“THE MATADOR“ is Stephen Higgins & Nina Seavey’s acclaimed feature doc about Spanish Bullfighter David . My score was received by great critical acclaim, which included this the NY Times critic, Jeanette Catsoulis: “Thrust forward by John Califra’s uncommonly stirring score, the story…unspools with more drama than most blockbusters.”
My score, for orchestra and chamber ensemble, garnered an Emmy nomination in 2011. I approached the score as though it were ballet for which the choreography was already cast. The film contains extended sequences, beautifully shot, showing the confrontation between the Matador and his mythical nemesis – in reality, a poor creature overwhelmed by terror and confusion.
“THE LAST HUNT” is Damon Sinclair’s beautiful feature doc portraying the decline of Irish master hunter, Thaddy Ryan. The film includes extended sequences shot on horseback using a stedicam developed by the CIA for use in the 1980s in Afghanistan. My score, for chamber orchestra, is influenced by Celtic lyricism.
This sequence is one of the film’s hunting sequences:
This sequence documents Ryan’s last hunt. He will not be on the field again. He is leaving Ireland, emigrating to New Zealand. My idea was to treat this sequence with reverence – as a sort of meditation on mortality and the passing of time: