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“UglyDolls” Filmmakers Spread Message of Embracing Your Individual Self and Beauty to ETM-LA Schools in Compton


Contact: Katie Boone

Phone: (818) 433-7600



LOS ANGELES, CA – On April 25, Emmy-Nominated Composer and ETM-LA Board Member Christopher Lennertz (Pitch Perfect 3, Lost in Space, Smurfs) visited the students of Foster and Bursch Elementary Schools in Compton with a sneak peek of his latest project, the upcoming animated feature film UglyDolls (U.S. release date: May 3, 2019/STX Entertainment). Lennertz, along with STX colleagues Jason Markey (Music Supervisor & President of Music), Adam Levin, and Jamie Bierman shared their background and stories of writing the story and music for UglyDolls, participated in Q&As with the kids, and handed out plenty of fun swag!

STX Entertainment’s first animated feature UglyDolls, starring Kelly Clarkson, Janelle Monáe, Blake Shelton, and Nick Jonas is the story of an adventure in which the free-spirited UglyDolls confront what it means to be different, struggle with a desire to be loved, and ultimately discover that who you truly are is what matters most. Lennertz praised the quality of being unique, saying that “being different is what makes you special.”

Students previewed video clips from the film and also the London Philharmonia recording session of Lennertz’ score – a perfect opportunity to review the instrument families. Music classes also brainstormed what techniques help composers match a range of moods and characters with the music and lyrics – elements like arrangement, tempo, rhythm, and melody. Levin marveled that Lennertz can “rearrange the music in his head.”

Describing the process of developing the script for UglyDolls, Levin explained, “These dolls existed and it’s all that we had, there was no story behind it…we really connected with the idea that they’re flawed but they seem confident with themselves. They have things about themselves that maybe other people say they need to change, but they’re fine.” He also offered advice to the students: “Sometimes people say you can’t do something, but as long as you believe in yourself and you work really hard, you can achieve whatever you set your mind to.”

ETM-LA Executive Director Victoria Lanier shared, “These close-up experiences which illuminate the process of filmmaking and composing are profoundly life-changing for the students, especially in disadvantaged communities which don’t typically have access to opportunities like this. We’re so thankful for all of the artists and film industry creatives who take the time to share their craft and to inspire future generations through music.”

ETM-LA provides quality, yearlong, in-school music instruction in disadvantaged Los Angeles schools as part of the core curriculum for every child. Since its founding in 2006, ETM-LA has grown to serve approximately 15,000 students at 36 partner schools in Los Angeles County.

View photos from the event here.