Sundance Institute, Skywalker Sound Partner to Support Indie Filmmakers

Filmmakers and composers will train to work on sound and music earlier in the production process.

Fruitvale Station

Sundance Institute and Skywalker Sound announced a formal partnership to allow aspiring  directors, composers and sound designers to collaborate on new projects through labs at Skywalker Ranch.

The labs will be hosted inside Skywalker Sound north of San Francisco Fellows selected for the labs will participate in workshops and creative exercises under the supervision of film music professionals. Then the directors, whose projects were selected and approved by Sundance Institute, will have a chance to work with composers and sound designers to complete their respective projects, which are in various stages of development.

After Skywalker Sound collaborated with the Insiitute’s fellows on over 12 titles that entered the 2013 Sundance Film Fest, including  buzzed-about  titles “Fruitvale Station,” “Mud,” “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” and  “Gideon’s Army,” the Sundance Institute wanted to expand their already-established Composers Lab  to include sound design.

The Institute initially hosted a Composers Lab for feature films at the Sundance Resort beginning in 1999. The lab was expanded to include documentary filmmaking in 2005.

Through this partnership with Skywalker Sound, Sundance Institute directors and composers will work with sound mixers and designers earlier in the production process,  according to the General Manager of Skywalker Sound Josh Lowden.

“It’s this early collaboration that we’ve found to be so valuable in the production process because a decision in one area affects decisions in every other area.  Usually the sound designers, composers and directors don’t discuss anything until the whole movie is nearly finished, which is the opposite of what we’re aiming for,” Lowden said.

Lowden hopes that Skywalker Sound can provide a hands-on instructive environment and create strong working relationships with emerging filmmakers, a practice that has worked with previous collaborators including Jeff Nichols and David Lowry.

“Our goal is to identify the filmmakers with the most original voices, regardless of budget; Sundance helps us find those storytellers. We want sound to be considered early in the process so that it has the greatest possible impact on the story, and the greatest chance of helping achieve the director’s vision,” Lowden said.