The fifth annual film score competition run by Tropfest and APRA AMCOS comes under fire for controversial film choice.
A short film selected for this year’s APRA Tropscore Competition, which features a husband burying his wife alive, has been dropped from the annual composition prize after a successful social media campaign to ban the film for its depictions of domestic violence.
Jointly run by the world’s largest short film festival, Tropfest, and Australia’s copyright and royalties body, APRA AMCOS, the Tropscore Competition invites composers to score a specific film, with the winning soundtrack receiving a public performance during the Sydney-based festival in December. For 2015’s competition Michael Noonan’s film Remote was selected, which was a Tropfest finalist in 2013. A scoreless version of the film was made available for entrants to download from the competition website, however many took to social media to express their opposition to Remote being selected for the competition.
Intended as a black comedy, Noonan’s controversial film depicts a man driving into the desert, before hurriedly searching for the remote location of a recent burial. After digging up what appears to be a coffin, the man opens the box to reveal a bound, gagged, and clearly terrified woman, to which he asks “where’s the remote?” The film has been condemned as an inappropriate choice for the composition award, now in its fifth year, prompting a social media campaign to replace the film using the hashtag #notremotelyfunny.
Composer Jennifer Kingwell, who also formerly worked at the Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria, spearheaded the online campaign against the film. Rather than boycott Tropscore, Kingwell called for composers to subvert the competition by submitting “femmo/anti-misogynistic audio pieces.” Writing on her facebook page Kingwell added, “Using domestic violence as a punchline is not ok, ever, but especially in a year where 63 women have died violently in Australia, often by the hand of a current or former partner.”
Hundreds of people have joined Kingwell in condemning the film selection on twitter, and APRA AMCOS have now acknowledged the poor choice by pulling the film from the competition. “APRA AMCOS wishes to unreservedly apologise for any distress caused by our association with the film Remote, selected for this year’s Tropscore competition,” a statement said. “We acknowledge that, given the level and impact of domestic violence in this country, the film should have been rejected from the Tropscore selection process from the outset and a more appropriate film selected for composers to score.”
— Steve Dixon (@rotassator) September 23, 2015
— Helen Perris (@helenperris) September 23, 2015
— caerwen martin (@caerwenmartin) September 25, 2015
A new film will now be selected and composers who have already submitted scores will be invited to create new pieces, with the deadline for submissions extended. Michael Noonan has created a facebook group for composers who have already created scores for his film Remote to publicly air their work.