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Gary Koftinoff is a film composer based in Canada. His face might not be
as well-known to fans as say Ennio Morricone's or the late Jerry
Goldsmith's (to me Gary looks kind of like a villain from some James
Bond flick, via the few images I have seen). His credits might not be as
recognized as Bernstein's, De Masi's, or others, but he is getting
there. For those who know nothing about him yet, you might wish to read
this article. You might also wish to visit his website at http://www.koftinoff.com.
According to his own page, Koftinoff wanted to make music, particualrly
film music, from a young age, being captivated by the titles of
cartoons, such as the opening theme from Hot Wheels. As a
however, he went into the accounting and business realm, working as a
client services rep and gaining a respectable level of success. This,
however, was not what he wanted and making a major decision for change,
he placed himself in the musical world. He attended and graduated
from the Royal Conservatory of Music in his native Canada and was on his
way. He has since turned out over a dozen film scores.
Among these are:
Forgive Me, Father with Charles Napier in the starring role, a dramatic
Tribulation with Gary Busey starring. The music in this is notable,
variable and fitting. Loads of different themes and short pieces. The
movie deals with a man awakening from a coma and finding himself in an
entirely new world, one run by the devil incarnate.
Judgment, which is the continuing saga from the above film, this time
with Jessica Steen and Corbin Bernsen. The film is shot in and
the music is played in a rousing fashion. Loads of opportunities to
create varied scores in this go around, which the composer utilized to
his advantage. Some interesting notes about the music appear in the DVD and the extras involved, not found on the video.
Stiletto Dance, a drama starring Eric Roberts, with again, appropriate
variables within the film score.
Left Behind II, with Kirk Cameron, Brad Johnson, Gordon Currie and
others. A movie about the rise of the antichrist and those either
joining or opposing him. While various hymns and Christian songs are
found within this, Koftinoff provided some of his original and effective
The Good Shepherd starring Christian Slater.
The Circle, a drama with fitting background scores.
Revelation, another part of aforenoted Tribulation series , with Jeff Fahey in
the starring role as a skeptic caught up in the same devil-led world as Gary
Busey. A vibrating main theme in this. Goblin, Morricone or Goldsmith could
have done no better.
G2, an action piece with fitting tracks.
Motel, a murky Canadian film which shifts between noir and black comedy. An
equally appropriate score within.
Absalom starring Christian Lambert. One of the most recent of his
Breakout. Not to be confused with the much older Charles Bronson film, for
Koftinoff is definitely that old. An interesting drama from the 1990s, this
one, with equally interesting score.
... plus others.
One of my favorite films using works by this man is Deceived, a modernized
spinoff of sorts on Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House. This time
investigators go not to a supposedly haunted house to prove or disprove the
existance of ghosts, but to investigate a series of signals supposedly coming
from outer space. Are these signals coming from someplace such as Mars or
perhaps from the devil in hell? One wonders as the signals effect the
investigators, one at a time, causing them to turn into monsters absorbed in
their own weaknesses. Seven people, effected by the famous Seven Deadly Sins
of Catholic theology ... what more could you ask for?
The opening and closing title have great impact. Again, one could have heard
the opening minute of the theme and expected to see Ennio Morricone credits to
be given. A sound of waterdrops (for anyone not living on the moon, Morricone
made a name for himself by incorporating bells, whitsles, screams and owl
hoots or whatever into his scores, though he never used waterdrops as far as I
recall) amid a mounting and tense score might well be Koftinoff's best yet,
though possibly his most underrated. The other music within the movie is
equally fitting, by the way, but the main theme overshadows anything else in
the picture that he may have created for it.
There are obviously going to be more films to come.
Like with certain directors who have achieved cult status over the years, many
of the great film composers of the past have either retired, cut back or died
(with the exception of Morricone, an ageless wonder who just keeps going on
and on, probably doing so until he drops). Goldsmith has passed away.
Bruno Nicolai died from a heart attack. Goblin has disbanded, though Claudio
Simonetti, the keyboardist from the group, remains active in film. Not sure about
Bernstein, Abril, Farrio, or some of the others. Jerry
Fielding died long ago. De Masi is still kicking, I believe. Anyway, the
cold, hard facts are the greats are dying away. Film music itself has become
somewhat of a dying art since the 1990s as well, with film producers using
rock scores from preexisting albums or a variety of artists doing one song
apiece, in order to increase sales in a joint music industry-film industry
ploy. Thank God there are still some Koftinoffs and others like him out
there, carrying on the tradition of meaningful and creative films cores, to
take the place of those fading into the night. He is still young enough too,
where he should have a load of good years left in him and with opportunities
arising, he might well be regarded as one of the greats whenever his career