About

Nainita Desai

Working at the forefront of a new wave of emerging artists, Nainita Desai is a BAFTA BREAKTHROUGH BRIT and has scored countless bespoke scores for film and TV for all the major broadcasters from the BBC to HBO and ITV and C4.

She is a Music+Sound Award 2016 winner for Best Feature Film Score, GOPO Romania Film Awards Nominee 2019 for Best Film Score, RTS West Award 2019 Nominee for BBC series Extraordinary Rituals and Asian Women of Achievement Nominee for Arts+Culture 2019

Nainita’s recent 2018/19 releases include Untamed Romania, the most successful non-fiction film this year in Romania that World Premiered at Transylvania Film Festival 2018, WW2 thriller Enemy Within, BFI psychological horror Darkness Visible (Dir: Neil Biswas, co-creator of Sky 1 Lucky Man)The Life After (BBC / Screen Ireland) World Premiere at Galway Intl Film Festival 2018, Anemone Dir: Amrou Al-Khadi |(Screen Intl Star 2018 | BBC Film / Film London) 

Her current 2019 projects include feature films The Reason I Jump (BFI) dir by award winner Jerry Rothwell, and recently completed For Sama (C4/PBS), dir by Emmy award winner Ed Watts and Waad Al-Kateeab and has to date won top prizes at SXSW, HOTDOCS, Official selection Cannes and Sheff DocFest, Exit Eveexec prod: Camille Gatin (The Girl With All the Gifts) BFI psychological horror Darkness Visible (Dir: Neil Biswas, co-creator of Sky 1 Lucky Man), and Interactive movie / video game Telling Lies for Annapurna Interactive (Phantom Thread, Destroyer) directed by multi-Bafta winning Sam Barlow

Also known for her work on TV drama including Emmy winner Maxwell (BBC) and the factual drama To Kidnap A Princess (ITV), recent films include The Confessions of Thomas Quick (BFI/Film4), Bafta, Grierson and RTS 2018 Nominees: Raped-My Story and Catching A Killer (C4), Extraordinary Rituals the BBC NHU and the title theme for the prestigious BBC Royal Wedding Meghan and Harry.

Working in a wide range of musical genres, she moves seamlessly between working with orchestras including the London Contemporary Orchestra (Phantom Thread, There Will Be Blood) and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, to ethnic influenced music utilising her collection of custom made instruments from around the world, and electronic and experimental sound design with guitars and electronics well as song-writing which has led to collaborations with artists including singer Eivor (The Last Kingdom) and writing documentary musicals for the BBC including the acclaimed City of Dreams – The Musical.

Nainita’s musical foundations are rooted in documentary where she has forged an enviable reputation, working with leading film makers on numerous projects that have garnered OSCAR, BAFTA, EMMY awards and nominations, proving time and again that she has the ability to embrace every score with a unique creative approach.

As a sound designer, Nainita’s career began on feature films for Bertolluci (Little Buddha) and Werner Herzog (Lessons of Darkness) including Backbeat (Dir: Ian Softley), Lessons of Darkness (Dir: Werner Herzog), August (Dir: Anthony Hopkins), and cult modern classic Hackers (Angelina Jolie).

Nainita obtained degrees in Maths before attending the NFTS specializing in sound design. She was born and brought up in London to Indian parents and her eclectic musical upbringing as a child led her to studying the sitar, piano, guitar, tabla, singing and violin. Her passion for music technology led to her working as a freelance music engineer working with many top artistes and bands ranging from The Damned to Tori Amos. which led to work with Peter Gabriel during the legendary “Real World Recording Week” sessions, working with over 70 of the top World Music artistes including Papa Wemba, Billy Cobham, Daniel LanoisJane Sibbery, Nigel Kennedy, Sinead O’Connor, Ravi Shankar and Peter Gabriel.

Nainita also sits on the CAG Committee at the PRS and on the Media Committee at BASCA (British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors)

