Austra Scores 'Swan Song' Ballet Documentary Premiering at TIFF

The film was executive-produced by Neve Campbell and follows ballet legend Karen Kain's farewell production of 'Swan Lake'

Photo: Virginie Khateeb

BY Megan LaPierrePublished Sep 1, 2023

Toronto multi-hyphenate Austra (a.k.a. Katie Stelmanis) is adding yet another title to her resumé: film score composer.

Since the 2020 release of her fourth album, HiRUDiN, Austra's latest project has found her delving into the film world to score Swan Song, a ballet documentary set to have its world premiere at TIFF on September 9 ahead of opening in theatres across Canada later this month.

Directed by Chelsea McMullan and executive-produced by Neve Campbell, the feature follows legendary ballerina Karen Kain's farewell production of Swan Lake — and the way ballet culture impacts those inside of it and beyond.

"Scoring Swan Song has been a dream project," Stelmanis said in a statement. "My first ever experience performing was as a kid singing in the orchestra pit for the National Ballet of Canada's Nutcracker sometime in the '90s and my love for Tchaikovsky has sustained ever since."

The artist composed the synth-based score using only three elements: a Juno-106, a Mellotron and her voice. "I was influenced by artists like Vangelis and Oneohtrix Point Never to compose a deep, textured, almost entirely electronic score that traverses the spectacular music of Swan Lake," she explained.

Watch the trailer for Swan Song — which will be expanded into a four-part series coming to CBC Gem and CBC TV in November — below.


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