"It’s all about creating, maintaining. Maintaining means like a plant, you are watering that plant in order to keep it alive, you also are maintaining those relationships by staying in touch with people you have worked with. I’ve been really diligent about that over the years, And that pays off when you have something of real worth and value and excitement to share with them."
Welcome Back to Nothing Shines Like Dirt Episode 28, featuring composer and Film Producer Simon Taufique. We have a lovely conversation about reaching out and maintaining relationships, enjoying the process and the people, and why wait? Act now.
Born in the UK with a french-sounding name, a proud exotic heritage and a street-wise attitude that’s pure New York, Simon has become a trusted collaborator for a new generation of filmmakers. He is an award-winning composer, film producer and founding partner of the film fund, Atomic Features. As a teenager Simon started TRP, a BMX bike company that became a hit venture, running it out of his bedroom and reaching kids all over the globe. He later went on to launch greenButton.com, an award-winning tech startup. Throughout it all, Simon has always been creating music, in his bedroom at first, later in bands, and finally in the studio. Along the way, whispers of recognition have appeared in Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, NME, Spin Magazine and IndieWire for his work with Julian Casablancas (frontman for THE STROKES) and accomplished filmmakers Mary Harron (AMERICAN PSYCHO), 2014 Berlin Film Festival-winner, Anja Marquardt, Independent Spirit Award nominee Hossein Keshavarz (DOG SWEAT) and Student Academy Award winner Dennis Lee.
And yet, Simon never formally studied music. At NYU he studied Political Science and Economics, in pursuit of a career in Foreign Diplomacy. But it wasn’t long before Simon’s longstanding musical passion pulled him into the orbit of many like-minded musicians and artists. One of those kindred spirits was a struggling South Asian film student named M. Night Shyamalan (THE SIXTH SENSE). This became an immediate and inspiring friendship that led to countless hours brainstorming story ideas and even landing Simon a starring role in an early music video by the future blockbuster filmmaker. Simon also named Shyamalan’s production company, Blinding Edge Pictures – which remains to this day – and eventually Shyamalan commissioned Simon to write a song for Night’s first studio film, WIDE AWAKE (Miramax). The song never made it into the final cut of the film, but the process hooked Simon onto the unique collaborative bond between director and composer.
This experience inspired Simon to pursue a Master’s degree in Music Technology at NYU. Along the way Simon has worked with dozens of fast-rising directing talents such as Caryn Waechter (THE SISTERHOOD OF NIGHT), Spirit Award nominee – Hossein Keshavarz (DOG SWEAT), Francisco Ordonez (ST. PAUL), as well as iconic directors such a Mary Harron (AMERICAN PSYCHO) and Julian Casablancas, Grammy-winning frontman of the genre-defining New York rock band, THE STROKES. After these formative projects Simon took the leap to co-compose the score for JESUS HENRY CHRIST (starring Michael Sheen and executive produced by Julia Roberts) with Grammy-winning guitar virtuoso David Torn (LARS & THE REAL GIRL). Soon after, Simon was asked to score and co-produce SHE’S LOST CONTROL (with Executive Producer and Oscar nominee, Oren Moverman), which went on to win the CICAE prize at the 2014 Berlin Film Festival, two Spirit Award nominations and official selections many top-tier festivals including SXSW and the prestigious New Directors/New Films series.
As Simon’s collaborations picked up steam, he took another leap and became a founding partner in the NY/LA film fund, Atomic Features, which offered Simon the opportunity to produce the Lionsgatefilm, IMPERIUM, starring Daniel Radcliffe (HARRY POTTER) and Toni Collette (THE SIXTH SENSE).
IMPERIUM marks Simon’s second collaboration with director, Daniel Ragussis, for whom Simon scored the film HABER, which premiered at Telluride and went on to win the National Board of Review Motion Picture Award. Upcoming projects include ASHER, starring Danny Glover and Mekhi Pfifer, and PURPLE AMERICA, an adaptation of the acclaimed novel by Rick Moody, author of THE ICE STORMand GARDEN STATE. Simon will also produce and score the 2016 MacArthur prize-winning documentary, THE INTERPRETER, directed by Sofian Khan.
Other milestones include writing for Timeout NY Magazine, covering the TriBeCa Film Festival, providing additional reporting for TapeOp Magazine (a pro audio publication), and serving as Program Director (2008) for the South Asian International Film Festival. Simon is also a continuing member of the Tribeca Film Festival Programming Committee (’15, ’16).
Simon has been profiled by ASCAP and 15 Questions and mentioned in Rolling Stone, Deadline Hollywood, Variety, Hollywood Reporter, Spin Magazine, NME and IndieWire. Simon is an active member of BAFTA NY, SCL and the IFP. Simon also teaches film producing and post-production at Studio4, a James Franco-founded acting and filmmaking school in NYC.