COMPETITION: World Soundtrack Awards (d/l: 17.05.21)

Updated: Apr 13

The World Soundtrack Academy, the premier organization preserving and celebrating the art of film music, has announced rule changes for World Soundtrack Awards eligibility. Most importantly, scores for feature-length documentary films will from now on be eligible for the WSAwards for Film Composer of the Year, Discovery of the Year and the Public Choice Award.

Highlighting the ever-growing importance and prominence of documentary film, the World Soundtrack Academy Board has decided to make feature-length documentary films eligible for the annual and coveted World Soundtrack Awards. From WSA2021 on, scores for documentaries will be up for the awards for Film Composer of the Year, Discovery of the Year, Best Original Song, Best Original Score for a Belgian Production and the Public Choice Award. Distinctions - whether between actor and actress, comedy and drama, or documentary and fiction - seem increasingly arbitrary. Petite fille, a documentary by Sébastien Lifshitz won the 2020 Grand Prix for Best Film at Film Fest Ghent, the host of the WSAwards. It proved the perfect catalyst for the WSAcademy to confirm the rule change.

Further acknowledging evolutions in composing and writing music for screen, the WSAcademy also makes TV series eligible for the category Best Original Song. Since 2016, the World Soundtrack Awards honour the Television Composer of the Year. The eligibility of TV series for Best Original Song is the logical next step in confirming the varied work of composers and lyricists for screen.

Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the industry, scores for films which premiered on a streaming TV service that commissions original content will also be eligible. Members of the World Soundtrack Academy will be able to submit composers and songs for consideration in the categories Film Composer of the Year, Television Composer of the Year and Best Original Song via Submissions are open between 1 April and 15 June and do not require an entry fee. The finalized lists of eligible composers and songs are approved by the WSA Advisory Board.

Annual Composition Contest

Each year, the World Soundtrack Academy offers young screen composers the chance to participate in the WSA Film Music Composition Contest and to win the Sabam Award for Best Original Composition by a Young Composer, worth € 2.500. Young talents, under the age of 36, get the opportunity to show their skills as a screen composer by writing a symphonic score for a selected film excerpt. As a tie-in to the WSA eligibility of documentaries, this year’s participants are invited to write an original score for a scene from Nanook of the North, Robert J. Flaherty’s 1922 groundbreaking silent documentary. The fragment that will be shared with participants is taken from the (in)famous igloo building sequence.

The jury will select three finalists, whose compositions will be performed live in world premiere by the Brussels Philharmonic conducted by Dirk Brossé at the World Soundtrack Awards Ceremony & Concert on 23 October 2021. The finalists will be invited to all film music events at Film Fest Ghent, including the thematic concert, the WSA Industry Days and the the World Soundtrack Awards, where the winner will receive the Sabam Award for Best Original Composition by a Young Composer.

Downloads & links

Composers can now register for the WSA Film Music Competition. Upon payment of € 75, participants will receive a confirmation email with more information and a link to the excerpt from Nanook of the North. Deadline for submissions is 17 May 2021.


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