Master of Fine Arts (Creative Practice) Music showcase

Music students from Victoria University’s first Master of Fine Arts (Creative Practice) (MFA (CP)) programme showcased their final projects in a special screening on Friday 16 March.

Battle in Being

Representing the culmination of a year-long intensive study of creative practice, excerpts from four films were shown focusing on the soundtracks composed and recorded by the students.

Collaboration is a key element of study within the MFA (CP) and early on the Music students were teamed up with either other MFA (CP) students studying Film or Design, or with Wellington film makers.

Nick Veale, Sam Leamy and David Williams worked both separately and together to compose, record and mix the music for the feature-length film Hangtime, by director Casey Zilbert and creative director Steve Barr. Nick says that Hangtime (the story of a man who spends his wedding weekend with friends after being left at the altar) “has been beneficial for all of us in terms of meeting people in the industry who are dedicated to their work and with whom we hope to work again in the future. It was also a great learning experience in collaborating with each other to create music for feature length films.”

Nick also presented his work on Jasmine, a short film about a man leading a double life as a drag queen. A joint effort with the New Zealand Film and Television School, Nick was tasked with creating not only the film’s score, but also its major song in partnership with Lee Stuart from the New Zealand School of Music’s Jazz programme: “I learned to work not only with the director’s vision but also how to navigate the interactions between each creative party.” 

Caitlin Morris worked with MFA (CP) Design student Shivashish Andrews to create Battle in Being, a video art triptych exploring identity and an “abstract manifestation of adversity and self-struggle of the marginalised, and the empowerment that comes with eventual self-acceptance”. It was Caitlin’s first time creating contemporary and electronic music and she found working with Shivashish an exciting process: “He had so many new ideas that really inspired innovative work from me.” The resulting artwork can be viewed on YouTube:

Liam Reid presented an excerpt from Wild, a short film intended as an exploration of post-traumatic stress disorder, on which he worked with director/writer Stephanie Miller and producer and fellow MFA (CP) student in Film, ShuRun Yap. Liam described the honour of working with taonga pūoro composer and practitioner Rob Thorne and percussionist Naoto Segawa, as well as the excitement of recording the 10-piece New Zealand School of Music Orchestra. “I was able to enhance my approach to a wide variety of instruments and create a work that truly demonstrates the ambition and scale that I’m capable of.”

The films will be submitted for New Zealand and international film festivals throughout 2018.