Sundance Institute and Skywalker Sound announced the composers and directors selected for the Sundance Institute Film Music and Sound Design Lab, which returns to the legendary Skywalker Sound Facilities for the sixth year. More than half of the composers selected for this year’s Lab are female.
At the Lab, composers, directors and sound designers will collaborate to develop music and sound for fiction and nonfiction film projects. Workshops and creative exercises, guided by leading film composers and sound designers acting as Creative Advisors, will mentor Fellows to explore sound and music’s crucial role in storytelling. As part of the Lab, a live chamber orchestra will perform each composer/director team’s original scores. The Music and Sound Design Lab will run from July 10-23 as a joint initiative of the Institute’s Film Music Program, Feature Film Program andDocumentary Film Program.
“For the first time, we are joining fiction and documentary films into one program which reflects the blurring of boundaries that filmmakers are exploring and allows for a more cross-disciplinary approach,” said Peter Golub, Director of the Sundance FIlm Music Program, “Working with the brilliant Skywalker sound designers allows us to consider music and sound in an integral way; together they help tell the story.”
“Peter and the Sundance team are like family, we’re delighted to have them back again this year for the Labs,” said Josh Lowden, VP and General Manager of Skywalker Sound. “What we’ve tried to cultivate here is a kind of artists’ colony, where creatives from different disciplines can escape the day to day grind and come to work together. Our goal is to cultivate new relationships between directors, composers and sound designers and encourage collaboration that starts earlier and goes deeper. We hope that together we can continue to break down barriers and push the boundaries of creative storytelling.”
Creative Advisors this year include: Tyler Bates, Rob Epstein, Yance Ford, Catherine Hardwicke, Mark Isham, Heather McIntosh, Thomas Newman, Doreen Ringer-Ross, Nora Kroll-Rosenbaum and HARRY Gregson-Williams.
Christy Carew is a Canadian-American composer for film, TV, advertising, multimedia and the concert world. Highlights includeThe Lackey and the powerful short form documentary about infertility, The Empty Womb. As a concert music composer, she was a semi-finalist in 2013 for the Sorel Medallion Choral Composition CONTEST and has had her work premiered by the Reno Pops Orchestra.
Amit May Cohen, originally from Israel, is the composer of the recent award-winning documentary, Wrestling Za’atari, and Black Down. Since graduating from Berklee College of Music she has assisted several prominent film composers including George S. Clinton and Roger Neill. She formed the company, Sweet Potato Audio, which specializes in creating original music for everything from media to theme parks.
Anna Drubich is a Los Angeles based composer, originally from Russia, whose diverse body of work can be heard on television, at the cinema and in the theatre. Drubich’s first film music project, O Liubvi, went on to receive the Best Music Award at the Russian National Film Festival Kinotavr. Her work as a composer has led her to being several times nominated and shortlisted for the Russian Film Academy Award NIKA and Golden Eagle Award. Films she has scored have won awards at the London Film Festival, Annie Awards, Kinotavr Film Festival, NIKA Awards, USC Film Festival, Moscow International Film Festival and Dvijenie Film Festival.
Bill Laurance, soon to release his fifth solo album, is an original member of three-time Grammy-winning band Snarky Puppy and composer of Un Traductor, which premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival.
Carla Patullo is a composer, songwriter and sound designer who has composed scores for many films including Letter to Anita,Choke, Pizza Face, Lotte that Silhouette Girl and Jean Cordova. Patullo has worked on film and TV productions that have won awards such as an Independent Spirit Award, Daytime Emmy Award, a GLAAD Media Award and a BAFTA. Along with scoring and films, Patullo has written numerous songs and has had over 100 song placements on Emmy-award winning shows like The Ellen Degeneres Show, The Young & the RESTLESS and Skins.
Carlos Simon recently won the prestigious Marvin Hamlisch Film Scoring Award in 2015, the Presser Award from the Theodore Presser Foundation in 2015 and the Underwood Emerging Composer Commission from the American Composers Orchestra in 2016. During its 2015-2016 season, the Detroit Chamber String and Winds also named Simon as its young composer-in-residence. He now serves as a member of the music faculty at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia.
Dara Taylor is an HMMA-nominated composer for film and television. Taylor composed a wide variety of independent films, working with Grammy-winning composer Chris Lennertz. She has provided additional music for A Bad Mom’s Christmas, SausageParty, Baywatch and Netflix’s Lost in Space.
Rasmus Zwicki, originally from Denmark, is completing his composition studies at the Guildhall School in London. He was the winner of the 2018 Oticons Faculty International Film Music Competition. His work explores various combinations of music, drama, movement and video as he explores transdisciplinary approaches to composition and collaboration. Zwicki’s work has been performed by Exaudi Vocal Ensemble and other ensembles in Denmark and the UK.
Jackie Olive / Always in Season (U.S.A.): As the trauma of more than a century of lynching African Americans bleeds into the present, Always in Season follows both the relatives of the perpetrators and the victims who are seeking justice and reconciliation in the midst of heated national debates surrounding the value of black lives.
Olive is a director and immersive media and film producer with artist grants from Sundance Institute, Tribeca Film Fund, Chicken & Egg Picture, Independent Television Service, International Documentary Association, Firelight Media, Catapult Film Fund and more. Olive worked on the production team of the PBS documentary seriesIndependent Lens for three seasons and ultimately founded Tell It Media in 2010 to tell nuanced stories of the people, places, and cultures that make up our diverse world. She also co-directed and produced the award-winning documentary, Black to Our Roots, which broadcast on PBS World. Olive has gained immersive media production experience as a fellow with Bay Area Video Coalition, Black Public Media, Ford Foundation, the National Film Board of Canada, and the Canadian Film Centre.
