Elvin Ross adds value in the film making industry at ZIFF 2019

Saturday August 10 2019
Ziff pic

Wearing a yellow T-shirt, white shoes and trousers, he stood in front of Film Academy students and other film stakeholders from different parts of the world.

This was one of his Master Class sessions at which he was making a presentation on music composition in film at the 22nd edition of the Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF).

I am talking about Elvin Ross from Atlanta, Georgia, in the US, winner of the ‘Gospel Dream Talent Search Award,’ composer, owner and executive producer of ‘E. Ross Studios.’

He is well-known and widely-respected in the television and music industries globally.

In the last twenty years, Elvin Ross has composed music for a number of stage plays by Tyler Perry; television series and films such as ‘Diary of a Mad Black Woman;’ Madea’s Family Reunion;‘House of Payne,’‘The Haves and The Have Nots,’ and many, many more.

He is currently the weekly composer for Tyler Perry’s ‘Too Close to Home.’


Speaking to The Beat on the importance of music in film-making, Ross says music in films is a silent character –as, without music, one may not be able to feel the emotions which the character is seeking to portray on the screen.

Elvin Ross’ main objective is to get film makers, composers and musicians in Zanzibar to understand the language of music – and its cohesion in a film is not to be noticed; it is to enhance a scene, unless otherwise intended.

Commenting on what makes good music in a film, he says it is how the music supports the film – and how it is heard and felt. If you have a dramatic scene, you don’t also need dramatic music, as it would end up destroying the narrative on the screen.

His objective is to teach composers and musicians how to be effective dramatically, and the ability to enhance what is going on on the screen.

“It is very important for people in the film industry to know how to create a universal music connection in their films as a way of connecting with the world when their films are ready for releasing,” says Ross.

Asked on how he has been progressing, becoming successful in the film industry, he said “it is very important for film stakeholders to make sure they go through what others are doing in their films as a way of learning. A universal connection in doing a film is very important.

“Over the years, I have been learning and growing in this industry by watching films by others which are successful. I have also been watching composers, film makers and film directors to learn how they handle film scenes, music, editing, lighting... I try to understand each and all in efforts to learn to make a universal look in the film industry,” Elvin Ross explains.

RoselidaTaabu is the editor of the ‘Subira’ film which had the honour to premier at this year’s ZIFF. She says music in film is a very important essential as it plays a great role in stirring up emotions. However, she insists that it is important for people to choose the kind of music which goes along well with the film’s theme.

“Music should always go with the film. It sounds different when a film is about thetradition of a given community. There is no point in the music being louder than the film’s voices, as the people watching the film would not be able to hear the message,” RoselidaTaabu says.

Alfred Jackson is among the twelve students from the ZIFF Film Academy who got an opportunity to take part in the Master Class by Elvin Ross. He saysthe seminar helped him to understand what should do – and what he shouldn’t do –when he starts producing films.

“We managed to learn in practice, as we made three short films at the Workshop which were screened during the ZIFF. To understanding better, we need to practise more in film production – and to keep learning, day by day,” says Jackson.

Commenting on Elvin Ross’s participation, the ZIFF-2019 Festival Director,FirdozeBulbulia, said it was good to have him at the festival, as he added value to it through his Master Class programme, as well as his contribution during the entire festival.