The Dallas Chamber Symphony is nothing if not ambitious. For a group only midway through its second season, DCS has launched an impressive number of programs and events, including an annual International Piano Competition at SMU and, now, an International Film Competition.
While a film competition might seem like an odd endeavor for an orchestra, it is a very natural fit for this orchestra. Some of the Dallas Chamber Symphony's most compelling concerts so far have featured newly composed music performed live as accompaniment to classic silent films.
For their new film competition, Sight of Sound, the orchestra is switching up the format, exchanging newly composed music for familiar classics and old movies for new ones. This is your chance to try your hand at producing, filming and directing your very own silent film, and, if your film makes the cut, to see it screened at a concert in April with live musical accompaniment. If that's not enough incentive to get the camera rolling, there are also cash prizes for "Best Picture" and "Audience Favorite."
Over the last two years, Austin-based composer Brian Satterwhite has been a major contributor to the orchestra's film-screening program both as a composer and as a sort of unofficial artistic adviser and curator of the series. An accomplished film-score composer, he also brings an important level of expertise about the technology involved in syncing live music to movies. His partnership with DCS has been a strong one, producing consistently high-quality results. Satterwhite will serve on the Sight of Sound Film Competition's inaugural jury this spring alongside SMU professor Dr. Barbara Vance and media artist and technologist Dean Terry.
If you're interested in participating in this year's festival, time is short (the deadline for entries is March 23, 2014). You can check out the competition's website for a list of approved music selections. This year's choices include music by Schumann, Brahms, Beethoven and Grieg. Each piece lasts between three and eight minutes. A "Wild Card" option is also available if you have a piece of classical music in mind that is not on the list.
Even if you don't enter, mark your calendars for Tuesday, April 29. During the Dallas Chamber Symphony's season finale concert, all film competition finalists' movies will be screened to live music, and audience members will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite movie via text message.