BIOGRAPHY FRANK SCHEFFER
Frank Scheffer (b.1956, in The Netherlands) is international recognized as a master of sound and image. He founded Allegri Film Company, which specializes in documentaries on music and art. Scheffer was schooled at the Academy for Industrial Design (Eindhoven), "Vrije Academie" Art College (Den Haag) where he studied with the famous experimental filmmaker Frans Zwartjes and is a graduate from the Dutch Film Academy (Amsterdam).
Early films include 'Zoetrope People' (1982), a documentary on Francis Ford Coppola and his studio with Wim Wenders, Tom Waits, Vittorio Storraro and others, as well as documentaries on the Dalai Lama and various socio/cultural subjects. In 1985 he directed the music video 'A Day' for the band XYMOX on the 4AD label, leading him towards musical subjects. 1987 saw his short experimental films 'Wagner's Ring', a condensed version of Richard Wagner's opera 'The Ring of the Nibelungen' in 3'50" conceived with John Cage; and 'Stoperas 1/2' which was created to be shown with Cage's 'Europeras 1 & 2'. Collaborations with Cage continued with the conceptual film 'Chessfilmnoise' (1988), a documentary on Cage and Elliott Carter 'Time Is Music' (1988), and 'From Zero' (1995) in collaboration with Cage's assistant Andrew Culver.
Scheffer's films on music constitute an overview of the great composers of the 20th century – from 'Conducting Mahler' (1996) on the famous 1995 Mahler Festival in Amsterdam with Bernard Haitink, Claudio Abbado, Riccardo Chailly, Riccardo Muti and Sir Simon Rattle; to 'Five Orchestral Pieces' (1994) on Arnold Schönberg's work 'Funf Orchesterstucke, opus 16' conducted by Michael Gielen, and 'The Final Chorale' (1990) on Igor Stravinsky's 'Symphony of Wind Instruments' conducted by Reinbert de Leeuw. Furthermore documentaries including Louis Andriessen 'The Road', (1997), conducted by Peter Eötvös; Luciano Berio 'Voyage to Cythera', (1999), on his 'Sinfonia' conducted by the composer; Pierre Boulez 'Éclat' (1993) conducted by Ed Spanjaard, and (Helicopter String quartet, (1996) with Karlheinz Stockhausen and The Arditti String quartet.
The history of Electronic Music, from Stockhausen to DJ Spooky and Squarepusher, was the subject of 'Sonic Acts' (1998). Which was followed by three experimental projects searching for the influence of the digital medium in film and music: 'Sonic Images' (1998), 'Sonic Fragments / The Poetics of Digital Fragmentation' (1999), 'Sonic Genetics '(2000).
In 1999, Scheffer made 'Music for Airports', ambient video on Brian Eno's music of the same name as arranged by Bang on a Can founders Julia Wolfe, Michael Gordon, David Lang and Evan Ziporyn. The sprawling 'In the Ocean' (2001), on present day New York composers, features Steve Reich, Philip Glass, Elliott Carter, John Cage, Brian Eno and the Bang on a Can founders.
Scheffer is also working on several in depth films on specific composers – 'Frank Zappa: The Present Day Composer Refuses to Die' (2000) on Frank Zappa, in cooperation with the Zappa Family Trust, featuring The Mothers of Invention, Pierre Boulez and Ensemble Modern and the 90-minute documentary feature 'Frank Zappa: Phaze II, The Big Note (2002), that was followed by a two part series 'Frank Zappa: A Pioneer of the Future of Music, part 1&2' This 'work in process' based on Zappa's idea of 'conceptual continuity' will be completed with a two hour cinema-version .
Scheffer has been following and filming Elliott Carter for 25 years; this culminated in a two part series for television 'A Labyrinth of Memory' (2003) and a feature length documentary 'A Labyrinth of Time' (2004), a unique portrait on the composer as well as an overview of the history of modernism in the 20th century.
In 2005 the feature documentary 'Tea' based on 'Tea-Opera' composed by Tan Dun, with Pierre Audi (Director) and Xiu Ying Li (libretto), had its world-premiere in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In 2006 a retrospective of his work and a Docu-Concert was exhibited in the Museum of Modern Art in New York
The film 'The One All Alone' (2009) is an exploratory expedition to the life and work of the French-American composer Edgard Varèse (1883-1965), a composer who made Frank Scheffer, when he was young, become fascinated by music made in the 20th century.
In 2009 the documentary 'To Be And Not To Be' on the Tehran Philharmonic Orchestra and its chief conductor, the Iranian composer Nader Mashayekhi had its world-premiere at the Doku Arts Festival in Amsterdam. Currently he's working on a longer version.
In 2011 Frank Scheffer has created 'Tiger Eyes' specially for the 40th anniversary edition of IFFR. Its a mosaic at the intersection of cinema and IFFR, on the basis of a number of portraits of international filmmakers who represent different aspects of the past four decades of the festival. The choice of these filmmakers was made largely by the directors of IFFR. More or less in chronological order, these are: Raúl Ruiz (Chile/France), Wim Wenders (Germany), Abbas Kiarostami (Iran), Michael Haneke (Austria), Abderrahmane Sissako (Mauritania), Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Thailand), and Cameron Jamie (USA).
In addition to numerous critical and festival awards, Scheffer was honored with a complete retrospective of his films at the 2001 Holland Festival and the 2007 festival Wien Modern in Vienna, Austria.