Brandon University graduate Julian Beutel scores Oscar-shortlisted animation

December 23, 2015

Julian Beutel
Julian Beutel scored the music for 'An Object at Rest,' which was shortlisted for an Oscar nomination.

An animated short film featuring the music of a Brandon University (BU) graduate is hitting all the right notes with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Julian Beutel was the composer and musical director for filmmaker Seth Boyden’s An Object at Rest, one of 10 entries shortlisted for the Academy Award in the category of Best Animated Short Film. The final five nominees will be announced on Jan. 14.

“I’m very honoured to have been a part of this film and happy to see such a positive critical response,” said Beutel. “We set out to make a great film for Seth, and I, personally, would never have guessed that I’d be eagerly awaiting the final Oscar nominations when we first started.”

Born and raised in Melville, Sask., Beutel graduated from BU with a Bachelor of Music in 2011. In 2012, he moved to Santa Clarita, Calif., to attend the California Institute of Arts (CalArts), where he graduated with a master’s degree in fine arts in 2014. While at CalArts Beutel met Boyden, an animator, and they collaborated on a series of short films.

“BU equipped me with all the foundational skills I needed to pursue larger projects like this, and I had a great four years there,” Beutel said.

An Object at Rest, Boyden’s final thesis film, can be seen at vimeo.com/126177413. On the website, Boyden wrote that the short, which was released in May, “follows the life of a stone as it travels over the course of the millennia, facing nature’s greatest obstacle: human civilization.” It won the Woody Award for Best Animation at the CalArts Producers’ Show and the Silver Medal in the Student Academy Awards before being chosen from 60 qualifying entries for the Oscars shortlist.

“We are extremely proud of Julian, who is a very talented musician and composer,” said Greg Gatien, the Acting Dean of BU’s School of Music. “The School of Music has celebrated the accomplishments of alumni across a wide variety of endeavours, and Julian’s success is another shining example of the possibilities that are open to our graduates.”

After discussing with Boyden where music would fit in the film, Beutel composed the pieces and used virtual synthesizers to simulate a live band. He then assembled musicians, playing trumpet himself, and recorded, mixed and produced the soundtrack.

“I’m tremendously grateful to all the fantastic musicians who helped with this project,” said Beutel, who spent a year performing, composing and teaching in Los Angeles before moving to Winnipeg in September 2015. “It’s great when you can just hang out with your friends, and then at the end of it you have a soundtrack recorded. And of course, thanks to Seth Boyden for asking me to be involved with his projects, and for being a fantastic storyteller.”

Brandon University, founded in 1899, promotes excellence in teaching, research, and scholarship, and educates students so that they can make a meaningful difference as engaged citizens and leaders.