Anatomy of a Scene: Composer Christopher Gordon on 'June Again'

Published on in Exclusive Interviews

Composer Christopher Gordon won the 2021 AACTA Award for Best Original Score in Film for his work on  June Again. In our latest anatomy of a scene interview, Christopher dives into his favorite scene from the film—including technical challenges he faced and his new album.

PH: Can you share which scene was your favorite to work on in June Again? 

Christopher Gordon: Perhaps the most rewarding scene to score was when June and her daughter, Ginny, are together in the print shop. There is an amazing sequence of emotional change from wary affection, to discovery about the past, to an argument, to eye-opening realization. 

PH: Describe this scene and the significance it has to the rest of June Again.

Christopher Gordon: Well, consequently the scene is an important turning point in June’s understanding of her children. From there she begins to see them as people in their own right rather than as extensions of herself. She could be quite formidable. Noni Hazlehurst gives a stunning performance as June. 

PH: What tools, plugins, or instruments did you use in your production of this scene?

Christopher Gordon: I composed the whole score in the notation software, Dorico. The actual recording was all acoustic, with harp, piano and strings. It is always a joy to shape a score with actual musicians, to be able to breathe with the film.

PH: What technical challenges did you encounter while working on this scene?

Christopher Gordon: This scene, in fact the whole film, was not so much about technical challenges as it was about emotional challenges. The score needed to tread carefully, supporting the characters’ ups and downs without intruding on the viewer’s empathy with those characters. It was quite a fine line.

PH: What was the dialogue like between you and June Again’s director regarding this scene?

Christopher Gordon: JJ Winlove, who also wrote the script, and I tended to talk about the underlying emotions; particularly June’s, but also her two children whose lives are ultimately changed for the better by her reappearance.

PH: Can you tell us anything about the making of your new album, Chamber Music?

Christopher Gordon: My latest album is of particular significance to me. It contains over two hours of music written over many years and there are all sorts of instrumental combinations, some standard, some exotic (ever heard eight harps together?). It was mostly recorded during the Covid restrictions of 2021 and features a stellar cast of Australian musicians who were really excited, after months of pandemic downtime, to be making music again with other musicians.

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