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The Great White Silence by Gemma Starkey
Introduction About the Film A New Score Distributing the Film    
A new score for The Great White Silence

How do you begin to score a silent two-hour non-fiction film? What's the difference between performing live and creating a DVD soundtrack? What is the sound of silence? And, most importantly, how do you score a penguin? Or lots of penguins?

The films on this page all focus on the soundscape of The Great White Silence, scroll down to start watching.

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"After getting the commission and having said yes I'd love to do it - I hadn't seen the film, I had no idea it was nearly two hours long and of course silent is really silent, there's nothing there, nothing to help you." In The Sound of Silence, Simon Fisher Turner talks to us about how he addressed the many challenges of creating a new score for The Great White Silence. In developing his score, Simon connected materially with the actual artefacts of the expedition, such as the ship's bell, gramophone music from the 1900s, hymns from the team's memorial service, and the sound of silence recorded in Scott's hut in Antarctica. Here he explains his highly original approach and demonstrates how eloquently he manages to bring Ponting's incredible imagery to life, adding to the mix his own recordings of sea, wind and wildlife, a string quartet and male soloist.

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In this video Bryony Dixon explains what must be taken into account when creating a new score for an archive film, she also tells us how the film would have originally been shown in the 1920s.

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Simon discusses his experience of preparing for the live performance at the London Film Festival in October 2010, while Bryony tells us about her reactions to watching it.
With thanks to Bruce Atherton and Jana Chiellino for the images from the LFF performance. For the complete set visit:

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Question: When is a metal bench not a metal bench? Answer: When it's an iceberg! In this interview Simon talks us through why 'false foleys', old recordings and the sound of silence are so important to his creative process.

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