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VIFF Amp’s Music in Film Summit nurtures, educates & champions emerging and newly established music professionals (composers, songwriters, music entrepreneurs), with a strong focus on elevating those from marginalized or underrepresented communities. The program provides creative insights, mentorship, and unique career development opportunities from international experts in the Music for Media space. 

In 2023, VIFF Amp continued its competitive and juried application process, selecting a group of emerging creatives to attend the summit for free, complemented with a stipend to recognize the time required to participate in this career development opportunity. The summit featured expertly curated masterclasses, case studies, panel discussions, and more, all of which were designed to develop skills and create relationships within the film and television sector.

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Look Back at VIFF Amp 2022


people onstage

The Art of Music Supervision

Four feature film music supervisors who have worked on everything from indies to major blockbusters discussed their work in features in an informative and interactive setting with real sync examples.

Featured Speakers: Bonnie Greenberg, Jojo Villanueva, Maureen Crowe & Morgan Rhodes

Moderator: Tony Scudellari

Stages to Screens

Three local artists represented by three local music companies, from influential startups to major indies, performed songs that have been successfully synced in film and television over the past year.

Moderator: Jane Aurora

Amp speakers on stage

The Art of Composition

A successful screen composer is able to handle a combination of skills: communication, translation, execution, and adaptation. This moderated conversation between a film director and composer team offered a revealing, candid look behind the curtain.

Featured Speakers: Clement Virgo & Todor Kobakov

Moderator: Adrian Ellis

Town Hall

An open conversation about opportunities for the cohort in an evolving music in media ecosystem, with a focus on initiatives from some of this year’s partner organizations.

Featured Speakers: Allyson Newman (Alliance for Women Film Composers), Amritha Vaz (Composers Diversity Collective), Erin Collins (SESAC/Reel Change Program), Heather McIntosh (Alliance for Women Film Composers), Lachi (RAMPD) & representatives from ASCAP and SOCAN (TBA)

Moderators: Rob Calder, Tony Scudellari

Scoring Masterclass: Animated Explorations

A deep dive into scoring for animation. How musicians enhance score that highlighted three local composers, with a curated live ensemble performance of works by our featured composers.

Featured Speakers: Amritha Vaz, Sascha Paladino & Jay Stutler

Soundoff performance


SOUNDOFF is a platform for our most promising local musicians, with a focus on song placement and sync licensing in film and TV. Local artists performed songs and connected with music supervisors at this live gathering.

Featured Music Supervisors: Angela Jollivette, Bonnie Greenberg, Kyle Merkley, Natasha Duprey & Valerie Biggin

Performing Artists: Adam Mah, Ché Aimee Dorval, Kylie V, NADUH & Zada

Guest Speakers

Adrian Ellis headshot

Adrian Ellis

Adrian is known for his inventive, concept-driven approaches to creating his scores. For the single- take, split screen feature Last Call, he recorded the score live, in a single take. The result was deemed “stirring”, and the film moved a full house to a two minute standing ovation during its sold out L.A. premiere. Feature film work includes The Scarehouse (NBC Universal), Shudder Original The Strings, and Cult Hero, which garnered him a Canadian Screen Award nomination in 2023.

Television credits include Secret Nazi Ruins (Science/History/Discovery), Secret Societies: In the Shadows (Superchannel), themes for Daily Planet (Discovery), The CFL and International Hockey (TSN), and TV movies (We’re Scrooged, Love in Wolf Creek). Adrian is the Chair of the Screen Composers Guild of Canada and an advocate of the value of screen music and the importance of the filmmaker/composer relationship.

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Allyson Newman headshot

Allyson Newman

Allyson Newman is an Emmy nominated composer whose work can be heard on The L Word Generation Q (Showtime), Partner Track (Netflix) and First Day (Hulu). She gained her masters degree in composition from the Sydney Conservartorium of Music at which time she scored her first feature film Watermark that screened at the Cannes Film Festival.

Allyson scored the multi award winning documentary feature Limited Partnership that premiered on PBS Independent Lens in 2015. Allyson then went on to score the Emmy nominated (2016) series Her Story, and in 2017 participated in the BMI Conducting Workshop. Following this Allyson scored Kusama-Infinity which premiered at Sundance 2018.

In 2019 Allyson collaborated with Oscar Winning directors Jeffrey Friedman and Rob Epstein to score State of Pride which opened the SXSW Film Festival. Als, that year, Allyson scored A Woman’s Work: The NFL’s Cheerleader Problem, as well as Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound which premiered at Cannes. Most recently Allyson worked with the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles to score Commitment to Life for Emmy winning film maker Jeffrey Schwartz. Allyson is the co-president of the Alliance for Woman Film Composers.

