2018 Universal Composers Initiative
Jongnic Bontemps, aka “JB”, is a classically trained composer with roots in the church and jazz world as a pianist. Hailing from Brooklyn, New York he studied music at Yale, Berklee and the University of Southern California. Earlier in his career, JB worked as a software developer and startup executive in New York City and later Silicon Valley before his startup was sold to HP enabling him to pursue his first love, music. He was selected as a Sundance Lab Composer Fellow in 2013 and received a Time Warner Artist Fellowship in 2014. JB brings complexity, cleverness and a musical edge to every project he approaches. JB composed music for over 50 projects spanning Film, TV and Video Games. His work has been heard in various award winning films at Cannes, Warsaw Film Festival, Pan African American Film Fest, American Black Film Fest, as well as networks like HBO, Showtime, Lifetime, TVOne, NBC, BET, Disney and cinemas worldwide.
Irish composer Amie Doherty works on a wide variety of film and television projects. Her most recent film, Blue Night, starring Sarah Jessica Parker, Renée Zelwegger, and Common, premiered at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival. Tribeca’s 2017 Best Narrative Feature Film, Keep The Change — a charming love story between two people with autism — was also scored by Amie. Her compositional style is influenced by both her classical training and her world travels, incorporating non-traditional, ethnic instruments into the more traditional, orchestral instrumentation, to create a unique palette for each project. Amie’s list of composition credits contain a wide range of genres and subjects. She especially enjoys scoring projects dealing with important, thought-provoking subject matter, such as her current projects Where We Go From Here — a feature film examining the issues of gun control and school shootings through the stories of three victims; and Light In The Water — documenting the true story of the foundation of the Gay Games and the devastation caused by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. In 2016, Amie became an alumna of the Sundance Music & Sound Design Lab at Skywalker Sound, and was awarded the Sundance Institute/Time Warner Foundation Composer Fellowship.
Stephanie Economou is a composer and violinist based in Los Angeles, CA. Her early successes have emerged from her exploration and study of widely varying musical styles,
including classical, folk, rock, electronic and jazz. Stephanie’s experience in film scoring extends from drama to comedy to animation, which has demanded the synthesis of an electronic and acoustic musical palette. It is her uniquely hybridized compositional voice which has proven a valuable asset across a wide spectrum of visual media. Stephanie's most notable work has been born from her composing apprenticeship with Golden Globe-nominated composer, Harry Gregson-Williams. Stephanie holds credits as additional composer, orchestrator, and music arranger on Ridley Scott's Oscar-winning film The Martian, Ben Affleck's Live By Night, Niki Caro’s The Zookeeper’s Wife, Catherine Hardwicke's “Miss You Already”, and Rick Famuyiwa’s HBO drama Confirmation. Most recently, she has composed additional music for the Australian drama Breath, the Warner Bros. upcoming action film, The Meg, and Sony’s The Equalizer 2 directed by Antoine Fuqua. Stephanie has garnered professional experience as conductor and score reader at highly prestigious studios including Abbey Road Studios, Synchron Stage Vienna, Skywalker Sound, and Sony Pictures.
Layla Minoui is an Iranian-American composer for film and television based in Los Angeles. Across a wide variety of genres, Minoui brings to each picture remarkable emotional depth and sensibility. Her inspiration is driven by the powerful journey of telling one’s story, and the significant impact it can make on another. Minoui is not only passionate about writing music, but finds it a privilege to be able to connect with audiences from all around the world through the universal language of music; having the ability to evoke an emotion and carry the subtext of a scene in ways that cannot be expressed through words. Layla Minoui has amassed a diverse array of credits in both film and television. Her credits includes the original score for Disney Junior’s TV animation series Vampirina, returning for its second season early 2019. She co-composed the music for two seasons of Bravo’s first scripted series Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce, and has written additional music for several television series including seven seasons of Castle (ABC), The Gates (ABC), The Family (ABC), and Lie to Me (Fox). Minoui has scored music for several independent features including Elysium Bandini’s gothic drama The Mad Whale and comedy-thriller The Sound and the Shadow. Her original score for The Mad Whale was nominated for the 2017 HMMA Awards: Best Original Score for an Independent Feature Film.