AWARDS

BAFTA BREAKTHROUGH BRIT
UNTAMED ROMANIA 2019 GOPO-ROMANIAN FILM AWARDS 2019 BEST ORIGINAL FILM SCORE
ASIAN WOMEN ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS 2019 ARTS+CULTURE AWARD NOMINEE
EXTRAORDINARY RITUALS RTS WEST AWARDS 2019 Nominee
ASIAN ACHIEVER'S AWARDS 2017 Contribution to Arts, Culture and Media Nominee
THE CONFESSIONS OF THOMAS QUICK 2016 MUSIC+SOUND AWARD 2016 | BEST ORIGINAL COMPOSITION: FEATURE FILM SCORE
THE CONFESSIONS OF THOMAS QUICK WOMEN IN SYNC AWARDS Nominee (2016) | BEST ORIGINAL FILM SCORE
THE DAY KENNEDY DIED RTS BEST MUSIC SCORE 2014 | BAFTA: BEST SINGLE DOC NOMINEE
CHECKPOST MUSIC + SOUND NOMINEE 2014 BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
THE NATURAL WORLD–A MOOSE NAMED MADELINE BEST MUSIC MERIT AWARD MISSOULA WILDLIFE FILM FESTIVAL
LITTLE TERRORIST OSCAR NOMINEE and multiple award winner at over 70 film festivals worldwide as well as BEST MUSIC AWARD Lucarnia Film Festival ITALY
THE OCCASION ANNECY INTL FILM FESTIVAL: BEST SOUND DESIGN & MUSIC
SHARK BATTLEFIELDS BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND : JACKSON HOLE WILDLIFE FILM FESTIVAL
FOR SAMA SXSW 2019 Best Documentary Feature Grand Jury Prize
HOTDOCS Special Jury Prize | Cannes and Sheffield DocFest official selection
RAPED: MY STORY BAFTA TV AWARDS | RTS | Griersons | Broadcast Awards 2018 Nominee
MY DAD, THE PEACE DEAL & ME (BBC1) Grierson Awards Winner 2018 | Bafta 2019 Best Single Doc Nominee
CATCHING A KILLER BAFTA TV AWARDS | RTS | Broadcast Awards 2018 Best Documentary Series Nominee
MY FAMILY, THE PARTITION & ME RTS Awards Winner 2017
9/11 THE DAY THAT CHANGED THE WORLD BAFTA NOMINEE: BEST SINGLE DOC
CHILDREN OF BESLAN BAFTA Best Single Doc Nominee and 2 x EMMY NOMINEE: (HBO) Direction & Cinematography
WHO GOT DIANA DOR’S MILLIONS? RTS AWARD: BEST FACTUAL ENTERTAINMENT PROGRAMME

FEATURES | TELEVISION DRAMA

THE REASON I JUMP [Feature Doc] Dir: Jerry Rothwell | BFI | Vulcan
FOR SAMA [Feature] Dir: Ed Watts | C4 | PBS | 90mins
THE MODERATORS Dir: Nour Wazzi | Wildseed Studios
ENEMY WITHIN - WW2 drama [Feature] 27Ten Films | Dir: Gabriel Robertson | Prod: Ken Petrie
SLEEPER [Animation] Dir: Jordan Buckner | BBC Films | BFI Animation
ANEMONE [Drama] Dir: Amrou Al-Khadi (Screen Star of Tomorrow 2018) BBC | Film London
LAB RAT [Drama] Dir: Nour Wazzi | Panacea Productions
DARKNESS VISIBLE - Supernatural horror [Feature] BFI | Newscope Films | Dir: Neil Biswas
HUNTING THE KGB KILLERS - [Feature Doc] Dir: Chris Malone | Exec Prod: Brian Woods | Truevision
THE CONFESSIONS OF THOMAS QUICK - [Feature Doc] BFI / Film4 / Century Films | Dir: Brian Hill
CITY OF DREAMS – A MUSICAL [Feature Doc] BBC / Century Films | Dir: Brian Hill / Sam Benstead Sheffield 2016
MAXWELL [TV Drama] EMMY AWARD WINNING Dir/Prod: Colin Barr | Starring: David Suchet & Patricia Hodge
CHECKPOST [Drama] Music+Sound Best Music Nominee 2014 UK Dir: Aneel Ahmed
TO KIDNAP A PRINCESS [TV Drama] Dir: John Alexander | ITV
LITTLE BUDDHA [Feature] Dir: Bernardo Bertolucci | Prod: Jeremy Thomas (Keanu Reeves / Bridget Fonda)
BACKBEAT [Feature] Dir: Iain Softley | Producers: Scala Productions
AUGUST [Feature] Dir & Starring: Anthony Hopkins | ITV Films
INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE [Feature] Dir : Neil Jordan | Scala Productions (Tom Cruise / Brad Pitt)
HACKERS [Feature] Dir: Ian Softley | Starring; Angelina Jolie
DEATH MACHINE [Feature] Dir: Steve Norrington | Prod: Fugitive Features
FATHERLAND [Feature] Dir: Chris Menaul | HBO | Starring: Rutger Hauer
GREAT EXPECTATIONS [Feature] Dir: Alfonso Cuaron | Starring: Robert De Niro / Gwyneth Paltrow
THE BURNING OILFIELDS OF KUWAIT [Feature] Dir: Werner Herzog
MOLLY [short drama] UK Dir: Greg Karpinski

TRAILERS+COMMERCIALS

Music for over 30 film trailers by E Entertainment, Nordic Noir and Arrow films including Borgen and Wallander.

BBC ROYAL WEDDING Opening Titles 2018 – 30 million audience (Performed by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales)

Various Commercials for brands including: LAND ROVER / SAMSUNG / FOSTERS / NINTENDO / MIGRALEVE / SONY/ CHICLETS CHEWING GUM / SAFIA MINERAL WATER / CAPO MILK / MIGRALEVE

INTERACTIVE | GAMES

Interactive Movie | Game for Annapurna Pictures (Zero Dark Thirty | Phantom Thread | If Beale St Could Talk) and multiple BAFTA award winning games designer + Director Sam Barlow (Her Story | Silent Hill)

DOCUMENTARY

Countless series and one off docs in many genres. Recent projects include the scores for Extraordinary Rituals (BBCNHU), Equator From The Air (BBC2), Earth’s Natural Wonders (BBC1), Raped: My Story Bafta, RTS, Grierson 2018 Nominee (C5) Catching A Killer Bafta, RTS, Broadcast Awards 2018 Nominee (C4 / Brian Woods), Hunting the KGB Killers (C4), Tribes, Predators & Me with Gordon Buchanon (BBC NHU) Hunters of the South Seas (BBC2), Sue Perkins in Kolkata (BBC1), Britain’s Biggest Adventures with Bear Grylls (ITV), Dinosaur Britain (CGI family adventure series ITV), Britain At Low Tide (C4), The Day Hitler Died (ITV), The Day They Dropped the Bomb (ITV), Living with Nomads with Kate Humble (BBC2), Treasures of the Indus (BBC4), Police Interceptors (C5), Million Dollar Princesses (Smithsonian), Africa Rivers Wild (Animal Planet), The Mekong with Sue Perkins (BBC2)

TALKS + EVENTS

Speaking and contributing at various events including:

MAGAZINE | WEBSITE INTERVIEWS: Resolution Pro Audio) Magazine | Broadcast Magazine | Sonixinema Website | Timespace Interviews | Sound on Sound magazine | Dox Magazine | Audiomedia Magazine | Music+Sound Awards | Asian Achievers Magazine | Broadcast Tech Magazine

EVENTS:

Sohoradio: PRS M Magazine Radio Show

BRITISH COUNCIL – ENVISION SOUND (organising and running a series of Masterclasses in Kiev, Ukraine 2019)

LONDON GAMES FESTIVAL – ENSEMBLE Exhibition Steering Committee

UNIVERSITY OF PORTSMOUTH – Guest Lecture

Organiser of the BASCA MEDIA COMPOSER CONFERENCE – April 2018, Barbican | Guildhall – Interviewer, panellist

ECSA EUROPEAN FILM MUSIC DAY – CANNES FILM FESTIVAL 2018

DE MONTFORT UNIVERSITY,  LEICESTER – Women In The Media Industries 2018

LONDON FEMINIST FILM FESTIVAL – Panellist on Film Practices

SHEFFIELD DOC FEST 2017 Craft Summit: The Art of Musical Score

DE MONTFORT UNIVERSITY of LEICESTER – WOMEN IN MEDIA CONFERENCE

MPA (Music Publishers Association) PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT COURSE – Panel Speaker

UNIVERSITY OF HERTFORDSHIRE – Guest Lecture

BASCA MEDIA COMPOSER CONFERENCE 2016: Organiser and Speaker

DIRECTORS UK 2016 : Interviewer: In conversation with Hugo Blick and Martin Phipps

BATH FILM FESTIVAL 2016  Judge on the Filmscore competition

FRONTLINE CLUB : ‘Music for Documentary’ panel

SOUND CITY LIVERPOOL CONFERENCE 2016

THE STORY OF SOUND CONFERENCE, Lighthouse Brighton, 2015

BFI / LONDON FILM FESTIVAL 2015: Music or Screen talk

Session speaker at WIRED WOMEN – part of UNDERWIRE FESTIVAL Nov 2015

THE SOUND OF STORY 2015 / CINECITY FILM FESTIVAL 2015

SHEFFIELD DOCUMENTARY FESTIVAL 2014 : session speaker on ‘Bespoke Music Scores for Documentaries’

SOUNDOLOGY BREAKTHROUGH PITCH sponsor and leader of pitching panel at Sheffield Doc Fest to help young film makers make their first short doc.

WOMEX – Copenhagen The most important annual international professional market expo of world music of every kind.

Music & Pictures – New rules, new markets conference afiilliated  with MOSHITO, Africa’s largest annual music conference : Johannesburg, South Africa

ASIANS IN MUSIC CONFERENCE, SOUTHBANK, LONDON : ‘Asian Women in Music’ panel

FABER MUSIC – Music for TV short course : guest speaker

SOAS University of London– School of African and Asian Studies, University of London – guest speaker

Goldsmiths College – MA Film making students: Guest Speaker

Nainita is also a visiting lecturer in Media Composition on the BA (Hons) Music degree and Music for the Media (short course) at Goldsmiths College, University of London and has guest lectured at the Royal College of Music

JUDGING

2016 – 2019:

Bafta Games Jury 2019

Bafta Breakthrough Brits 2018

Ivor Novellos

Music+Sound Awards 2018

BAFTA Craft Awards

Emmys

RTS Craft  Awards

Embertone Composition Contest

Music+Sound Awards