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Amritha Vaz headshot

Amritha Vaz

Prior to scoring film and television projects, Amritha Vaz was a human rights attorney, which is a driving force behind her desire to help tell stories with purpose. She started her composer journey working for Academy Award-winning composer Mychael Danna on 500 Days of Summer. They have since collaborated on a number of films, including co-composing the forthcoming drama, Couple of Heaven.

On her own Amritha was nominated for an ASCAP Composer’s Choice Award and two Annie Awards for her work on Disney’s animated series Mira, Royal Detective. Her other credits include an episode of the Apple TV Emmy-nominated series Home, and Angel Dose with Emmy-nominated director Sami Khan. Her other score work has been featured at festivals worldwide including TIFF, Sundance and HotDocs.

An ardent voice committed to equality and inclusion in the film music community, Amritha is an alumna of the prestigious Sundance Composer Lab, a board member of the Screen Composers Guild of Canada, and serves as Co-President of the Composers’ Diversity Collective, which was founded by Michael Abel.

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Clement Virgo

Clement Virgo is Canada’s foremost Black film director. His recent feature Brother won 12 CSA awards, and premiered at TIFF 2022. His first feature, Rude, premiered at Cannes in 1995 in Official Selection. Other films include Poor Boy’s Game (TIFF, Berlinale 2007), and Lie With Me (TIFF, Berlinale, Busan 2005). TV credits include The Wire (HBO), Monster (2022, for Ryan Murphy & NETFLIX) and OWN’s Greenleaf (2017), where he served as an EP with Oprah Winfrey. In 2015, Virgo’s six-part series The Book of Negroes opened MIPCOM and was nominated for a Peabody Award.

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Heather McIntosh headshot

Heather McIntosh

Heather McIntosh is a composer whose credits include Compliance, Z for Zachariah and One Dollar directed by Craig Zobel; Faults and The Art of Self-Defense directed by Riley Stearns; Astra Taylor’s Examined Life and What is Democracy?; The Quarry directed by Scott Teems; the original score for Amy Scott’s documentaries Hal and Sheryl (about Hal Ashby and Sheryl Crow respectively); The L Word: Generation Q and Partner Track (both series co-composed with Allyson Newman); and Cat Person directed by Susanna Fogel, based on the 2017 New Yorker short story of the same name, which premiered at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival.

She is also an alumna of The Sundance Institute Music and Sound Design Labs at Skywalker Sound, a Sundance Institute Time Warner Foundation Fellow, and a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, The Recording Academy and the Television Academy and Co-President of The Alliance for Women Film Composers along with Allyson Newman.

Heather started her musical career playing with the bands of The Elephant 6 Collective, Gnarls Barkley, and Lil Wayne. She has recorded with Animal Collective, Norah Jones, and St. Vincent, and has performed on stage with a variety of artists, such as Bright Eyes, of Montreal, Cat Power and John C. Reilly and Friends. Following her touring days, she has been regularly composing music for film and television since 2011.

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Kyle Merkley headshot

Kyle Merkley

With over a decade of experience in music supervision, licensing, and soundtrack creation, Kyle Merkley is the founder of SONGCHOPPER. His work spans acclaimed productions like Murdoch Mysteries (CBC), Hudson & Rex (CITY), and Ruby & The Well (FAMILY/BYU), along with licensing and music editing for shows like Killjoys (Syfy), Wynonna Earp (Syfy), and Flashpoint (CTV/CBS). Kyle’s achievements include a Golden Reel Award Nomination for ‘Best Sound Editing’ on Flashpoint and an Emmy Nomination for Music Direction, achieved in collaboration with composers Robert Carli and Lora Bidner on Ruby & The Well.

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Lachi headshot


Lachi is an award-winning internationally touring creative artist and personality, Grammys Board Governor and Founder and President of the U.N. recognized–a global network of music creators and professionals with disabilities. Born legally blind, Lachi uses her platform to amplify identity pride, Disability Culture and inclusion to the pop culture narrative. Through RAMPD Lachi brought accessibility to the 64th and 65th GRAMMYs, walking the red carpet with a glammed mobility cane. She also hosted a PBS American Masters segment highlighting disabled rebels. Named a “new champion in advocacy” by Billboard, she’s held talks with the White House and the UN, and has been featured in Essence, Forbes, Hollywood Reporter, Good Morning America, and the New York Times for celebrating intersectionality through her music, storytelling and fashion and for her upbeat and unapologetic brand of disability pride.