Orlando Perez Rosso
Originally from Ocaña, Colombia, Orlando Perez Rosso began his musical journey playing saxophone at the age of ten. Years later, he got his Bachelor of Music in Composition and Sound Engineering from the Javeriana University in Bogota, Colombia, and started his career as a mixing and recording engineer for various music records, including Hecho a Mano , by the Latin Grammy award winning band Monsieur Periné . In 2008, Perez Rosso discovered his passion for film scoring after collaborating on the documentary Stolen Land, winner of the Best South American Documentary at the Havana International Film Festival. He then focused solely on scoring film and television projects, including Cada Semana, which earned him a nomination for Best Original Score in a Documentary at the 2013 Jerry Goldsmith Awards in Cordoba, Spain. In 2013, Perez Rosso relocated to Los Angeles to attend the Film Scoring program at UCLA Extension. Upon graduation, Perez Rosso continued to collaborate with directors, producers and fellow composers in a wide array of film, television and advertising projects. Some of these collaborations include working for composer Michael Abels in Jordan Peele’s Academy Award winning film Get Out; orchestrating and co-arranging a cover of The Beatles’ While My Guitar Gently Weeps for the trailer of the Academy Award nominated film Kubo and the Two Strings; and working for orchestrator Jeff Atmajian in several scoring projects for various composers such as Gabriel Yared and Rachel Portman.
George’s origin story begins in Houston, Texas during the 80’s and 90’s, where he developed musical powers as a result of a childhood of exposure to Saturday morning cartoons, superhero comics, movies about aliens, monsters, mutants, time travel, action heroes and Jedi. The melodies of John Williams, Alan Menken, and Alan Silvestri inspired his early forays into composing tunes for storytelling. In time he would study classical and film/media composing at USC, becoming a musical storyteller who composes orchestral thematic music for film, television, musicals, video games, trailers, and online content. YouTube videos featuring George’s music have amassed over 200 million views. George co-wrote Ode to Geeks with Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee, composed for Geek & Sundry including Wil Wheaton’s popular TABLETOP show, scored 3 seasons of ESCAPE THE NIGHT (one of YouTube Red's top rated shows), music directed the Geekie Awards, and created the viral hit STAR WARS MUSICAL which has nearly half a million views, followed up by Netflix Musical which stars Harry Shum Jr. (Glee, Shadowhunters) and Chrissa Sparkles.
Jermaine Stegall is a composer, conductor, and producer of film and television music. In 2016, he was selected as a Sundance Music and Sound Design Fellow held at Skywalker Ranch, and has worked closely over the years with some of Hollywood's biggest composers including Danny Elfman, Christophe Beck, Marco Beltrami, Harry Gregson-Williams, Christopher Lennertz, Blake Neely, and The Outfit. In September of 2016, Jermaine was invited to give a guest lecture on the creative aspects of film scoring to Lucasfilm Animation and Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) at Lucasfilm headquarters in San Franscico, CA. Jermaine has scored over 20 feature films, many of which have been released theatrically, and digitally worldwide including the theatrical release of Jamesy Boy (2014) directed by Oscarno minated producer Trevor White, and the teen comedy Mono (2016) directed by Jarrett Lee Conaway for Fox Digital Studios. He has also written original and additional film and television music for such studios as Disney Channel, Warner Brothers, Lionsgate, The Weinstein Company, Fox Digital Studio, NBC Universal Television, CW Television, The SyFy Channel, and A&E Television.
Jessica Weiss is a composer/songwriter born and raised in New York City. She attended New York City’s Professional Children’s School and later attended Marymount Manhattan College where she majored in theatre and music and then continued on to The School of Audio Engineering to study music production/engineering. After graduating, she worked in several recording studios in NYC, but it wasn’t until she started working for film composer Chris Hajian, that she finally found her place. Weiss moved to London in 2011 and worked at De Lane Lea/Warner Brothers Studios. After only three months there, she was recruited by Hans Zimmer to work at Remote Control Productions in Los Angeles. She worked on several films/TV shows, and found it was truly the best mentorship program she could have ever hoped for. She has worked on music for feature films, documentaries, television series, and ad campaigns for clients such as Mark Burnett Productions, DreamWorks, Warner Brothers, 3QU Media, Youtube Red, Bridgestone, Freeform, Ball and Chain Productions, FullScreen, and Vimeo.