Poster for Music in Film

Studio12 have formed a meaningful partnership with Brighter Sound, collaborating on two projects that help address the gender gap in the industry as part of their Both Sides Now programme. Developed in response to low levels of female representation across the music industry, Both Sides Now pushes the agenda forward for women in the North of England. The programme supports, inspires and showcases female music creators and industry professionals through an exciting programme of creative residencies, artistic commissions, training and events – with the aim of reframing perceptions, challenging stereotypes and influencing lasting change.

Group image of Film Music
Ten young women and non-binary artists took part in the Film Music residency, with guidance from award-winning composer Laura Rossi and sound designer Christella Litras. The project aimed to give participants insight into what a career in composing music for film and TV involves, and create pathways into the industry. Over five days the participants were challenged to create, record and mix their own short film scores for Studio12’s special Writing Britain films.

Written from the heart, Writing Britain is a short film initiative produced by Studio12 that creates a collection of films addressing people’s sense of place and tackles current issues that they face. Written and performed by young people, with support and direction from professional film makers, Writing Britain aims to provide a platform for new talent to be screened. Writing Britain has been showcased through BBC3, International Film festivals and Channel4 Random Acts screenings.


The work produced during the residency, in less than one week, is stunning. The participants were not only deeply engaged in the composing process working alongside industry professionals Laura and Christella – but also with the root of the films and the heartfelt stories being told. The astonishing results were premiered at a special event as part of Leeds INDIs Film Festival, attended by a diverse audience of 60 people. Participants took part in a panel discussion with special guest and award winning composer Nina Humphries, treating the audience with insight into their creative processes – the juxtaposition between composition and sound effects, and how they related to the story and visuals.

Participant Quotes:

“I honestly think that the insight I gained this week cannot be substituted by any other creative experience and I feel like I would have lost so much if I hadn’t been a part of it… I think it helped me be more open about such collaborations, get out of my “creative shell” and seek more of them in the future.” – Adina

“I’ve always been determined to have a career in music. This residency has given me more of an idea how to get there.” – Natalie

“Most importantly, the project has given me the confidence to view myself as a Film Composer. As Laura and Christella reminded us – we are not students or “sort-of” composers – we are composers! This mentality will make me feel more confident when approaching directors and future composing endeavours.” – Lauren

“I have no way in which you could improve, it has been an amazing experience which I would love to do over and over again!” – Megan

Film Music Remix

Unbroken Film Music Remix
Written from personal experiences, Melissa Wuidart Phillips immerses our viewers into the challenges of adapting to new experiences and celebrates the beauty in the smallest of details. The film provides a cinematic perspective on the uniqueness of the Asperger’s and celebrates the condition.

Flight Film Music Remix
Ntantu walks through his past and choices he has made, part of the Writing Britain Films to produce short films written by young people, their films to reflect their sense of place, belonging, hopes, dreams they have for the future.

The Waiting Room Film Music Remix
The Waiting Room is a Writing Britain short written and performed by Bradford award winning Spoken Word Poet Asma Elbadawi, it explores the issues caused by disorder and symptoms of anxiety.

Workshop Image of Studio12
A recent report showed that of the top 250 films at the domestic box office in 2018, only 6% were scored by women. Similarly, it is thought that just 6% of current TV shows use music composed by women.
Panel Discussion Leeds International Festival Film Music
Laura Rossi Christella Litras Nina Humphries INDIs Film Festival Pannel

 Meet the


Adeline Pitu is a performing artist and is one of the ambassadors of the Geraldine Connor Foundation. Recently, she took music more seriously in making music (music production). In the future, she would like to have her own created performances with a group. Her recent performances include To See You, At Last with Leeds Playhouse in UK/Japan (2019), MV: Oeuvre ft. Sinead Campbell – Hero (part of the chorus, 2017), The King and Queen Show at the Leeds Playhouse, choreographed by Donald Edwards and being part of the Carnival Choir by Christella Litras (2017), Carnival Choir with Kim Weston (2017).

