James Cameron: With 'Titanic,' James Horner 'Reinvented the Romantic Score'

James Horner
James Horner
 Getty

FRANKFURT — Video messages from James Cameron and Celine Dion to honoree James Horner capped the opening gala at the eDIT  Filmmakers Festival, Sunday in Frankfurt.

Academy Award winner Horner — who composed the music for films including Cameron’s Titanic, Aliens and Avatar—and Oscar-nominated editor Terry Rawlings — who has cut films including Chariots of Fire, Blade Runner and Alien—were awarded the top recognition of Festival Honors at the event.

Additionally. Academy Award-nominated cinematographer Pawel Edelman — who credits include The Pianist and Ray—received a special honor from IMAGO, the European Cinematographers Federation.

In his message, Cameron talked about each of his three collaborations with Horner, starting with how the composer “brought (Aliens) to life.

“In Titanic, I challenged you to do an emotionally powerful score without violinists, and with the use of haunting vocals and bittersweet Celtic pipes, you reinvented the romantic score. Avatar was a very different challenge — to capture the heart and spirit of an alien culture without alienated the audience. By combining the sweep of a classic orchestral score with indigenous instrumentation and vocals, you came up with a unique sound that created both the epic sweep of the film and also childlike sense of wonder of experiencing that fantastic world for the first time. … I look forward to our next collaboration and I can’t wait to hear what you come up with next.”

With Titanic, Horner earned two Academy Awards, one for best original score and another for My Heart Will Go On as best original song. His additional collaborations with Cameron earned him Oscar nominations.

Rawlings was nominated for an Academy Award for his work on Chariots of Fire. His credits also include The Duelist, Blade Runner, Alien, Yentl , Alien 3, Watership Down, and  Joel Schumacher’s adaptation of Phantom of the Opera.

The tribute to Rawlings began with video messages from directors Hugh Hudson (Chariots of Fire) and Ridley Scott (Blade Runner). “Without you, Chariots wouldn’t have be the film it was,” Hudson said. “Editing is an original thing, and you are an original.”

“Sound editor, dubbing editor, music editor, film editor and gentleman — this is Terry Rawlings,” said Festival co-director Tom Atkin, who presented the award.

In a video message from Roman Polanski to Edelman, the director called the cinematographer “the coolest in the business,” and got a laugh from the crowd as he commented, “It is the best reward, to be awarded from your peers—sometimes we are given awards from people who don’t know why they are giving them to us.” Andrzej Wajda also sent a video message to the cinematographer.

The Festival is an event from the Hessian Ministry of Higher Education, Research and the Arts; the State Regulatory Authority for Commercial Broadcasting in Hesse;  and the city of Frankfurt.

It is held in collaboration with American Cinema Editors (ACE), Motion Picture Sound Editors (MPSE) and IMAGO.

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