Calling All Composers: Apply to the Film Music and Sound Design Lab

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Camila Uboldi (right) attends the 2017 Film Music and Sound Design Lab with "American Animals." © 2017 Sundance Institute | Kate Webber

The line between documentary and narrative film continues to blur through boundary-pushing approaches to storytelling. Take for example the 2018 Sundance Film Festival selection Bisbee ’17, which revisits an Arizona town’s infamous 1917 mass deportation through conflicting accounts by current residents. In recent years, the Festival has awarded other such form-melding films as Kate Plays Christine, which follows an actress as she researches the story of real-life troubled television host Christine Chubbuck for a role in a soap opera, and the genre-bending Warsaw summer nightlife story All These Sleepless Nights, among many others.

In recognition of the intermingling between narrative and documentary forms, the 2018 Film Music and Sound Design Lab brings the two together in a multidisciplinary program for the first time, aiming to benefit artists through cross-pollination. Composers will apply to the program as a whole and will then be assigned either a fiction or documentary project to work on during the lab.

The lab, which will take place in July at Skywalker Sound in Marin County, California, is part of Sundance Institute’s Film Music Program, which gives composers and directors firsthand experience with the collaborative process to nurture the development of music in film. Below, we’re spotlighting previous lab participants who have gone on to continue their success in a variety of fields and musical styles. Click here to apply to the 2018 Film Music and Sound Design Lab. Applications close Wednesday, April 4.

Germaine Franco

2015 Music and Sound Design Lab

Germaine Franco co-wrote five original songs with Adrian Molina for Disney/Pixar's Coco, the 2018 Academy Award–winning film for best animated feature, and has scored many other feature films, documentaries, television, video games, and interactive media. Franco’s previous works include Dope (2015) and Margarita (2012), and she was the first Latina composer to join the music branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.


Magda Giannikou

2009 Composers Lab

After coming to the Composers Lab in 2009, Magda Giannikou went on to write music for the films Natural Selection (2011) and Watchers of the Sky (2014) as well as the TV show Louie (2012). Her internationally influenced, multilingual band, Banda Magda, has opened for acts such as Snarky Puppy, and they reached number nine on Billboard's Top World Music Albums chart.


Billy Childs

2003 Composers Lab

Billy Childs is a jazz and classical pianist, recording artist, and composer for orchestra, chamber music, and film who has been highly sought after since before he came to the Composers Lab in 2003. Childs just earned his fifth Grammy, with his album Rebirth winning the 2017 award for best jazz instrumental album.


Yotam Silberstein

2012 Composers Lab

An international legend, Israeli guitarist Yotam Silberstein’s repertoire covers such varied styles as Brazilian, world music, blues, and bebop. He has collaborated with such acclaimed musicians as James Moody, The Heath Brothers, and Paquito D'Rivera, and after coming to the Composers Lab he was awarded the 2013 Sundance Institute | Time Warner Foundation Fellowship for film music.


Linda Oh

2014 Music And Sound Design Lab

Linda Oh is a double bassist and electric bassist as well as a composer for various ensembles and short films. Her critically acclaimed 2017 album Walk Against Wind, which was named in the NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll, features tenor saxophonist Ben Wendel, guitarist Matthew Stevens, drummer Justin Brown, pianist Fabian Almazan, and percussionist Minji Park.


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Lead photo:

Camila Uboldi (right) attends the 2017 Film Music and Sound Design Lab with "American Animals." © 2017 Sundance Institute | Kate Webber