A piece of film or TV music that I really love is…

“Anything from Step Up 2 as it has a range mix of music and genres with a few different languages and cultures that makes you want to move. Being a multilingual myself, I love music in different languages as each language has its own unique flow, sound and interpretations. Even if you do not understand the language of a song, you will always be able to understand the meaning and emotion of the song that makes you feel.”

Instagram: @adelinepitu

Adina Nelu is a classically trained media composer, multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter based in Manchester. She has worked as a stage performer and lyricist with a renowned Eastern European artist, composed original music for short films, documentaries, art installations and commercials, and recently finished scoring her first feature length film. She is currently a member of the Adelphi Contemporary Music Group, known as the North West’s most eclectic and diverse contemporary music ensemble, for which she wrote her piece, Ode to Silence, which premiered earlier this year.

A piece of film or TV music that I really love is…

“One of the first pieces of film music that caught my attention was Like Home by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, part of the score to David Fincher’s Gone Girl (2014). While scarce in harmonic content and featuring repetitive material, Like Home shows complexity in the way it transforms with every new reiteration, each time turning darker and darker, as if a curtain is being lifted from a seemingly idyllic sonic landscape, unveiling an unwanted and inconvenient truth. In a short amount of time, this piece tells us everything there is to know about the plot, becoming a metaphor for it. Moreover, I can’t help but think of Brian Eno’s quote regarding minimalism, “Repetition is a form of change”, and how well this piece illustrates it. For me, listening to Like Home in the context of the film was a lesson in modern film scoring, expressing so much emotion with so little to work with.”

Instagram: @adina.nelu

Emma Young is a student film composer at Leeds College of Music in their second year. They can play the clarinet and piano and can vaguely play the violin, guitar and saxophone. They have written library music and have composed music for various film clips during their first year of university. They are also the president of the LGBTQ+ society at their college, which involves working with their team to organise events and raise awareness of LGBTQ+ issues.

A piece of film or TV music that I really love is…

“My favourite film would have to be Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and not even purely for the music. My favourite piece in the film would have to be ‘Christmas at Hogwarts’ because as soon as you hear the flute motif it brings me straight to seeing Hagrid pulling the Christmas tree and feeling as excited and festive as Harry and his friends feel (makes me feel more festive than the classic Christmas songs if I’m being honest).”

Instagram: @emmayoungmusic

Holly Early is a sound artist and cellist, making work to heighten and focus aural perception. She records and edits audio with the intention of encouraging others to consciously listen and engage with their everyday surroundings. This aural engagement is an essential part of her practice to express emotion and energy. Holly’s pieces develop by a process of separating, identifying and constructing. It is through the interconnectedness of sound and image that has brought Holly to the Both Sides Now: Film Music project, and studying MA Sound Design at Leeds Beckett University.

A piece of film or TV music that I really love is…

“The music for Doctor Who from Ninth to Eleventh, are my favourite TV soundtracks. A particular favourite is “This is Gallifrey: Our Childhood, Our Home” used in the series 3 finale. Composer Murray Gold brings alive the lost past of the Doctor’s home world “Gallifrey”. What makes this piece special for me, is the emotional journey we are taken on with the Doctor. Gold powerfully animates the character’s nostalgia through textured composing. Haunting overtones dip in and out throughout the piece in the wind instruments, projecting a feeling of nostalgia and sadness at the loss of his home. I particularly love the section where the xylophone, harp, and wind instruments playfully suggest childhood memories of naivety and innocence. Before this, the magnificence of the Timelords and the splendour of Gallifrey are portrayed through the passing of melodies between clarinet, strings and brass. This celebration and pride suddenly changes to aggression and frustration during crescendos, increasing emotional tension. Overall the piece leaves me longing to hear more about this unknown time, which we never witness in its entirety during the episode.”

