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Filmmaker Interview with Kurt Rosenberg

Filmmaker Interview by Chris Olson

Kurt Rosenberg, Composer: Original Song “Highland Home” & Executive Producer: “Highland Home” Music Video

Kurt is an entrepreneur, an avid world-traveler, a prolific composer, and self-taught pianist. He

joined his family’s olive oil business, the Olive Farm, in 1999, and also ran their Portland-based

commercial real estate development business, 300 Partners, for five years before retiring to pursue his number one passion – composing music!

Your song, "Highland Home" has recently been turned into a short film. What can you tell us about that?

Filmmaker Interview with Kurt Rosenberg
Filmmaker Interview with Kurt Rosenberg

I wrote Highland Home after a memorable visit to the Scottish Isle of Arran. After I retired from business, I decided to make an in-studio recording of the song. The track turned out to be far beyond what I had ever imagined it could be. So, upon hearing the final recording, I turned to the arranger, studio engineer, and to the singer and said, “What if we made a film based on Highland Home?” Everyone emphatically said, “Yes.” After the decision was made to produce the film, the producers, Brent Rogers and Zach Stevens, got the whole ball rolling. And, within three months, the film had been produced and was beginning to hit the film festival circuit.

How did you get into writing Celtic music?

I started by listening to, and singing, traditional folk songs from England, Scotland, and Ireland. As I grew older, I discovered the wonderful music of groups like Altan, Clannad, and Capercaillie. Their music, and music from the British Isles, moved and inspired me to write my own Celtic music.

What was the filmmaking process like for you?

Filming Highland Home
Filming Highland Home

While I have been composing music for several years, this was my first time being involved in film production. I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of, and watching, the filmmaking process. Because I was a newbie, I mostly observed and encouraged them to fully express their creativity. As I look back, I have come to realize how blessed I was to be surrounded by consummate, dedicated professionals who took on the project with expertise and gusto. It was a magical experience.

How do you like being part of filmmaking? Is it something you want to pursue further?

I love being a part of filmmaking. It is exciting, challenging, and so rewarding. In fact, after Highland Home, I purchased several books on producing and marketing films. I want to be as knowledgeable as possible so I can better understand the process and engage more fully with the cast and crew. I enjoyed filmmaking so much that I am already working on future projects, to be released over the next few years. Stay tuned!

Who are some of your favourite film composers and why?

This is easy. My favourite film composer of all time is Alfred Newman. He composed the Academy Award Winning Score for How the West Was Won. This score is stirring, melodic, and sometimes, intimately poignant. I also like the way that the composer wove in some lovely American folk songs. I also like Miklos Rozsa for Ben Hur and Hans Zimmer for Gladiator. The Ben Hur score has a way of transporting you right back into Ancient Rome and exotic Jerusalem. While the Gladiator soundtrack is rousingly heroic, while still being lush and emotive.

What advice would you have for wannabe composers?

Music is so subjective. Some people will like your music, others won’t. Write what you love. Write what means something to you. You can’t go wrong.

What's next for you?

I wrote a sea-shanty a couple of years back. It starts, and ends, in a harbour town, located on the southwest of England. We plan on producing a comic animated film based on the song. We hope to submit this animated music short to film festivals in the UK, and internationally, in 2022.

What would you say if you were a dolphin?

“Give me a wake from a motor-boat and I’ll gladly fly, in and out of the water, next to your vessel!!!”

Watch the film trailer for Highland Home



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