SA composers scoop Canadian 'Emmy' for Mandela documentary
Two Capetonians have become the first South Africans to win a Gemini Award - Canada's top accolade for film and television - beating twelve Canadian and American nominees. Murray Anderson and Warrick Sony won in the 'Best Music Composed for a Documentary' category for their score for the Canadian production, Madiba: The Life and Times of Nelson Mandela.
"We were delighted to be nominated and absolutely ecstatic to win' says Anderson who, with Sony and Murray Stewart, owns and runs Milestone Studios in the city centre. "The experience was quite surreal, as we never actually met the documentary makers. They sent us footage, we worked all day and then sent them sound files through the internet. The time difference meant that they'd review over night and we'd carry on the next day. It all happened in quite a short space of time but they were great to work with and loved what we did."
The music for 'Madiba' is the latest in a list of high profile soundtracks produced by the team. Anderson created the music for the recent, highly successful local production A Boy Called Twist. Sony co-wrote the score for the 1997 Channel Four production Jump The Gun filmed in Johannesburg. He also composed music for a number of William Kentridge's movies and theatre productions as well as the recently acclaimed Tall Horse for Handspring. Anderson and Sony scored Country of My Skull - the film adaptation of Antjie Krog's acclaimed TRC memoir. The movie, directed by John Boorman (The Emerald Forest, Hope and Glory) and starring Juliet Binoche and Samuel L. Jackson was released last year. Strangely, not much was made of the fact that the soundtrack was locally written. "We had John Boorman in our studio every day for a week and we kept saying to each other, we really must tell someone about this - but we never really got round to it," says Anderson.
Anderson and Sony are also each performers in their own right. Sony is the man behind the Kalahari Surfers recording projects, whose new album "Panga Management" is currently out on Microdot Records. He has worked with British bands Art Bears, ORB, Massive Attack and Brian Eno. Anderson has worked with M-People, Queen, and Dave Stewart, and won awards as a producer, including Best Rock Album (Robin Auld's hit 1991 album, "Love Kills") and Best Jazz Album (for Abdullah Ibrahim). Anderson started Milestone studios eighteen years ago, when they mainly recorded bands. They now specialise in writing music for films, theatre and commercials. Many of the jingles you hear on ads for brands such as Woolworths, BMW, Klipdrift, Smirnoff, Musica, Ackermans and American Swiss emanate from Milestone.
The documentary Madiba: The Life and Times of Nelson Mandela has already been shown in twenty countries. The SABC has acquired the rights to the film, although it is not certain when it will be shown in South Africa.