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Home > About > Media Releases > Creaghan, Binette Mercier, Pratte, Garcia win SOCAN Foundation A-V Awards

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Creaghan, Binette Mercier, Pratte, Garcia top winners in SOCAN Foundation Awards for A-V Composers

August 10, 2015

The SOCAN Foundation today announced eight recipients of the fifth annual SOCAN Foundation Awards for Young Audio-visual Composers.

This year’s competition attracted 46 entries, awarding $21,000 to eight prizewinners. “This is a unique competition, the only one of its kind in Canada,” says Rick MacMillan, Manager, SOCAN Foundation. “It offers us an excellent opportunity to spotlight the many talented composers working in Canada’s vibrant film and television industries, including this year’s first prize-winners, Spencer Creaghan, Antoine Binette Mercier, Vincent L. Pratte and Isaias Garcia.”

The SOCAN Foundation Awards for Young Audio-visual Composers recognize Canadian composers 30 years of age and under for four categories of music created exclusively for audio-visual support (film, TV, Internet). The competition was judged by a jury of three prominent media composers: Pete Coulman of Toronto, ON, Marc Ouellette of Montreal, QC, (recently elected SOCAN Foundation President) and Mike Shields of Calgary, AB.

Jury member Marc Ouellette was impressed with the “superb overall production quality” of Creaghan's score for Lola.

The jury members praised Spencer Creaghan’s score for Lola, a short film that relates the story of a 24-year-old girl who feels all control of her life slipping away from her, which won Creaghan the $3,000 first prize in the Fiction category. Pete Coulman found it “intriguing” and remarked on the “uniqueness of the sound palette.” Marc Ouellette was impressed with the “superb overall production quality.”

Antoine Binette Mercier’s score for the documentary Le Nez, which details how scents are intimately connected to our emotions and memories, also gripped the jury. Mike Shields was “won over by its originality” and Pete Coulman remarked on the composer’s “nice choice of instruments, behind a very active voice-over.”

Other $3,000 first-prize winners were Vincent L. Pratte for his airy music in the stop-action short Blossom (Animated film category), which Mike Shields found “emotionally engaging”; and Isaias Garcia for the short film The Path (Musical Theme category), which Marc Ouellette called “a most convincing signature identity for the film.”

Pratte, who has won multiple awards in this competition over the past several years, also shared the second prize in the Fiction category with Eli Bennett ($1,500 for each composer) for his score for the film Trenches (Bennett was recognized for his contributions to the film Jobless), and Garcia was honoured with a shared third prize in the Fiction category, also for The Path, along with Maya Postepski for her work on Closet Monster (each composer wins $750). Garcia also took the $750 third prize in the Animated category for his music for the video game Dream Revenant.

Additional Award recipients include Eli Bennett (second prize) and Max Henry (third prize) in the Non-fiction category; and Karine Bétournay (second prize) in the Animated category.

About the SOCAN Foundation Awards for Young Audio-visual Composers

The SOCAN Foundation Awards for Young Audio-visual Composers is open to Canadian citizens 30 years of age and under.

About SOCAN Foundation

Founded in 1992, SOCAN Foundation is dedicated to fostering musical creativity and promoting a better understanding of the role of music creators in today's society. SOCAN Foundation is an independent organization guided by its own board of directors. The board, which consists of composers, songwriters and music publishers, reflects concert music and popular music genres as well as the geographic and linguistic regions of Canada. It is closely aligned to the interests of the members of SOCAN – the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada.

Media Contact: Rick MacMillan, 416-445-8700, ext. 3815,



Best Original Score: Fiction

First Prize: $3,000 – Spencer Creaghan, 23, London, ON – Lola (director Mathew Murray)

Spencer Creaghan is an award-winning film and modern media composer. He has written music for countless short and feature films, as well as plays, web series, advertisements, bumper logos, video games, and a children’s theme park. His music has been heard in festivals such as TIFF, Cannes Film Festival, and the Hamilton and Toronto Fringe Festivals. He has also written orchestrations for many symphonic metal acts, world-wide. When not composing for media, he produces grandiose records fusing all genres, from pop, electronic, world and metal.

Second Prize (shared): $1,500 – Eli Bennett, 26, New Westminster, BC – Jobless (director Joseph Aceves)

Four-time Leo Award-nominated film composer and award-winning saxophonist Eli Bennett is a recent recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. He was also recently recognized by the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences as Rising Star, is a two-time winner of the CBC Galaxie Rising Star Award, was awarded the 2012 Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Award, and performed for two consecutive years at the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. Bennett is a 2012 Leo Award Nominee for his additional music score for Nash, the documentary featuring basketball legend Steve Nash, and received two nominations at the 2013 Leo Awards for Best Musical Score in a Short Drama. Other credits include additional music for the feature documentary The Exhibition, additional music for Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman, and original scores for more than two dozen short films, trailers and commercials.

