One of the highlights of BMI’s support of the Sundance Institute Film Music Program is the Music and Sound Design labs at Skywalker Sound in California. At the labs, composers, directors and sound designers intensively collaborate to develop music and sound for documentary and narrative film projects. Workshops and creative exercises are guided by leading film composers, filmmakers, and sound designers who act as creative advisors to Lab Fellows as they explore music and sound’s crucial role in storytelling.
As part of each lab, a live chamber orchestra performs original score cues of each composer/director team at the end of the program. This year, the narrative feature film fellows included composers Bijan Olia, Jackson Greenberg, Cindy O’Connor, Camilla Uboldi, Sergei Stern and Jesi Nelson, teaming up with directors Nia DaCosta, Elizabeth Chomko, Nijla Mu’min, Bart Layton, Rodrigo Barriuso and Christina Choe. Fellows in the documentary lab included composers Adam Schoenberg, Ryan Rumery, Rebecca Dale and Darryl Jones, who were paired with directors Marcus Lindeen, Elizabeth Stopford, Dyana Winkler and PJ Raval.
The Music and Sound Design Lab for narrative feature films, which ran this year from July 7-20, is a joint initiative of the Institute’s Film Music Program and Feature Film Program. The Music and Sound Design Lab for documentaries, this year held July 22-30, is a joint initiative of the Film Music Program and Documentary Film Program.
Creative advisors at the labs included composers Harry Gregson-Williams, Thomas Newman, Craig Richey, George S. Clinton, Miriam Cutler, Laura Karpman, Christopher Beck and Todd Boekelheide, while Skywalker Sound designers Randy Thom, Dennis Leonard, Bob Edwards, Pete Horner, Malcolm Fife, Bonnie Wild and David Accord also participated, along with music editor Adam Smalley, directors Miguel Arteta, Robb Moss and Amir Bar Lev, editor Toby Shimin and writer and film historian Jon Burlingame. BMI’s Doreen Ringer-Ross lent her expertise as an industry advisor offering career development guidance to composer fellows.
As a founding supporter of the labs, BMI has played a critical role in the long-term development of the programs, and, as a result, has been instrumental in furthering the careers of many film composers who have participated. The Company also produces a composer/director roundtable each year at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, highlighting BMI composers who have scored films in the festival.