©Stephanie Englert

at SoundTrack_Cologne 20 · 2023

Mychael Danna
 · Lifetime Achievement Award

Johann Grillenbeck · WDR Filmscore Award

Pavel Sitnikov · European Talent Award in Sound Design

 Arezou Rezaei · Honorable Mention - Filmscore

Jan Willem de With · Peer Raben Music Award

And Still I Sing · See The Sound Music Documentary Award

Dusty and Stones · Honorable Mention - Music Documentary


The award ceremony for the 20th edition of SoundTrack_Cologne took place this Friday, June 23, at the Comedia Theater in Cologne. The WDR Funkhausorchestra played during the event pieces by renowned film composers such as Rachel Portman, Natalie Holt, Carlos Rafael Rivera and Mychael Danna, who received the Lifetime Achievement Award of STC 20.

In his speech, Michael P. Aust, director of STC, was very excited about the 20 years of this great project and pointed out that the coming together of so many outstanding professionals around music for film, TV and games in Cologne every year makes all the effort worthwhile.

Mychael Danna · Lifetime Achievement Award

"Mychael Danna came to film music when that changed decisively. We can also say that he has made a decisive contribution to the expansion of the sound language of cinema since the mid-1980s". 

These were some of the words journalist Daniel Kothenschulte spoke when he presented the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 20th edition of SoundTrack_Cologne to the renowned composer Mychael Danna.

During the ceremony that took place this Friday night, June 23 at the Comedia Theater in Cologne, Kothenschulte highlighted that: "His early works for Armenian-born Canadian Atom Egoyan answer experimental narrative forms with congenial inventiveness. Their joint artistic odyssey to new cinematic territories continues to this day. Films like Family Viewing, Speaking Parts, The Adjuster, Exotica and The Sweet Hereafter stand in an Ingmar Bergman tradition of psychological chamber play - and the doors they open for the audience possess a unique sensitivity. Egoyan's important film Ararat weaves the horrific legacy of the Armenian genocide into the present, and Danna's respectful treatment of musical traditions on the soundtrack is crucial to this effect".

Kothenschulte pointed out that Danna's music "knows no hierarchies ... which makes it impossible to predict where his work will go after more than 80 scores".


Johann Grillenbeck · WDR Filmscore Award

During the ceremony, the WDR Filmscore Award was also presented to composer Johann Grillenbeck, who will have the opportunity to record an original composition with the WDR Funkhausorchester.

The jury, consisting of composer Jessica de Rooij, writer PeterLicht, film producer Johannes Rexin, director Corinna Rottschy and sound designer Klaus Waßen-Floren, noted that "the modern and contemporary sound worlds expressed in his composition were filled with small musical ideas in a purposeful and coherent way. Through the use of rough and edgy elements, the audience can feel the confidence of the score".

The jury concluded: "It's a brave score which the jury felt very passionate about".


Pavel Sitnikov · European Talent Award in Sound Design

Among the 15 nominees of the European Talent Competition, Pavel Sitnikov was awarded Best Sound Design thanks to the fact that the work presented to the competition "represented the most detailed approach to supporting the environments in the film, while also showing a lot of creativity in underlying the little ideas without resorting only to the obvious choice", hightlighted the jury.

Sitnikov will have the oppotunity to make a 5.1 cinematic mix down in the prestigious sound mixing studio TORUS GmbH.

Arezou Rezaei
 · WDR Filmscore Award - Honorable Mention 

Arezou Rezaei received an honorable mention for her short film Unify score. "The tasteful and open approach to the use of light dissonance, mixed with resonant accents, displayed the high potential of this composer", said the jury. 


Jan Willem de With · The Peer Raben Music Award

The Peer Raben Music Award at this year's STC went to Jan Willem de With. According to the jury, de With composition stood out for "its intelligent and courageous dramaturgical choices, captivating in its tactility and sensitivity". 

The score "puts the storytelling, the images and the music in an intense dialogue and lets the film breathe, which generates a contrast to its very violent topic", said the jury in its statement. 

First presented in 2009, the award that commemorates the great German film composer Peer Raben, gives 1.500 to the winner.

And Still I Sing · See The Sound Music Documentary Award 

The film And Still I Sing received the "See The Sound Music Documentary Award". According to the jury, the documentary directed by Afghan-Canadian director and screenwriter Fazila Amiri makes the audience connect deeply with the protagonists.

"In her film, which is depressingly topical, Amiri lets three very different Afghan women tell of their ambitions, their dreams and their fates. In the process, the audience gets very close to the protagonists". The jury highlighted that the documentary "is much more than a portrait of three courageous women who risk their lives for their love of music: Fazila Amiri tells of the destruction of people through the destruction of their culture - in this case by the Taliban, of racism and border crossings. With cleverly and appropriately chosen performances, she lets us discover a musical culture almost completely unknown in Europe".

Amiri sent a video message emphasising the importance for the world to generate pressure on human rights violations committed under regimes such as the Taliban in Afghanistan.

The Award is endowed with 2.500 Euros.

Dusty and Stones · Honorable Mention Music Documentary Award

The See The Sound Award jury, consisting of Milena Fessmann, Philipp Jedicke and Frank Scheffer, also singled out the work of director Jesse Rudoy's documentary Dusty and Stones. "The film about the journey of two country musicians from Eswatini (former Swaziland) to Texas is a classic hero's journey and a fairy tale come true. Moving, thrilling, surprising and soulful," they stressed.

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