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Gary Koftinoff - A Profile

by Dale Pierce

October 2005

For films with Gary Koftinoff-scores
on (re)Search my Trash
click here !

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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 young adult, 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 film.

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 scores.

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 compositions,

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 wraps up.

 

© by Dale Pierce


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... and for the life of it,
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A Killer Conversation

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directed by
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written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
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