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Maureen Crowe headshot

Maureen Crowe

As a music supervisor, Maureen Crowe is known for her exceptional musical design, casting, original song creation, on-camera performance and marketing acumen and has been called upon to come in and “redesign” the musical style of a film. Crowe has spearheaded some of the most groundbreaking achievements in the field, most notably Wayne’s World, the Academy Award-winning musical Chicago, and in curating the best-selling soundtrack album of all time for The Bodyguard.

As the Founding President of the Guild of Music Supervisors in 2008, she made incredible strides towards rights advocacy, fostering colleague relationships, educating future professionals and promoting her peers and their work.

She has worked for Warner Brothers Pictures, Paramount Pictures, 20th Century Fox, New Line Cinema, Miramax, MGM, Disney Cable/ABC Family, Sony/BMG, Interscope and many more.

Her latest projects include the Skydance Animation Project, a Steven Van Zandt HBO documentary, I Wanna Dance With Somebody, the Whitney Houston biopic, and Ms. Pat for BET+.

Crowe is a member of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, The Television Academy, The Recording Academy and The Guild of Music Supervisors.

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Natasha Duprey headshot

Natasha Duprey

Natasha Duprey is an award-winning music supervisor based in Vancouver who has supervised thousands of hours of episodic television. She has worked on feature films such as Frankie & Alice (which garnered Halle Berry a Golden Globe nomination) and documentaries including the 4-part EPIX series PUNK! and 2020 Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner Boys State. Natasha has recently completed the series Kids in the Hall (Amazon), Fakes (CBC Gem/Netflix), The Imperfects (Netflix), Let the Right One In (Showtime), Family Law (The CW), the fourth and final season of Snowpiercer (TNT), Animal Control (Fox), the kids movie trilogy Ivy & Bean (Netflix) and the Bobby Farrelly-directed feature film Champions starring Woody Harrelson. Natasha is also VP of the Guild of Music Supervisors Canada.

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Sascha Paladino headshot

Sascha Paladino

Sascha Paladino is a four-time Emmy-nominated television writer and executive producer, and an award-winning film director. Most recently the executive producer of Disney Junior’s Mira, Royal Detective, Sascha was also creator and executive producer of Disney’s Miles from Tomorrowland. He has been a writer, head writer, and producer for many other children’s programs, including Henry Hugglemonster, Ni Hao, Kai-lan, Team Umizoomi, Wonder Pets, and Blue’s Clues, and has written lyrics to hundreds of songs for the shows, including the theme songs for Henry Hugglemonster and Ni Hao, Kai-lan. Sascha has written and developed projects and pilots for companies including Nickelodeon, Disney, The Jim Henson Company, MTV, Scholastic, and the BBC, among others. Sascha’s films include the documentary Throw Down Your Heart, about the American banjo player Bela Fleck’s musical adventures in Africa (VIFF Audience Award Winner, 2008).

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Todor Kobakov headshot

Todor Kobakov

Todor is an award-winning composer. His credits include Brother (Lamar Johnson, Aaron Pierre), a film by Clement Virgo for which he received a CSA for best original music; Born to Be Blue, the Chet Baker biopic starring Ethan Hawke; Back Stabbing for Beginners (Ben Kingsley); the hit series Bitten; Ransom (eOne/Global/CBS), for which he received a CSA nomination; and Cardinal (eOne/CTV), for which he was awarded two CSAs for Best Original Music, Fiction.

He recently finished composing for Caitlin Cronenberg’s new film Humane and Andrew Currie’s The Invisibles.

Todor is also renowned in the indie and pop music scenes working with Metric, Stars, Feist, Sarah Slean, 070 Shake and more.

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Valerie Biggin headshot

Valerie Biggin

Valerie Biggin is a Music Business veteran with over 30 years’ experience in recording, orchestral score coordination, music supervision and licensing.
Still very active in the local music community you will find her either at the studio or in a club listening to the newest, latest, greatest – music is her passion! Valerie started her career as an aspiring recording engineer but ended up as the President/Studio Manager for Mushroom Studios in Vancouver for over 13 years. With additional stints at SOCAN, American Federation of Musicians and Business Instructor (Sound Design Dept.) at the Vancouver Film School, Valerie’s passion and knowledge of music and its business was firmly established and respected.

In late 2009, Valerie opened The Song Rep, a music placement agency who, in a very short time, placed music in MTV, MTV Canada, FOX Sports and Slice Networks, Hallmark, A&E, and independent films. It was only a matter of time before the natural progression to Music Supervision became the focus of The Song Rep.

