The Knockturnal was on the red carpet for the 26th Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards on Monday, November 28 at Cipriani Wall Street.
A24 release Moonlight won four major awards. We spoke with the film’s composer Nicholas Britel, whose work is magical in the film.
Tell me what it means to be honored here today by Gotham.
Nicholas: It’s an incredible experience. It’s really overwhelming actually. We worked so hard on this film. It meant so much to us. It meant so much to me to be a part of this film, and I am unbelievably honored to be here with this right now.
The music is one of the most distinct aspects of the movie. Can you tell me about your vision, and some of the vision that Barry shared with you when creating the music?
Nicholas: Thank you. The film felt to me, it was such a piece of poetry to me. It was so beautiful, it was so intimate, it was so sensitive and tender, and there was such a wide scope of emotion in the film. Honestly one of the great experiences in my life was working so closely with Barry. We would work for days on end in my studio, and really explore the film together, and try things out. It was one of the great memories for me of just being part of that process, and finding things that felt like they part of the film.
Where’s your studio?
Nicholas : I live right here in New York actually, right by Lincoln Center. Barry would fly to New York from LA and we would work together. We’d spend whole days just experimenting and trying things out.
Tell me a little bit of how you got your start in composing for film.
Nicholas: Actually I’ve always loved film music. I started playing the piano when I was five. I’ve always been a classical musician, but I was also in a hip hop band in college. Film music is something, I think it’s a very powerful thing. I feel film is an incredible medium for music actually. Being able to do this, and being able to be a part of it is something very special for me.
What are some other films you’ve worked on?
Nicholas: I scored The Big Short last year actually. I wrote the on camera musical performances for 12 Years a Slave.
You have a relationship with Plan B?
Nicholas : I am so honored to work with Plan B. Jeremy Kleiner and Dede Gardner introduced me to Barry actually.
How did you first link up with them?
Nicholas: I had met Jeremy years ago in Los Angeles, and we first collaborated on 12 Years a Slave. Being part of Moonlight was really something so profound for me. It was an unforgettable experience.
What’s coming up next for you?
Nicholas: I’m scoring a film called Battle of the Sexes, which is starring Steve Carell and Emma Stone, and directed by Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris who directed Little Miss Sunshine. That’s the story Billie Jean King, and Bobby Riggs in 1973. And then after that I’m scoring the next Ocean’s film. I’m actually scoring Ocean’s Eight.
What is your creative process like?
Nicholas: Actually I work by myself. I work with an incredible music editor John Finklea often, but yeah I work kind of by myself in my studio here in New York. It’s a dream to be able to work in this industry, and to be able to work in film music.
The evening was presented by Fiji Water, Deep Euphoria Calvin Klein and Landmark Vineyards.