Robert Connolly headshots

Robert Connolly. 

Writer, director and producer Robert Connolly will receive the 2018 Distinguished Services to the Australian Screen Award at the Screen Music Awards later this month.

Musical director Jessica Wells will be joined by musicians Jared Underwood, Damian de Boos Smith, Julian Langdon and special guest bass player Jonathan Zwartz to pay musical tribute to  Connolly on the night.

The Distinguished Services award is selected by the APRA board of directors.  Over his career, Connolly has showcased the works of composers such as Lisa Gerrard, Alan John, Bryony Marks, Nigel Westlake, François Tétaz and Evelyn Ida Morris in his film and television projects.

Connolly said: “I remain in awe of the creative insight and impact that composers have contributed to the film and television productions I have worked on. So many times the profound emotional and narrative elements that have eluded me as a filmmaker have been so much more clearly explored by the composer. It is a great honour to receive this award from APRA, providing an opportunity for me to acknowledge the extraordinary contribution screen music has made to my work.”

Gerrard, the composer of the score for Balibo, said: “Robert Connolly, the director the man the artist, is fearlessly awake and dedicated to telling the truth, these attributes are becoming rare in a world that seems to be falling to sleep, he carries the torch for our unsung heroes and tunes in sincerely to their deeply touching stories. It is an honour for me as a fellow artist to celebrate his completely Australian quintessential sincerity.”

Paper Planes composer Westlake said:  “Robert Connolly has been an advocate and a champion of Australian music for his entire career and has consistently shown great vision and insight in matching his narratives with bold, intuitive and compelling soundscapes by a rich diversity of local composers. You would be hard pressed to find another individual who has given voice to the artistry of so many Australian composers, a man who has nurtured our community and provided the resources for our local talent to shine and realise their craft so thoroughly and with absolute integrity. The opportunity to work with Rob on Paper Planes was a highlight of my career. He is a filmmaker of the utmost integrity, a storyteller of immense facility, and has always believed in the power of cinema as a force for good.”

APRA AMCOS and the Australian Guild of Screen Composers have also announced the presenters for the 2018 event, including director Gillian Armstrong, actors Sacha Horler, Marcus Graham and Kym Gyngell, and NSW Minister for the Arts Don Harwin.

Performing at the awards will be composer Nigel Westlake with guest singer Lior, singer/songwriter Ajak Kwai, and concertmaster Véronique Serret will feature as part part of the orchestra.

The Screen Music Awards will be held at the City Recital Hall, Sydney on November 19.

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