Canada. In 2018 he worked as a composer, orchestrator, and consultant for the organization of Other Worlds, one of the biggest video game music concerts in Italy in collaboration with the Carlo Felice orchestra. Currently, he's an Audio Director at Jyamma Games, working on Enotria: The Last Song.

Alice Atkinson (United Kingdom) is a classically trained Saxophonist who graduated from the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama and joined Air-Edel in 2016. Before joining she involved herself with conservatoire and London-based PR campaigns, freelance agent work, and events management.
Alice now works closely with Air-Edel composers, music editors, and musical directors to manage their projects and negotiate contracts. She focuses on establishing new business opportunities for Air-Edel clients and the business overall.

Kaarel Kuurmaa (Estonia) studied history and religious studies at the University of Tartu. Has been working as a festival programmer at Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival and Docpoint-Helsinki Documentary Film Festival. 2013-2018 served as a Film Commissioner at the Estonian Film Institute. Since 2022 working for Tartu Film Fund and curating a film program for Tartu 2024-European Capital of Culture. Head of Estonian Audiovisual Art Endowment committee. Artistic Director of Arvo Pärt Centre film evenings. Member of the Estonian Association of Film Journalists.

Liina Sumera (Estonia) started her music studies at Tartu's Heino Eller Music School, where she studied piano, flute, and pop-jazz singing. In the last courses, she began to focus more on her creations. In the same period, she created a pop-rock band with the students of Tartu, where she was a singer, keyboard player, and songwriter. With that came an interest in sound engineering. In 2009, she started studying electronic music at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theater, where she focused on creativity and sound engineering. She has improved herself at the Sibelius Academy in the direction of electronic music composition, film music, and video game music.

Liina Sumera has composed the music for the Melchior the Apothecary trilogy, Strawberry Eaters, The Overcoat, and The Secret Society of Souptown. She has also created music for many theater productions and received a Theater Award for the big family play Gulliver’s Travels and Hans Christian Andersen's The Shadow.

Elmo Nüganen (Estonia) is an Estonian theatre director, film director, and actor. He was the artistic director of the Tallinn City Theatre from 1992 to 2021. He is a graduate of the Estonian Academy of Music and Theater from 1988 and is a professor at the academy. He directed the war films Names in Marble (2002) and 1944 (2015). Names in Marble was seen by more than 168 000 people in Estonia and was selected for the 2003 Taormina Film Fest, while 1944 had the highest opening-week audience numbers in Estonian film history and became the country's submission for the Academy Awards.
Nüganen has received multiple awards for his work in theater, including the Estonian Annual Theater Award for Best Director in 1992, 1995, 2000, 2007, and 2010, and the Estonian National Cultural Award in 1996, 1999, and 2009.

Marion Koppel (Estonia) is a film editor based in Tallinn, Estonia. Most recently, Marion edited Melchior the Apothecary, a trilogy of medieval crime thrillers based on the best-selling books by Indrek Hargla. The previous feature works also include the spy thriller Dawn of War and the children’s adventure film The Secret Society of Souptown. In the past ten years, Marion has worked on various projects ranging from documentaries, TV shows, and short films to film trailers, commercials, and social advocacy campaigns.

Thea Zaitsev (Estonia) is an artist, producer, songwriter manager, and publisher who left one of the major record labels in London in 2015 to set up her company initially focusing on management. Since almost the beginning, she has been developing and working with a successful electronic-pop act NOËP, soon followed by producer-artist Sander Mölder and Mick Pedaja. Her newest signing and first female act is local reality TV singing competition winner Alika Milova. A few years later, she set up the publishing branch, which has now gained a decent roster of local talent. Over the years, she has been lecturing and consulting the local music industry in various aspects including music publishing, music export, and songwriting camps. She is a winner of Manager of the Year and Entrepreneur of the year at the Estonian Entrepreneurship Awards.

Renato Horvath (Hungary) founded Eastaste Music, a sync agency, in 2012. Its main focus is music licensing, music supervision, and consulting rights owners, and filmmakers alike. Over the years, he has licensed songs for nearly 150 commercials/films from domestic and foreign performers and authors. His specialty is licensing well-known foreign compositions and covers as well as difficult-to-find compositions. Affiliations: UK & European Guild of Music Supervisors member; partner in the Europe in Synch Creative Europe program.

William Goldstein (USA) has scored over 50 movie and television projects, including Fame and The Miracle Worker. He has been a recording artist for both Motown and CBS Masterworks. His label is distributed worldwide by The Orchard with over 70 albums currently available averaging between 2 & 11,000,000 streams monthly. He has written on the arts for The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times. He has been a pioneer in the use of computers and electronic instruments in music. Since 2011 he has received international recognition for his ability to create music in real-time, continuing the tradition of the great 18th and 19th-century composer pianists. His recent classical crossover release Remembering Mariupol has generated over 850,000 Streams.

Jaan Tootsen (Estonia) is an Estonian film director, screenwriter, and film producer. He has been a long-time editor of the radio program Ööülikool. 2012-2016 he was the cultural advisor for the Estonian president. Jaan Tootsen has directed several documentaries and compiled over 100 radio programs.

1998 Killing Tartu (feature film)
2005 Discover a Rich Corner in the Universe (documental film; director)
2006 Brave New World (documental film; director)
2011 The New World (documental film; director)
2013 Velosophers (documental film; director and producer)
2016 Vigala Sass – Last Tapes (documental film; director)
2018 Vello Salo. Everyday Mysticism (documental film; director and producer)
2020 Fred Jüssi. The beauty of Being (documental film; director)

Hendrik Schwarzer (Germany) is the CEO and Founder of Orchestral Tools, a German company who have established a reputation among film composers and musicians all over the world as creators of perhaps the very best sampled orchestral and acoustic instruments. One of OT's most notable products is Tallinn — voices, and strings, featuring the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir. This project created a strong relationship with the city and its culture.

Maarja Nuut (Estonia) is a singer, violinist, electronic artist, and composer whose work spans a vast range of rich musical worlds. Classically trained and an alumnus of several prestigious music schools and institutions, she’s since delved into several disparate genres – Hindustani classical music while studying in New Delhi, Estonian archive sounds and dance, ethnomusicological research, and, more recently, the outer limits of looping and electronic sounds. Fuelled by her instincts and curiosity, such exploration comes from an inner need, and a desire to probe each world’s musical language, techniques, and expressional qualities – elements she swirls into her own, mesmerising art.

Toomas Olljum (Estonia) is the founder of a Tallinn-based music company Made In Baltics Entertainment. Since 2018 he has worked in partnership with Sony Music and some of the biggest names in Estonian music. During the last 10 years, he has had the chance to work with some of the biggest companies in the world as an artist manager - Sire Records (Warner), Sony Music, Universal, EMI, BMG, United Talent Agency, Live Nation & others. Album projects he has worked with over the past decade as an Executive Producer has won 18 Estonian Music Awards (incl three Album of the Year awards). Also, he has been a panelist & moderator at various music business seminars, among them Tallinn Music Week, Eurosonic, MIDEM, and MaMA.

Interested in Music Meets Film? Watch the selected video streams of lectures and masterclasses of the program here

Learn more about Music Meets Film and this year's program here