Currently enjoying the top 10 Global success of the Netflix series Sweet Magnolias in Season 3 and working on Season 2 of Reginald the Vampire, Valerie holds a Certificate in Entertainment Law from Osgoode/York University in Toronto and a Certificate in Canadian Copyright Law.

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Composer Filmmaker Accelerator

VIFF Amp’s inaugural and most advanced program of hands-on learning for emerging composers of music for media is the Composer Filmmaker Accelerator (CFA) program. CFA was created to advance the dialogue and collaboration between composers and filmmakers. CFA gives 12 talented, emerging film composers an opportunity to take their careers to the next level by recording and performing their original score with a world-class orchestra.

The program pairs the 12 composers with 4 established filmmakers (3 composers working with 1 director) through virtual learning sessions, followed by an in-person recording and mixing session at one of Vancouver’s premier studios, The Warehouse Studios. The musical pieces created will be performed by musicians from the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.

Miriam Cutler headshot

Miriam Cutler, Program Curator

The program is curated by three-time Emmy nominated, award-winning film and television composer Miriam Cutler, based on her vast experience mentoring and leading workshops for both filmmakers and composers with Sundance, the International Documentary Association, Film Independent, US State Department / USC School of Cinema American Film Showcase (international), and more.

Mission & Vision

As a film composer, it is crucial to understand that the primary goal is to reinforce the narrative of the film that is so carefully crafted by the filmmakers. There are many ways to accomplish this, but with a strong collaborative process, the results will reflect a thorough exploration of possibilities for a unique score that really complements the film and surpasses the wildest dreams of the filmmakers.

Unfortunately, many filmmakers and composers are educated in separate programs, limiting their opportunities to learn from each other and collaborate in their early stages of development.

The VIFF 2023 Composer Filmmaker Accelerator was created as an opportunity for the industry to foster an interdisciplinary approach to filmmaking that values the contributions of all team members, and provides opportunities for collaboration and cross-disciplinary learning.
Miriam Cutler, Program Curator

Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

Our musical partner, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra curated a group of 20 VSO players to record in studio with the 12 composer cohort, who worked in collaboration with their respective film director. This culminated in the VSO musicians performing these original compositions live in their first-ever public facing concert at VIFF Amp.

Composer Filmmaker Accelerator Showcase

The concert performance featured all 12 original scores by the inaugural cohort of the Composer Filmmaker Accelerator Program. The concert was the culmination of 7 weeks of online and in-person class work, recording the score and final mixing in the studio. The composers presented the music to the public in a live-to-picture performance, featuring the 20 musicians of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra with whom they collaborated in the recording studio.

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Program Faculty

Damon Tedesco headshot

Damon Tedesco

Damon Tedesco is the Recording Engineer and Scoring Mixer for the Amp Composer Filmmaker Accelerator. For the last 25 years, Damon has specialized in recording music for film and television. A member of the Television Academy, he has recorded and mixed music for hundreds of commercials, TV shows, films, and documentaries. He is currently the scoring mixer for Family Guy and American Dad, and recently worked on Lost City and Hocus Pocus 2.

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Michelle Sudduth headshot

Michelle Sudduth

Michelle Sudduth is the Scoring Session Producer for the VIFF Amp Composer Filmmaker Accelerator. Michelle is a composer, songwriter, and classically-trained pianist, and has worked in the booth on many film and TV recording sessions in Los Angeles. She called Vancouver home while in graduate school (UBC) and credits UCLA’s Film Scoring program with equipping her to create music for media. Most recently, Michelle has joined a cohort of composers for MTV / Paramount’s FirstTime Composers initiative through 2024.

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Alex Clark headshot

Alex Clark

With a composition degree from Wilfrid Laurier University and over a decade as an orchestra librarian, Alex Clark has spent most of his professional career behind the scenes of large classical music productions preparing music for musicians or leading the digital video production teams. In recent years Alex has gained experience in sound design, cinematography, directing cameras for live orchestral concerts and recordings, arranging for orchestra and rock band as well as composing for chamber ensembles, full symphony orchestra and electronic music for a short film.

Aside from writing, Alex has remained active as a viola player and conductor during his time in Arts Administration. His career philosophy has been to continue to learn and understand as much about the music industry as a whole as possible while maneuvering in and around it. This has naturally led to a strong interest in the film and television industry as well. Alex is always looking for projects that will help him learn new skills, collaborate with other creative individuals and grow his music creation studio and business. Most of Alex’s music publishing and production business is run through his company AseosA.

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