Reel Change Film Fund
Reel Change is a five-year grants and mentorship program for composers of diverse backgrounds who have been marginalized in film composition.
In October 2020, New Music USA announced the launch of Reel Change: The Fund for Diversity in Film Scoring, powered by SESAC and composer Christophe Beck, administered by New Music USA.
Responding to the fact that the vast majority of films are scored by white men, Reel Change is a five-year grants and mentorship program for composers of diverse backgrounds who have been marginalized in film composition.
The five-year fund, established in 2020, accepts applications from US-based composers. It supports film projects currently in production, by providing additional funding, gear, and mentoring to assist composers at a pivotal moment in their careers. Four to six grants averaging $20,000 are allocated each year of the program. Supported expenses include composer compensation, musician fees, recording, sound mastering fees, studio expenses, orchestration, production equipment, and more. Sponsors for this initiative are Spitfire Audio, Steinberg, and Native Instruments. Spitfire Audio will donate $1K in software packages to each grantee and promotional support of the Reel Change program. Steinberg will provide hardware and software packages. Native Instruments will provide the flagship music production suite Komplete Collectors Edition for each grantee.
Applications will be reviewed on a rolling timeline by an advisory board made up of leading composers of film music, including Christophe Beck, Jongnic “JB” Bontemps, Kris Bowers, Miriam Cutler, Chanda Dancy, Tony Morales, and Pinar Toprak. Members of this advisory board will offer additional support and mentorship for interested applicants.
Inaugural Grant Recipients
"The Neutral Ground"
"The Island of Lost Girls"
"She The Creator"
Why This Initiative Is Needed
“The support I received from Reel Change was instrumental in the completion of my score for The Neutral Ground. This fund allowed me to connect and build positive relationships with an international network of orchestras, choirs, and engineers. I am extremely grateful for this deeply affirming initiative as I was allotted more space to grow as a composer.”
Sultana Isham, Composer, Reel Change Film Fund
“I cannot thank SESAC, Christophe Beck, and New Music USA enough for supporting aspiring composers with Reel Change: The Fund for Diversity in Film Scoring program. As a working female professional, the competition in a male dominated business has always been fierce. With the fellowship, I was able to collaborate with many talents in the industry and take my career to the next level.”
Cali Wang, Composer, Reel Change Film Fund
“The opportunity to realize my music score the way I truly envision it with the support of the Reel Change Fund for Diversity in Film Scoring is an invaluable experience, which has given me the time and resources that has allowed me to make full use of the artistic process of exploration between composer and director on a very unique, visceral and impactful film.”
Emer Kinsella, Composer, Reel Change Film Fund
“My career in music has been a long and challenging road, particularly as a Latino immigrant. To me, this grant signifies an effort to create a thriving and diverse music industry. Thanks to this grant, I’ll be able to record all the instruments necessary to create a truly exceptional score that could be a stepping stone in my career. Not only will I benefit, but also the musicians in my community. I’m tremendously grateful!”
Daniel Jimenez Afanador, Composer, Reel Change Film Fund
ABOUT THE ADVISORY BOARD
KRIS BOWERS is a Grammy-nominated, Emmy Award-winning, and Juilliard-educated pianist and composer who creates genre-defying music that pays homage to his jazz roots with inflections of alternative and R&B influences. Bowers’ work as a film and television composer is a testament to his versatility as an artist. Bowers has established himself at the forefront of Hollywood’s emerging generation of composers, and throughout his career, he has consistently championed an art practice guided by multi-disciplinary collaboration. krisbowers.com
JONGNIC “JB” BONTEMPS is a uniquely modern film composer, harmonizing a classical education with his rich tech background as a maestro of Silicon Valley to write everything from the hip-hop infused score for the Tribeca-favorite documentary United Skates, to rousing additional music for Creed II. He’s been the go-to composer for the latter film’s director, Steven Caple Jr., including the score for the coming-of-age drama, The Land, where he also produced the song “This Bitter Land” for Nas and Erykah Badu. bontempsmusic.net
MIRIAM CUTLER is a three-time Emmy-nominated composer, is passionate about documentaries: HBO, CNN, PBS, Sundance, Emmy, and Oscar nominated films: RBG, Love Gilda, Dark Money, The Hunting Ground, Ethel, Lost in La Mancha, Poster Girl, KingsPoint, Ghosts of Abu Ghraib… Advisor/ Sundance Documentary Composers Lab, juror Sundance, AMPAS Documentary Branch Exec Committee, Film Expert/USC Cinema/US State Department’s American Film Showcase. TV Academy Music Branch Exec committee, former SCL Board and Co-Founder Alliance for Women Film Composers. miriamcutler.com
