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Richmond composing brothers nominated for 2023 Canadian Screen Awards

Raising awareness for Canadian art is a big part of the awards, says the Chan brothers.
Richmond resident Caleb Chan (left) and Brian Chan have been nominated for the 2023 Canadian Screen Awards.

Barely out of bed and with a cup of coffee yet to be brewed, Richmond resident Caleb Chan and Brian Chan’s phones were filled with congratulatory text messages from friends as early as 6 a.m.

“We weren’t really sure what these messages were for.”

The messages, explained Caleb, were for two 2023 Canadian Screen Award nominations for best original music in animation.

“I was barely awake and since the announcement happened on the East Coast first, our friends in Toronto received the news first,” said Caleb.

“It’s always better when you find out through friends than through official sources.”

The Chan brothers’ nominated works were for DreamWorks projects Team Zenko Go and Pinecone and Pony, which aired on Netflix and Apple TV+, respectively.

The Canadian Screen Awards are awards given for artistic and technical merit in the film industry, while celebrating the country’s top talent in the film, television and digital sectors at Canadian Screen Week.

Brian and Caleb told the Richmond News that it is an exciting moment to be recognized for their work when the found out late February.

“It’s a relatively small community here in Canada that is making music at a higher level and we’re humbled and excited to be considered in that light,” said Brian.

"We also need to thank our team of five that worked with us through the projects. There's a lot of talent that we got to work with."

The Richmond Secondary grads have always had an interest in pursuing music even before emigrating to Canada from Hong Kong in 1997.

“Our mom was a piano teacher and even before that she taught music in high school so in that sense kind of had music in the house,” they said.

“We’ve always been interested in the wider palette of different genres of music even though we had a pretty traditional classical (music) upbringing.”

Caleb completed a degree geared towards classical concert stage music but pursued a career in TV production when he finished his studies.

Meanwhile, Brian was previously a recording engineer with CBC but decided to join his brother and “work together on a more serious professional level” in the music composition realm.

While the two enjoy working in music composition for animation films, they welcome the idea of working in different film genres.

Caleb said projects with “a good story” is what’s most essential and they can be animated films or not.

“But certainly, we’re trying to find different ways to express our music and live-action tends to have different expectations in animations so we really like to explore both.”

A ceremony will be held on April 12 in Toronto for the winner of the best original music in the animation category for the 2023 Canadian Screen Awards.

“We want to wish (the nominees) all the best in their nominations,” said Brian.

“It’s all to raise awareness for Canadian art and promote that, so we’re all pretty happy that we can be part of that this year.”