TALLINN - The organizers of Tallinn's much-anticipated Black Nights Film Festival have scored a major coup ahead of the event opening 's they have secured renowned film score composer Michael Nyman to perform.
It's a shift to broaden the appeal and scope of the event, which keeps Estonians entertained during the depressing height of winter.
Film scores are an often-underrated element of cinema, though their composers attract cult followings. Names such as Thomas Newman, John Williams and Hanz Zimmer are familiar to many filmgoers, though such composers rarely gain the notoriety of stars and directors.
While Nyman isn't as famous as the aforementioned composers, he is certainly one of the more interesting and respected practitioners of his craft.
He is best known for his work on "The Piano," the 1993 film by director Jane Campion that won a shower of Oscars.
Before that, he worked with British director Philip Greenaway on nearly all of his major films.
In 1999 he wrote the score for "The End of the Affair," an adoption of the Graham Green novel by director Neil Jordan (who was featured and appeared at last year's Black Nights Film Festival).
Nyman came to the attention of a younger and edgier audience thanks to his frequent collaborations with director Michael Winterbottom, who has released several controversial and cutting-edge films set to Nyman's minimalistic classical soundtrack.
First there was his work on "Wonderland," Winterbottom's gritty survey of working class life. Then came "9 Songs," which attracted attention for being the most sexually explicit film to be released generally in the UK. Though "9 Songs" was primarily about a couple enjoying indie rock music, Nyman's subtle score was interspersed between the live concert scenes.
Nyman travels the world performing with his band, an orchestra of variable size that can perform different styles.
In Tallinn they will strip back the sound for an intimate concert at the Kaarli Church on Nov. 29. The following day they will perform at the opening ceremony of the festival itself.
And what about the films? Black Nights Film Festival always plays its cards close to its chest. The program will not be announced until two weeks before the main festival opens on Nov. 30. It doesn't give much time for audiences to pick their films, but that's the way they've always done it.
Michael Nyman Band
Black Nights Film Festival
Nov. 29 - 30www.poff.ee