CHANDA DANCY is both an accomplished film and television composer with over 16 years of experience and an emerging classical concert composer. Arts Boston named her one of “10 Contemporary Black Composers You Should Know.” She is known for her work with Aleem Hossain’s sci-fi feature “After We Leave” which has garnered critical acclaim around the globe. She is also known for her work with Wong Fu Productions’ debut feature “Everything Before Us”, starring Randall Park (Fresh Off The Boat). chandadancy.com
TONY MORALES is an Emmy-nominated composer known for his orchestral scores and textural sound for feature films and television, including Bloodline and Scorpion. His latest project, action-thriller The Fugitive is hailed as the new Quibi flagship series. Morales earned a Primetime Emmy nomination for the mini-series Hatfields & McCoys (co-composed with John Debney), and scored all three seasons of Disney’s Elena Of Avalor for which he received multiple Daytime Emmy nominations as well as an Annie Award nomination. Morales has composed music for documentaries including Benedict Men, The Definition of Insanity, and The Dominican Dream. tonymoralesmusic.com
PINAR TOPRAK is one of the most refreshing voices in music composition today, with a diverse body of work spanning across film, television, and video games. She has composed for major superhero sagas like Marvel Studios’ Captain Marvel, DC’s Stargirl, and SY-FY’s Superman prequel series Krypton. She also scored HBO’s six-part docuseries McMillions, which premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, as well as Epic Game’s massively popular online video game Fortnite. pinartoprak.com
Press & Media Links
“For too long, the community of composers who create scores for Hollywood films has been dominated by white men. Throughout my career, I’d been aware of this and told myself that someday, I’d like do something about it. That ‘someday’ is finally here."
Christophe Beck, Composer
“The type of content that’s been made with people who look like me has affected the way that I see myself as a person of color. Pushing the boundaries and figuring out how we can be represented in beautiful, complex and positive ways is something I want to be part of.“
Kris Bowers, Composer
"We’re excited to hear fresh, innovative scores that more accurately represent the world we live in, and can’t wait to see these composers smash through the glass ceiling. This has been a long time coming, and SESAC is honored to be part of the journey.”
Erin Collins, SESAC’s VP of Film, Television and Developing Media
ABOUT THE PARTNERS
CHRISTOPHE BECK, an LA-based, Canadian composer, started piano lessons at five, and by eleven he was learning Bee Gees songs by ear and performing with his first-ever band, the unfortunately-named Chris and The Cupcakes. During high school he studied piano, saxophone, and drums, and wrote many tender 80’s love ballads. Beck studied music at Yale, and attended USC’s prestigious film-scoring program, where he studied with Jerry Goldsmith. Beck scored the second season of WB’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and received Emmy Award for Outstanding Music Composition for his score to the Buffy episode, “Becoming, Part 1.” In 2000, the cheerleading comedy Bring It On launched Beck’s film career, which includes such diverse credits as Under the Tuscan Sun, Edge of Tomorrow, Crazy Stupid Love, Pitch Perfect, and the Hangover trilogy. More recently, Chris scored the Oscar® and Grammy®-winning animated film Frozen, and Marvel’s Ant-Man films. Christophe works out of his studio in Santa Monica, California. christophebeck.com
SESAC Performing Rights Organization currently licenses the public performances of more than 1 million songs on behalf of its 30,000 affiliated songwriters, composers, and music publishers, which include such familiar names as Adele, Bob Dylan, Neil Diamond, R.E.M., RUSH, Disclosure, Zac Brown, Rosanne Cash, Mumford & Sons, Burna Boy, Shirley Caesar, Kesha, and Lalah Hathaway. SESAC has long represented the music on some of TV’s biggest shows including Grey’s Anatomy, How I Met Your Mother, Parenthood, Dateline NBC, Dr. Phil, Seinfeld, and The Doctors among many others, and is the PRO of choice among many of Hollywood’s most sought-after film and television composers, including Christophe Beck, Danny Lux, Jon Ehrlich, Dennis C. Brown, Bruce Miller, Randy Newman, Paul Shaffer, among many others. sesac.com
NEW MUSIC USA supports the sounds of tomorrow by nurturing the creation, performance, and appreciation of new music for adventurous listeners around the world. We empower and connect US-based music makers, organizations, and audiences by providing funding through our Project Grants; fostering new connections through our programs; deepening knowledge through our online magazine, NewMusicBox; and working as an advocate for the field. New Music USA works in collaboration with its community in response to pressing needs and to amplify the diverse voices of music creators. New Music USA envisions a thriving and equitable ecosystem for new music throughout the United States. newmusicusa.org
Powered by SESAC and composer Christophe Beck, and administered by New Music USA.