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May 18, 2012
Rolfe Kent Wins BMI Richard Kirk Award
Annual dinner attracts top film and TV composers

Rolfe Kent

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif.—More than 600 composers and songwriters attended Wednesday night's annual BMI Film & TV Awards dinner where English composer Rolfe Kent was presented the performing-rights society's Richard Kirk Award for career achievement.

Kent – the composer of Sideways, Legally Blonde, Up in the Air, About Schmidt, Freaky Friday, Election, Wedding Crashers and other films – also received awards for his music for the film Mr. Popper's Penguins and his theme for TV's Dexter. He was one of more than 50 composers and songwriters who received awards at the annual event.

BMI president and CEO Del Bryant, who with vice-president of film/TV relations Doreen Ringer Ross made the presentations, said that more than half of all American films and more than 70 percent of all prime-time network TV programs contained music by BMI writers. He called those in the room at the Regent Beverly Wilshire "America's cultural ambassadors."

In a video tribute to Kent, director Alexander Payne (Sideways, About Schmidt) quipped that "his most defining quality is his Rolfe-ish-ness... he has a world view that is kind of bemused." Director Jason Reitman (Up in the Air, Young Adult) praised "the creative experience that we've had together."

Director Richard Shepard (The Hunting Party, The Matador) said that Kent is "able to tell what I want to feel and transpose it [into music].... He's a Renaissance man." Producer Peter Morgan (The Jury) told a funny story about Kent's penchant for wearing kilts in unlikely places.

Kent amused the crowd by turning his acceptance speech into a lighthearted poem whose punchline was "we're lucky to be known for anything at all." On a more serious note, he spoke of film composers as "artists, storytellers, musicians and filmmakers" and of "reaching for that little bit of truth, that elusive theme" that can transform a film.

Kent received a standing ovation from the crowd, as did 80-year-old John Williams, who was present to collect awards for his music for War Horse and The Adventures of Tintin. Also present were fellow film composers including Thomas Newman, Mark Mothersbaugh, Atticus Ross, Christopher Lennertz, Harry Gregson-Williams, Mychael Danna, Javier Navarrete, Christopher Young and Clinton Shorter; songwriters such as Richard Sherman and Will Jennings; and TV composers including Brian Kirk, Blake Neely, Brian Tyler, Mike Post, David Buckley, Kevin Kiner and Izler.

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