Second Prize (shared): $1,500 – Vincent L. Pratte, 28, Los Angeles, CA – Trenches (director Caroline Friend)

Vincent L. Pratte holds a bachelor’s degree and a master's degree in composition from the University of Montreal, where he studied with, among others, Alan Belkin and Pierre-Daniel Rheault. In 2014, he completed a graduate certificate in film scoring at the University of Southern California. His teachers included Bruce Broughton, Christopher Young and Garry Schyman. He has scored many short films and has won four first prizes in previous editions of the SOCAN Foundation Awards for Young Audio-Visual Composers in 2011, 2013 and 2014. His compositions for the concert hall have been performed by various Montreal and surrounding area ensembles, including the Chœur de l’Université de Montréal, Vocalys and the OPMEM (Montreal Philharmonic Musician’s Orchestra). Some of his works for wind ensemble have been published by GAM Publishing. He was a lecturer (student teacher) from 2011 to 2013 at the University of Montreal, where he taught four-part harmony. 

Third Prize (shared): $750 – Isaias Garcia, 24, Toronto, ON – The Path (director Emily Jenkins)

Isaias Garcia is a six-time Hollywood Music in Media Awards nominee and winner of the 2014 Best Original Video Game Score award for the iOS game Dream Revenant. He is the youngest film composer to win at the HMMAs. He holds the post of composer-in-residence with the Celebrity Symphony Orchestra Toronto and has also premiered works with the Etobicoke Philharmonic, the Lisbon Philharmonic and the Campbellsville University Orchestra. Since 2009, he has scored more than 30 films for students in distinguished film programs such as the USC Peter Stark Producing Program, UCLA, New York Film Academy, Ryerson University, and many other university programs in the US, UK, Australia and Canada. He is currently completing his BFA studies in music at the School of Arts, Media, Performance and Design at York University in Toronto, specializing in composition and film scoring. 

Third Prize (shared): $750 – Maya Postepski, 29, Toronto, ON – Closet Monster (director Stephen Dunn) 

Maya Postepski has been making music for more than 10 years, currently as part of the Toronto-based electronic group AUSTRA Domino. She is a prolific remix artist and DJ, and she co-wrote and produced TRST with Robert Alfons as TRUST Arts Crafts. Progress is her latest album, to be released under her solo moniker PRINCESS CENTURY. This project is the outlet for her genre-crossing experiments that take the listener on a journey through minimalist cosmic disco psychedelia.

Best Original Score Non-Fiction 

First Prize: $3,000 – Antoine Binette Mercier, 28, Montreal, QC – Le Nez (director Kim Nguyen)

Antoine Binette Mercier fell in love with music composition as a percussionist for L’Harmonie des Cascades in Beauport, near Quebec City, and undertook further studies in percussion performance with René Joly at Cégep de Sainte-Foy and in music composition with Éric Morin at Laval University. While still a student, he started writing video game music at the age of 22. His experience in the video game industry later helped him develop a close relationship with Apollo Studios, an advertising music company that is very active in the Canadian film industry. In the past four years, he scored a variety of film projects including the documentary Takedown: The DNA of GSP, for which he won a Prix Gémeaux. He was the co-producer of Karkwa member Julien Sagot’s most recent album, which was nominated for a 2015 Juno Award.

Second Prize: $1,500 – Eli Bennett, 26, New Westminster, BC – Believe: The True Story of Real Bearded Santas (directors John Paget and James Waugh)

See bio listed under Best Original Score: Fiction

Third Prize: $750 – Max Henry, 28, Montreal, QC – The Secret World of Gold (director Brian McKenna)

Max Henry’s professional life as a musician began as a member of the Toronto Children’s Chorus and with studies in classical piano through the Royal Conservatory of Music. He also studied jazz drums performance at McGill University’s Schulich School of Music in Montreal. Self-taught as a jazz pianist, he went on to lead several large and small ensembles and worked with rock bands, eventually abandoning his university studies to tour Canada, the US and Europe. His work with the band Suuns has taken him around the world, including Europe, Hong Kong and Taiwan, and most recently Turkey and Lebanon—which sparked an interest in quarter tone maqaams and extended song forms such as the tarab.

Best Original Score: Animated

First Prize: $3,000 – Vincent L. Pratte, 28, Los Angeles, CA – Blossom (director Esperanza Guevara)

See bio listed under Best Original Score: Fiction

Second Prize: $1,500 – Karine Bétournay, 29, Montreal, QC – Petit Homme (director Amy Joycey)

Composer and pianist Karine Bétournay is a Film Music graduate from the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) and the co-founder, in 2013, of Les Productions Quinte Juste. She has written music for a variety of advertisements, series, documentaries and video games. In the spring of 2014, she wrote the original music score for the film En Couleurs, which was recorded by the Epsilon string quintet with pianist Guillaume Martineau. A graduate of McGill University in Jazz Interpretation, she was a 2011 finalist in the Jazz en Rafale competition and, that same year, performed with her quartet at the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal. She also participated in a variety of projects as a keyboardist, notably as part of Lost in Sound.

Third Prize: $750 – Isaias Garcia, 24, Toronto, ON – Dream Revenant (score for video game)

See bio listed under Best Original Score: Fiction

Best Original Musical Theme (opening or closing)

First Prize: $3,000 – Isaias Garcia, 24, Toronto, ON – The Path (director Emily Jenkins)

See bio listed under Best Original Score: Fiction

Second Prize: Not awarded

Third Prize: Not awarded