Instagram: @_hollyearly

Ioana Selaru is a Romanian composer and violinist who began her musical career at an early age. Fuelled by her curiosity and hunger for knowledge, Ioana has continuously expanded her musical boundaries by exploring multiple artistic fields. She has experimented with many musical genres, ranging from classical to experimental music. Her works often contain unusual combinations of instruments and sounds with the purpose of creating a greater emotional impact and a more lasting impression on the audience.

A piece of film or TV music that I really love is…

“The first soundtrack that got my attention was Thomas Newman’s work for the American Beauty movie. The simplicity of melodic lines combined with a light orchestration made me realise how important original music can be for a picture. It doesn’t matter how complex it is, but how pure and simplistic music can affect your emotions.”

Instagram: @selaruioana

Lauren Hutchins is a composer for Film and TV studying at Leeds College of Music. Taking inspiration from composers such as Thomas Newman, Lauren likes to use texture and harmony to communicate emotion in her music. Lauren has played and written music for several years but discovered her passion for Film Music whilst completing her A Level studies. After obtaining her degree, Lauren intends to work as a Film and TV composer and additionally teach composition and music production skills.

A piece of film or TV music that I really love is…

“‘Revolutionary Road (End Title)’ by Thomas Newman which is featured in the 2008 film Revolutionary Road. I love this score for several reasons – the tone of the music, the orchestration and instrumentation and the way the music effortlessly blends with the drama and story of Frank (Leonardo DiCaprio) and April (Kate Winslet) as told in the film. In my opinion, by listening to the music alone you can get a sense and a feeling of all the important plot points in the film. The solo piano representing isolation and the simple life the characters desire, the harmonic ambiguity, unresolved phrases and irregular time signatures showing the uncertainty Frank and April have of their future and relationship and the rising and falling string parts mirroring the tension between the characters and stresses in their lives. The main melody of this piece is repeated constantly in the film from the beginning. It noticeably is effective when the cue entitled ‘April’ begins where a twisted minor version of the melody is used as April completes a home abortion. The theme haunts the characters and penetrates all aspects of their life and therefore is highly effective.”

Instagram: @ljhcomposition

Megan Tarpey is a pianist and composer from the North West of England. She studied her Music Degree at Liverpool Hope University where her work was workshopped and performed by members of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. After working for over a year at a record label based in MediaCityUK, she is now studying an MA in Composition at the University of Manchester. Megan’s compositional style includes the use of traditional ensembles along with technology to create an entirely new landscape.

A piece of film or TV music that I really love is…

“Jóhann Jóhannsson – he uses spatial awareness, digital sound processing, a mixture of electronics and orchestral music to create a thrilling and capturing music soundscape for the film Arrival. In particular, the track I like is ‘Heptapod B’. Space and silence is really important within this piece as it complements the film to make it even more dramatic. This track breathes contemporary experimental as it is packed with new sounds and continues to inspire me. Jóhannsson’s avant-garde style syncs well with the sci-fi film, packed with spaceships, alien languages and difficult communication. Voice recordings are manipulated in such a way that you cannot tell it is a vocal ensemble, which is meant to have no meaning but sound like an unknown language.”

Instagram: @megangrace97

Natalie Kolowiecki is a vocalist and multi-instrumentalist, and creator of electronic/experimental music alongside her partner Jack. Massively inspired by the trajectory of musicians such as Mica Levi and the Haxan Cloak, she hopes to combine her two main interests of music and moving image to build a career.

A piece of film or TV music that I really love is…

“One piece that sticks out in my mind is the song ‘Arrival’ by Johan Johannsson for the film of the same name. I think this piece of music creates such an atmosphere that is carried throughout the film. It comes in just as you see the spacecraft for the first time and creates such an air of tension and mystery. This is one of my favourite soundtracks of all time. The use of vocals is so rare in film scores but Johannsson uses the samples in such a way, that it’s almost as though he’s creating his own language, which is just perfect considering that language is the focus of the entire film. I’ve never been a huge fan of the sci fi genre, but I think that the soundtrack to Arrival made it feel like much more than a film about aliens. By steering away from the usual tropes, like a heavy focus on brass or massive synth lines, there’s such a romantic and ethereal feel running through the music.”