Tom Quinn / Colewell (U.S.A.): For thirty-five years, Nora Pancowski has run the Colewell community post office from her home. When she receives word that her office will be closed, Nora must decide whether to relocate and take a new job or face retirement in Colewell.
Quinn is a writer/director based in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. His debut feature, The New Year Parade, won the Grand Jury Prize at Slamdance, screened at SXSW and was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award and Gotham Award. Quinn was listed as one of the 25 New Faces of Independent Film by Filmmaker Magazine and one of the Ten Young Writer-Directors to Watch byMovieMaker. He was a VFX producer at Dive working on films including Safety Not Guaranteed.
Rania Attieh & Daniel Garcia / Initials S.G. (U.S.A.): An aging Argentine and Serge Gainsbourg wannabe struggles with an acting career he can’t seem to get on track, an affair he doesn’t want and a dead man he didn’t mean to kill.
Rania Attieh & Daniel Garcia were winners of the “Someone to Watch Award” at the 2015 Independent Spirit Awards. They are also 2014 Guggenheim Fellows and 2012 U.S. Rockefeller Fellows in film. Attieh is from Tripoli, Lebanon and Garcia is from South Texas. Together, they have co- written, co-directed and produced four feature films to date. Their films have screened in many prestigious museums and film festivals around the world.
Maya Newell / Kids (Australia): Like many Indigenous kids before him, 10-yr-old Dujuan is fighting an enemy he cannot see, which makes him strike out at everything. When he cannot run, nor fight alone, he realises that not only has he inherited the trauma and dispossession of his land, but also the resilience and resistance of many generations of his people which holds the key to his future.
Newell’s short, Two, screened AFI Docs, Slamdance Film Festival and won best emerging talent at AIDC in Australia. She directedGrowing Up Gayby and Gayby Baby. Gayby Baby raised over $110,000 in crowd-funding, was selected for GoodPitch Australia 2014, premiered at Hot Docs 2016, broke cinema-on-demand records in Australia and was nominated for an ACCTA award.Gayby Baby infamously triggered a national conversation in Australia about the validity of ‘Gayby’ children when the PG rated film was banned from being screened in NSW schools by the State Premier. Since the films the release, every State and Territory has passed legislation for adoption equality and Australia has won Marriage Equality – two issues at the heart of the impact campaign.
Michael Tyburski / Palimpsest (U.S.A.): A house tuner in New York City calibrates the sounds in people’s apartments in order to adjust their moods. After years of collecting data, he believes he’s discovered naturally occurring harmonies that are influencing the way people behave.
Tyburski’s films have screened around the world, including at the Sundance Film Festival, where his short film, Palimpsest, won a Special Jury Award, and at the San Sebastian Film Festival, where his film, Brooklyn Farmer, was selected to screen in the Culinary Zinema program in conjunction with the Berlinale. His short film,Actor Seeks Role, won the Grand Jury Prize at IFFBoston and was curated by The New Yorker as part of their Screening Room series.Palimpsest, a feature film adaptation of his short film, was selected for IFP’s Emerging Storyteller’s Program, has received the Dolby Atmos Fellowship from the San Francisco Film Society and is a Rooftop Filmmakers’ Fund Grantee. The script is a recipient of both the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s Screenplay Award and Sun Valley Film Festival’s High Scribe Award. Palimpsest will be Michael’s debut feature film.
Keola Racela / Porno (U.S.A.): When five teen employees at the local movie theater in a small Christian town discover a mysterious old film hidden in its basement, they unleash an alluring succubus who gives them a sex education…written in blood.
Racela is an American filmmaker born in Southern California and living in Brooklyn. Racela was the recipient of the 2014 Student Academy Award for narrative film, and selected from over 1,000 applicants for the inaugural year of the HBO ACCESS directing program, where he wrote and directed an original short. His films have played at festivals worldwide and received numerous awards.
Daniel Hymanson / Queen of the Battling Butterfly Brigade (U.S.A.): A film about aging, ecstasy and finding the infinite in the infinitesimal. Jackie and Don are outspoken, idiosyncratic artists who have been married for 50 chaotic years. Their fights are high drama; their connections to each other are profound. Faced with the challenges of aging, they feel their house, the center of their life and the locus of decades of Jackie’s art, slipping out of their control even as it remains a symbol of what they want to hold onto most – maintaining their fierce creativity.
Hymanson is a documentary filmmaker based in Chicago. He was an associate producer on the Ross brothers’ Western, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2015 and won the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Verité Filmmaking. He was also an associate producer on The Last Season, which was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award in 2015. Queen of the Battling Butterfly Brigade is his first feature film as a director.
Zeshawn Ali / Two Gods (U.S.A.): A Muslim mortician takes two teenage boys under his wing and teaches them how to build caskets, wash bodies and how to live. All of them are running from their pasts and struggle with coming of age in a place like Newark, NJ. Soon, they realize they need to rely on each other if they’re ever going to beat the streets and live up to the potential they’ve been fighting for.
Ali is a filmmaker and director based in New York City. He’s a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and his short films have screened at festivals all across the country. He’s also worked in film production at advertising agencies, including firstborn and Droga5.