Rachel Portman x Diana Cam Van Nguyen
She goes through life as the first female composer to win an Oscar, but Rachel Portman, born 11 December 1960 in Haslemere, Surrey, England, has never felt like a “female composer”. The Oscar she received in 1997 for Douglas McGrath's Emma did allow her to be taken seriously in the - by now decreasingly - male dominated film music world. The foundation was laid during her music studies at Oxford University. Then, courtesy of Alan Parker and David Puttnam, she was asked to compose the music for Oxford productions such as Privileged, starring fellow student Hugh Grant. Through theatre productions, she joined the BBC, where she impressed with the score for Beeban Kidron's TV series Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit.
Her filmography includes titles such as Benny & Joon, The Cider House Rules, Chocolat, Beloved, The Human Stain, Mona Lisa Smile, Ratcatcher, Never Let Me Go, Infamous, Julia, and many more. She characterises herself as "a storyteller with music" and emphasises the importance of melody, which gives the film a magical touch and a characterful voice. In addition to the hundred or so films and television series, Rachel Portman also writes extensively for opera and the concert hall. In addition she performs her own works on the piano in her album Ask The River, which expresses man’s connection with nature. Rachel Portman received the Georges Delerue Prize in Ghent in 1999 for her Ratcatcher score and was a guest at the fifth edition of the WSA in 2005.
Diana Cam Van Nguyen
Diana Cam Van Nguyen’s Vietnamese parents responded to the Czechoslovakian government's demand to help relieve labour shortages in the mid-1980s. She herself was born on 30 November 1993 in Cheb, Czech Republic. Her parents would have liked her to become a lawyer or doctor but she was more interested in art, and did what she was good at: drawing, hence animation. She took internships in Birmingham and Lyon before studying animation at the FAMU film school in Prague.
Her undergraduate work The Little One immediately won several awards and is autobiographically coloured. A father and a mother are about to fly back to Hanoi from Prague but the youngest child does not want to come with them. In her debut, Diana Cam Van Nguyen talks about the cultural split in the Vietnamese diaspora. Her second moving film Apart deals with loss and loneliness and is a hybrid of animation and documentary. She perfects this anidoc form in Love, Dad in which she reflects on the letters she received from her father, who spent a year in prison. In this way, she tries to reconnect with him. A gripping gem of animation and collage art from someone with a captivatingly quirky voice.