Instagram: @kolowiecki

Pippa Williams is a musician and sound engineer from Penzance who grew up listening to her dad’s Status Quo records and her mum’s Sounds of the Seventies mixtapes. After developing her own taste in music, she became fascinated by the recording and production of her favourite music. Pippa graduated from Coventry University with a degree in Music Technology. Having just moved up to the North, she spends her free time listening to and creating her own music and is currently working on her first EP. Last year, Pippa went on tour as a drummer and singer with CLIC Sargent.

A piece of film or TV music that I really love is…

“It’s a bit gruesome but the first thing I think of is the scene in Reservoir Dogs where the cop gets his ear cut off whilst Stealers Wheel’s ‘Stuck in the Middle With You’ is playing. Tarantino movies are kind of infamous for his music choices (I actually wrote my dissertation on how he uses sound and music in Pulp Fiction!) but the juxtaposition of the ear slicing and Michael Madsen having a dance and being so nonchalant just had me in total disbelief. The way the music was confined to the space was captivating and really emphasised the madness of the situation. If we’re talking about composition then one of my favourite composers is Michael Giacchino, partly for his recent work in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but mostly for his work with Pixar, especially his piece from The Incredibles, ‘The Glory Days’. The Incredibles soundtrack is so great because of the vision that went before it. The director wanted to achieve a ‘James Bond’ like, 1960s feel so Giacchino recorded the score like it would have been recorded in that era, using analogue tapes and recording the whole orchestra together.”

Instagram: @pippawilliams_music

Cecilia Nicolè was always immersed in a musical environment and she began studying the violin at age 5. Despite that, she always knew singing was her passion and she began writing her first songs aged 14, then studying composition for film and media just after high school and gigging throughout Italy. With her music being very influenced by British bands and singer-songwriters, in 2018 she moved to Leeds where she’s studying Film Music at Leeds College of Music. Cecilia is currently in the studio recording her debut EP.

A piece of film or TV music that I really love is…

“Danny Elfman’s works, especially his collaborations with Tim Burton. His unique and eclectic style are what mainly brought me to study film music and be a composer. I think it is really interesting because his music is really influenced by other genres and I think it is still a stigma nowadays for film composers to make their music sound original and not like anything you have heard before. With his works he’s able to not only blend the music with the plot and the visuals but actually, forging his own world into the film. His works are properly sounding images.”

Instagram: @tiltedmoonsmusic

 Brighter Sound


“The Both Sides Now Film Music residency was really inspirational for everyone involved, and it’s been such a joy to reflect back on the week! Since the residency it’s been especially exciting to see the artists who took part move forward with their careers in film music composition and sound design. Opportunities for women and gender minority composers and sound artists to come together with other like minded artists are rare – participants told us that they often found themselves to be the ‘odd one out’ in the studio or amongst their male peers – so it was such a valuable experience for all involved.

At Brighter Sound our gender equality work with the Both Sides Now programme is more important than ever, as we fight to create and sustain an equitable music landscape, or risk losing some of the most exciting, vibrant and inspirational voices that are the future of our creative industries. Opportunities like this residency are important as they enable artists to build on their practice, forge lasting connections with like minded collaborators, build their confidence, share their experiences and support one another to grow.

A huge thank you to our partner Studio12 for making the week possible, and Leeds Inspired, Wades Charity and Arts Council England for funding the residency, Channel 4 and BDi Music for contributing to the week, and of course Laura Rossi and Christella Litras who did a fantastic job of leading the residency.”

Both sides now logo

Brighter Sound is a creative music charity based in the North of England and working across the UK. Their activity changes the lives of individuals through music, supports and promotes diverse talent and acts as a catalyst for change in the music industry. For more info on the Both Sides now programme please visit

Image still from Unbroken