Composers Shine at 2017 Slaight Music Residency Showcase

For Sarah Slean, one of four residents, the nine-month program was unequivocally "one of the best experiences of my life creatively." 

Composers Shine at 2017 Slaight Music Residency Showcase

By Nick Krewen

The sixth annual Slaight Music Residency Showcase was held at the TIFF Lightbox in Toronto on Monday night, and anyone questioning the effectiveness of this Canadian Film Centre program should take a gander at the impressive film and TV credits the program’s alumni have amassed: blockbuster films like Ant-Man and hit TV shows like Elementary among them.

At an hour-long ceremony,  four more Slaight Family Music Lab residents who had completed the nine-month program, that began in July 2017, were added to the graduate roster: Lora Bidner, Paper Bag recording artist Jonathan Kawchuk, Virginia Kilbertus and veteran singer-songwriter and recording artist Sarah Slean.


For Slean, who has provided scores for dance and ballet groups and arrangements for orchestras, this was an opportunity to add to her already impressive artistic palette.

“It’s much different than the rest of my creative life because it’s deeply collaborative,” Slean told FYIMusicNews. “I’m expressing myself creatively and trying to use my ideas to serve the director. It’s amazing because you try not to become married to ideas. You try to be flexible and quick, and it exercises those muscles that I don’t get to use often.”

The residency for the four musicians included 49 productions with 32 film and TV creators and 125 sessions including workshops, often subject to what Slean describe as "rapid fire" deadlines, a regular and practical occurrence in the world of film scoring. Each resident was also introduced to key power brokers in Canadian and Hollywood cinematic circles.

“It was one of the best of experiences of my life creatively – I could say that without reservation," Slean continues. "Meeting so many people and so many creative minds, being thrown into situations and having to work quickly is not something that I’m used to. I have the luxury that I can take my time with things and craft my vision, but having to work like that is so new to me and enormously fruitful. And that’s a skill I would love to continue honing.


“I would love to do more of this work.”

Not only did the festivities honour the 2017 graduates, but it also introduced the class of 2018, who will join the Slaight Family Foundation and Province of Ontario co-sponsored program: composer Suad Bushnaq, Steve Krecklo, Antonio Naranjo  - and for the Songwriting component - Jason Couse and the In The City duo of Ashley Jane and Timon Wientzek.

Canadian Film Centre CEO Slawko Klymkiw praised the program results.

“(Our alumni) are making a huge difference. (This program) not only spawns work, but they’re doing great work, they’re getting a huge profile, and inevitably it continues to grow.”

To view the work of the Slaight Family Music Lab class of 2017, please follow the showcase link.

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