Star speaker lined up for Poppy Jasper Film Festival

Harry Manfredini will be the star speaker for the Poppy Jasper Short Film Festival this year.

Morgan Hill’s Poppy Jasper Short Film Festival this week announced that noted Hollywood film composer Harry Manfredini will be its star speaker in October.

“The theme for this year’s Poppy Jasper – our ninth year – is music and the movies, and Harry will help us celebrate the wonderful way the musical art and cinema interact in the pursuit of great story telling,” said Tedd Faraone, the film festival’s executive director. “We’re truly honored to have Mr. Manfredini be part of this year’s festival because he’ll help us explore the art of music scoring in filmmaking.”

Based in the Los Angeles region, Manfredini has provided the musical score for more than 100 films that range from comedy and children’s films to documentaries and horror classics. He is most famous for providing the music for the “Friday the 13th” series of slasher movies. A partial list of his films include “Swamp Thing” (1982), “The Omega Code” (1999), “The Hills Have Eyes Part II” (1985), “Wolves of Wall Street” (2002), and “Wishmaster” (1997).

Manfredini got involved in the Poppy Jasper Film Festival through his friend Victor Miller, who is on the board of directors for the festival and the creator and screenwriter of the original “Friday the 13th” movie. “Victor told me, ‘You really should come up and do this film festival. It’s really fun, really cool and people would love to hear you talk about movie music,’” Manfredeni said.

At this year’s festival, Manfredini will talk about his experiences working in the movies for the last four decades. He also plans to be involved in two workshops. One workshop will help composers and musicians learn how to work with film makers. The other will help filmmakers and producers understand how to communicate their cinematic pursuits with the musical artists involved with their movies.

Manfredini earned a Bachelor of Music degree from DePaul University and a Master of Arts degree from Western Illinois University. At Western Illinois, he taught music theory, orchestration and conducting. Later, he moved to New York City to pursue his doctorate at Columbia University. There, he began his career writing film music. He later moved to southern California to work in the movie industry there.

In describing his creative process in developing a film score, Manfredini said: “I try to watch the film only when it’s complete. I don’t like to see dailies. In some cases, I don’t want to read the script. I don’t want to know what happens. I want to see the picture with virgin eyes. I want to see what’s going to happen and manipulate the audience and either scare them or make them laugh or do whatever I need to do to have the biggest musical emotional impact on the story.”

Manfredini’s musical scoring has been compared with Bernard Herrmann, a composer who worked with Alfred Hitchcock.

“We’re very excited that we’ll be hosting noted film composer and jazz-soloist Harry Manfredini at this year’s 2012 Poppy Jasper,” said Jay Jaso, the festival’s ambassador and co-founder. “Mr. Manfredini will add a new dimension to our film presentations and workshops as he mixes with filmgoers, presents workshops on the role of music in filmmaking, and gives us insight into how music is developed for films.”

In past years, the Poppy Jasper Film Festival has hosted individuals with talent and experience in the craft of filmmaking. This has included renowned individuals who have made their mark in areas like special effects, cinematography, costuming, production, editing, and screenwriting, Jaso said.

“With each presentation, we’ve given our audiences and attending filmmakers a deeper look into the craft of filmmaking,” he said. “With Mr. Manfredini, we will continue in expanding our presentations as we examine the role that music plays in creating the magic of film.”

The Poppy Jasper Film Festival will take place in Morgan Hill Oct. 11 to 14. This is the festival’s ninth year. For more information, go to www.poppyjasperfilmfest.org.

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