The Sundance Film Festival has its share of glitz and celebrities. But those wishing to dig a little deeper in search of the true talent the festival year-round nurtures need look no further than composer Ryan Beveridge.
This alumnus of the Sundance Composers Lab credits the organization for a substantial portion of his career, thanks to the networking and support which have sent projects his way. But it’s the program’s rich creative environment that makes Beveridge most nostalgic, more than 10 years after he completed his fellowship.
“Every time I get on a project I swear I’m saying to my wife, ‘Man I need to recreate that feeling I had at the lab!’ I just did a few cues there as part of exercises, but I really feel like that was some of the best stuff I’ve ever done,” Beveridge says. “It was such a great space, mentally. I’m always trying to figure out how I can recreate that here in my little room.”
Replicating that workshop energy in one’s regular work environment is a challenge for any creative person. But for composers, Beveridge notes, “You get on a project and there’s this feeling of code red from day one. Especially in the indie world, where you’re wearing so many hats. I’m not writing music and [don’t] have a whole team of people to help me realize it. You’re wearing the engineering hat and the mixing hat and the orchestrating hat.”
Beveridge returns to Sundance this year with Mosquita y Mari, a coming-of-age story about two young women set in Los Angeles’ Hispanic neighborhood for which he composed the score. Another new project featuring Beveridge’s work – Meeting Evil, Chris Fisher’s thriller starring Samuel L. Jackson – is slated for release later this year.
Beveridge credits Sundance for both gigs: He met Fisher after scoring the festival’s trailers in 2001, and went on to score four of his films. Sundance officials also introduced Beveridge to Mosquita y Mari writer/director Aurora Guerrero, who had participated in the Native/Indigenous Lab. Beveridge also scored Sterlin Harjo’s 2009 film Barking Water on the recommendation of Sundance officials.
“[Because of] what it provided just from the experience of being there and how one project has led to another, I really owe a big chunk of my career to it,” says Beveridge of the lab. “It’s pretty phenomenal.”