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Comments on "The ABC of ROFFEKE" Screenings (September 2015 at iHub)

I liked all the films especially the one for Superman [“This is Joe”] and the last one which was longer [“ Frontman ”]. I look forward to at...

The Indie Bible

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Interview: Federico Santini - composer of "Boysong" from the film Quest for Feilong (Part 2)

ROFFEKE: During the 2020 lockdown, the world saw how Italians stood in solidarity with each other through music on their balconies:“In the flat in front of me, a couple with a small child appeared,”…“The mother carried him in her arms while the father played a children’s musical toy. They waved over at us and we waved back. We’ve never met.” (“Balcony singing in solidarity spreads across Italy during lockdown” The Guardian).

Did the lockdown increase your productivity as a composer or did it lessen your productivity? How did you cope during this challenging time? How do you take care of your mental health?

FEDERICO SANTINI: At the school where I worked we started with remote lessons immediately, so the teaching activity never stopped. Unfortunately, not long before I had started having breathing problems which worsened during the lockdown, not being able to rely on medical care. At a certain moment, as directed by the doctor who was worried it could be Covid (the symptoms of the disease at that time were not yet very well known), I had to isolate myself in a couple of rooms for about a month and my activity during that period had stopped completely. During the rest of the lockdown my composition activity remained more or less the same as before, even if the cooperation with the musicians who had to record the songs from the soundtrack took place online.

 Teaching activity became more difficult during the lockdown because the remote learning triggers a series of critical issues. Feedback with students is more difficult on screen. It is difficult to understand if the topics explained are clear and it is also more difficult for the students to interact with the teacher.
For me in that period, communication with loved ones was very important, especially with the Chinese harpist, Siyun Shen, whom I spoke about above [in part 1], with whom I had established a deep friendship. Especially during my period of isolation, Siyun was very close to me and we spent hours every day communicating via Whatsapp, especially with messages since my breathing problems made verbal communication a little difficult.

ROFFEKE: Your thoughts on artificial intelligence and music?

FEDERICO: As far as I'm concerned, I don't use artificial intelligence in composition, I like to take care of every aspect personally. So far I haven't found any really interesting compositions created by artificial intelligence. I think it does well in low and medium-low level compositions but so far I haven't heard any interesting music. However, when A.I. finally will be able, to write some beautiful music, and I think it's a matter of time, I will be very happy to listen to it. But I believe that there are big risks for composers due to the numerous instances where A.I. has been involved in matter of plagiarism. Artificial intelligence operates without awareness of what it means to copy a work, and therefore, which is why many artists are complaining about this.

ROFFEKE: Advice for aspiring composers?

FEDERICO: First of all, I would recommend an in-depth study of the subject. Searching for scores and analyzing the songs you like is a useful tool. Look for qualified teachers to take lessons from. Studying alone is not enough, it is useful to play in many different contexts and enrich yourself with many experiences. It was useful to me, in addition to playing in classical ensembles, being part of rock and pop bands, accompanying Gospel choirs, and so on. I think it is important to make yourself known by interacting with other people as much as possible. Avoid contexts for which you don't have time to prepare, you risk making a bad impression. I would also recommend being fair to other composers and protecting your works before sending them out.

(You can read part 1 of the interview HERE

Interview: Peter Böving - Writer, Director, Producer of The Heaviest Order (Part 4)

ROFFEKE: In part 3 of the interview, you said: " In my first "life," I was a musician – 25 years on live stage..." How has being a musician helped you in your work as an animator/filmmaker?

PETER Böving: I can highly recommend this sequence :) As a musician, you learn and practice not only the instrument and theory but also something extremely helpful in filmmaking: a sense of timing! One aspect of my cinematic work focuses on poetry films, with an emphasis on sound poetry and music. I have tested the texts of the poetry films created so far live on stage in various programs over many years. Audience reactions are, of course, an incredible gift: from one performance to another, you can fine-tune your performance, music, and intensity. How many filmmakers have the opportunity to collect so much feedback in the pre-production phase? However, it would be dishonest of me to claim that 25 years ago, I already knew I wanted to incorporate all these experiences into film productions later on. Sometimes, one is also lucky, and things just come together that seemingly belong together.
ROFFEKE: Your profile on says that in 2010 you "founded the animation studio "Kloetzchenkino"; from 2006 to 2011 you "held various commissions in the advertising film and music film industry"; in 1999, you "founded the audiobook label "Shower Records"...published numerous CDs in the field of literary dubbing, funk and jazz in the distribution of EICHBORN"; from 1993 to 2003 you "made extensive tours with your own literary program, visited the Goethe-Instituts in Germany, Switzerland, France, Scandinavia, the Baltic States and Russia"; since 1983, you have worked as a musician and since 1990, you have worked as "a composer in the field of theater music, mainly in North Rhine-Westphalia." How do you maintain work-life balance? How do you take care of your mental health?
PETER: This may initially seem like a lot to read. However, I've been around for quite a few years, and all these activities are already a bit scattered. It might sound strange when I say that, for my taste, I'm doing far too little. That's exactly what I've been thinking since I became aware that I might have been born into one of the most significant turning points in human history: the digital revolution! There aren't many generations here in Germany that have held printing plates, hand-cut Super 8 films, or learned their craft in an analog studio and later adapted to the digital world. As I mentioned before, it's crucial for me that in a semi-digital animated film, you can almost "smell" the analog production moments. However, this can only be achieved if you feel at home in both worlds. It's the grace of the timing of my birth: a privilege and responsibility at the same time! In just a few years, as AI sets out to conquer the last remaining spaces in cultural creation, people might envy us and possibly wonder why, in this unique time, we produced so much mainstream and had so little courage to develop something exciting.