Composer Amelia Warner has been presented with the International Film Music Critics Association Award for Breakthrough Composer of the Year by IFMCA members Johannes Ruckstuhl and Peter Simons.
Warner was honored for her enormously impressive mainstream debut work scoring the literary drama based on the life of the groundbreaking horror author Mary Shelley. The film was directed by Haifaa al-Mansour, and starred Elle Fanning in the title role.
The other nominees in the Breakthrough category were Thomas Adès (Colette), Iván Palomares (En las Estrellas), Manuel Riveiro (La Sombra de la Ley), and Thom Yorke (Suspiria).
Amelia Warner was born in Liverpool, England, in June 1982, and grew up in London. She began her career as an actress, attending the College of Fine Arts, and acting in plays with the Royal Court Theatre’s youth group. Her first credits were small roles in British TV drama series such as Kavanagh QCand Casualty, but she first came to prominence following her starring role in the BBC adaptation of R. D. Blackmore’s Lorna Doone in 2000. Since then she has gone on to appear in such acclaimed and popular TV and film projects as Quills, Aeon Flux, Stoned, and The Seeker: The Dark is Rising.
In terms of music, Warner began working as a singer-songwriter in 2009 using the name ‘Slow Moving Millie,’ and several of her songs were used in popular TV advertisements including “Beasts” for Virgin Media, “Rewind City” for Orange UK, and a cover of “Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want” for John Lewis. She released her debut solo album, ‘Renditions,’ in 2011, which was followed by the classical/instrumental EPs ‘Arms’ and ‘Visitors’. She scored her first feature film, the British independent drama Mum’s List, in 2016, and followed that with Mary Shelley shortly thereafter.
In talking about the score for Mary Shelley, IFMCA member Peter Simons said that it was “a wonderful score … mesmerizing … unlike anything I’ve heard in a long time, if ever. The use of synth and vocals over strings and piano is just exquisite. There is always something interesting going on, either melodically or aurally … it’s one of the most exciting scores of the year”. IFMCA member Thor Joachim Haga described the score as “slow-moving, ethereal and beautiful … firmly planted within romantic post-minimalism”. IFMCA member Jon Broxton was similarly positive about the score, calling it “a perfect musical portrait of a woman whose existence was filled with all the trappings of wealth and privilege, and was enhanced by both Byronic romance and sweeping Gothic melodrama, but which was also punctuated with tragedy, death, and illness,” and saying that “her music is much more sophisticated and dramatically adept than one would expect from someone with her comparative lack of experience”.
See below for the acceptance speech and video interview:
Click on the thumbnails for larger photo images: