Sundance Institute and Skywalker Sound Announce Composers and Directors for 2019 Film Music and Sound Design Lab

Music and Sound Design Lab 2018 | © 2018 Sundance Institute | Photos by Rob Williamson

Los Angeles and Marin, CA — Sundance Institute and Skywalker Sound today 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 seventh year.

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 9-22 as a joint initiative of the Institute’s Film Music Program, Feature Film Program and Documentary Film Program.

“We received applications from over 700 talented artists this year and had the extremely difficult job of choosing eight Fellows. We are happy to announce our outstandingly talented, diverse and international group of composers comprised of artists representing Cuba, Hong Kong, Japan, Saudi Arabia, the U.K., and the U.S.,” said Peter Golub, Director of the Sundance Film Music Program, “Working with sound designers and both fiction and documentary filmmakers, we will explore the different ways that music and sound contribute to the storytelling process of filmmaking.”

Creative Advisors this year include: James Newton Howard, Alan Silvestri, Ken Kwapis, Miriam Cutler, Marco Beltrami, Randy Thom, Brooke Wentz, Christophe Beck, Harry Gregson-Williams, Adam Smalley, Fil Eisler, Tony Morales and Doreen Ringer-Ross.

Skywalker Sound Designers include Bob Edwards, Pete Horner, Dennis Leonard, Richard Gould, Baihui Yang, Kim Patrick, Stephen Urata and Alyssa Nevarez, as well as Music Editor Jonathon Stevens.

“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.”

Artists and projects selected for the 2019 Sundance Institute Music and Sound Design Lab are:


Jorge Aragón Brito is a Cuban composer and teacher with over 15 years of experience composing, producing, and arranging. Jorge’s work with Silvio Rodríguez as a classical pianist and programmer has led to composing over a hundred live concerts with various international artists. In 2018, Jorge received one of Cuba’s highest honors, winning the Cubadisco Grand Prize with the Libre de Pecado phonogram. Other honors include 1st place in the Amadeo Roldan Piano Contest (2006) and the Jojazz competition in composition (2008). Jorge currently works with the Lyceum Orchestra of Havana alongside Jose Antonio Méndez, and is working on a concert dedicated to the 500 years of Havana’s history.

Gene Back is a Korean-American composer and multi-instrumentalist based in Brooklyn, NY. His work includes award winning films such as Dear Angelica and Cake, dozens of international advertising campaigns from Mercedes-Benz to Google, and Burning Man: The Musical. A former live member of the electronic/folk band The Books, Gene has worked with numerous acclaimed artists including Talib Kweli and Gotye. He is currently finishing a series for Netflix.

Sara Broshofske developed a strong love for music while growing up in Ogilvie, Minnesota. She received her Bachelor’s degree at the University of Wisconsin- Superior, where she studied composition and clarinet performance. Afterwards, she received her Master’s degree in Music Composition for the Screen at Columbia College-Chicago. Since 2015, she has been working as a composer, performer, and collaborator in Los Angeles. Recent composing projects include Beloved Beast (2018), When I Leave (2017), and Ready To Mingle (2019).

Ozie Cargile is a Los Angeles-based composer and pianist, originally from Detroit, whose works have been performed by orchestras such as the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s in New York. Ozie Cargile has more than 15 years of experience as a professional piano and composition instructor for students of all ages. In 2011, his choral orchestral work Song for Humanity was premiered by the Boulder Symphony of Boulder, Colorado in collaboration with the 120-voice Boulder Chorale as a precursor to Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

Aska Matsumiya, originally hailing from Japan, is a musician and composer, creating work for the past 15 years. In 2010, one of the songs from her first EP was featured as the theme song for the Spike Jonze short film I’m Here and won the award for Best Original Music at the AICP Awards. This was the turning point for her career as she realized that scoring films was her true passion. Since then she has scored seven films with award winning filmmakers in all sorts of genres. Her most recent film 37 seconds, directed by Hikari, won the audience award at Berlinale. Right before her two films Selah & The Spades, directed by Tayarisha Poe, and This Is Personal, directed by Amy Berg, premiered at Sundance. Last year she scored the critically acclaimed film Skate Kitchen, directed by Crystal Moselle and starring Jaden Smith.

Emily Rice is a British born composer for film and TV, who started her musical life as a cellist in orchestras and rock bands. Recognised as an emerging talent, she was the first composer to be awarded a scholarship from BAFTA Los Angeles. She has served as assistant to several top Hollywood composers including Brian Tyler, James Newton Howard, Laura Karpman, and Junkie XL. Her music can be heard on recent Hollywood blockbusters Tomb Raider and Alita: Battle Angel, and she is in increasing demand as a composer for indie films. Her latest work includes the documentaries 100 Years From Home and Self-Taught: Life Stories from Self-Directed Learners. She is currently scoring The I-Land for Netflix.

Ghiya Rushidat was born in Saudi Arabia, and raised in Jordan. As one of the few female composers of Arab heritage, Ghiya was mentored by a number of major A-list Hollywood composers and has won multiple awards including BMI Pete Carpenter Fellowship and Global Music Awards. She also counts among her honors the Global Music Awards Silver Medal for outstanding achievement in film and TV scoring, and is a jury member of Le Petit Cannes Film Festival 2018.

Ho-Ling Tang, Ho-Ling Tang is a composer, orchestrator, and arranger, currently based in Hong Kong. Her recent works include “Volunteer Stories” for the Radio Television of Hong Kong; the Documentary Title Sequence for SXSW 2019; Willa, the thriller adapted from Stephen King’s novel; Palomitas, the award-winning animation, and others. She works as an orchestrator and has contributed to the following films: La Gran Adventura de Los Lunnis y el Libro Magico, Wu Ling Guai Shou (Kung Fu Monster) and The Accidental Prime Minister. Her music can also be found in production libraries such as Extreme Music.

Directors/Filmmakers & Projects:

Ilinca Calugareanu / A Cops and Robbers Story (United Kingdom): Growing up in Queens in the ‘80s, Corey Pegues played Cops and Robbers like all the other kids on the block but he never expected to become both.

Ilinca Calugareanu is a UK-based Romanian filmmaker and co-founder of Vernon Films. Her debut documentary feature, Chuck Norris vs Communism, premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. With a background in anthropology, Ilinca has a skill and passion for melding fiction and documentary into beautiful films. Her credits include VHS vs.Communism (2014, New York Times Op-Docs) and Erica: Man Made (2017, Guardian Documentaries). She is now in post production with her second feature hybrid documentary, A Cops and Robbers Story and in production with feature documentary Dead Man Walking. She is also a Berlinale Talents Alumni (2017), a 2018 Chicken&Egg Accelerator Lab Grantee and Sundance Institute’s 2018 National Geographic Fellow.

Tasha Van Zandt / After Antarctica (U.S.A.): After Antarctica is a feature-length documentary that follows polar explorer Will Steger’s life journey as an eyewitness to the greatest changes in the polar regions of our planet. Now, thirty years after his historic coast-to-coast expedition across the coldest continent on Earth, Steger is not only known for being the first in history to complete this historic feat – he is also the last.

Tasha Van Zandt is a globally focused director, cinematographer and producer who has traveled on assignment around the world to all seven continents. Her work has been featured by TIME Magazine, The Guardian, NPR, PBS, Google, Adobe, among many others. Throughout the year, Tasha works with National Geographic Expeditions as a Filmmaking Instructor, leading educational expeditions throughout Australia, Iceland, Tanzania and Japan. Her film One Thousand Stories offers a unique look into the creation of the artist JR’s San Francisco Mural Project and is currently on display at the SFMOMA. Recently, Tasha collaborated with the renowned artist JR to document the creation of TIME Magazine’s Guns in America cover for her documentary film The Gun Chronicles and traveled throughout the country documenting varied perspectives on gun violence within local communities. Tasha is a 2019 Film Independent Fellow, member of the Film Independent Documentary Lab and Jackson Wild Media Lab Fellow. Currently, Tasha is directing the feature-length documentary After Antarctica, which follows the life of one of National Geographic’s most celebrated polar explorers. Throughout her work, Tasha is dedicated to capturing stories that foster empathy and using her lens as a tool to build cultural bridges that lead to greater global understanding.

Andres Farías / Candela (Dominican Republic): The lives of three strangers in Santo Domingo – a girl from the high society, a lonesome alcoholic cop, and a drag queen cabaret performer – intertwine on the eve of a hurricane following the murder of a young poet and drug dealer.

Andrés Farías Cintrón (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic) is currently in post production on his first feature film, Candela. The film was selected for the 2016 Ibermedia Writers Residency, the 2016 Sundance Institute Screenwriters Lab, 2018 Berlinale Talents, and the 2018 La Fabrique des Cinemas du Monde. He previously directed the multi-award winner short film Tiznao (2015), which explores the audiovisual universe of Candela. Farías is a graduate of the International School of Film and Television (EICTV) in Cuba.

Jennifer Taylor / For the Love of Rutland (U.S.A.): As a small, blue-collar city in New England struggles to emerge from the opioid epidemic and gets caught up in a battle over Syrian refugee resettlement, For The Love Of Rutland closely follows the lives of several intersecting characters to explore what changes – and what doesn’t – when rural and small-town Americans in majority-white communities see themselves in “the other.”

Director/Producer/Cinematographer Jennifer Maytorena Taylor makes colorful, character-based films about real people with extraordinary stories, often with Spanish-language content and frequently for PBS. Her work has shown at venues like the Sundance Film Festival, Los Angeles Film Festival, San Francisco Film Festival and Locarno Film Festivals, International Documentary Festival Amsterdam, New York Museum of Modern Art, Sundance Channel, Al Jazeera, and NHK-Japan. Jennifer participated in the 2008 Sundance Institute Edit and Story Lab with the feature documentary New Muslim Cool, and has also held fellowships with organizations such as the Banff Centre for the Arts, the USC Annenberg School for Journalism, the Points North/Tribeca Film Institute Rough Cut retreat, and the MacDowell Colony. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Film and Digital Media and the Director of Graduate Studies in the Social Documentation MFA program at UC Santa Cruz. Born in California of Irish, English, Sicilian and Mexican heritage, she grew up in both Los Angeles and Vermont and lives in San Francisco.

Nicole Riegel / Holler (U.S.A.): Ruth, an adolescent girl from a troubled home in Southeastern Ohio, joins up with a scrap metal crew in order to finance her education. Working the scrap yards during the day and stealing valuable metal from the once thriving factories by night, Ruth finds herself tempted by another kind of life, potentially upending the future she had planned for herself.

Riegel is writer/director originally from southern Ohio and living in Downtown LA. She was featured as one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 Faces of Independent Film and is an alum of the Sundance Institute writing labs. She is currently writing an adaptation for Focus Features.

Gregory Kershaw & Michael Dweck / The Hunt (U.S.A.): The Hunt follows an ensemble of spirited old truffle hunters and their prized dogs through secret Piedmont forests during the yearly “gold rush” when the world’s rarest ingredient comes into season. The narrative will capture their struggle to hold onto a centuries-old tradition in the face of globalization and their mortality in a place where mystery and magic still flourish.

Gregory Kershaw is a director, cinematographer, and producer on narrative and documentary films. He was recently a Producer and the Director of Photography on The Last Race which screened at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Previously he was a Senior Producer at Fusion TV where he directed long-form TV and digital documentaries on environmental issues around the world. While at Fusion TV he directed a series of short films funded by the United Nation Foundation that explored the impact of climate change on indigenous groups in remote parts of Latin America such as the Bolivian Andes and isolated regions of the Peruvian Amazon. He was also the lead producer and director on long-form television documentaries exploring the current global species extinction crisis featuring environmental luminaries such as Jane Goodall and Sylvia Earle. He is a graduate of Columbia University’s prestigious MFA film directing program.

Michael Dweck is an award-winning director, producer, and visual artist. He was recently the Director and a Producer of his first feature-length film, The Last Race, which premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. By experimenting with both form and subject matter, the documentary combined observational documentary, stylized imagery, and a symphonic merging of motion and sound. Throughout his work, Dweck artistically investigates ongoing struggles between identity and adaptation found within endangered societal enclaves. His projects incorporate mediums ranging from photography and sculpture to film and sound. Dweck’s notable series of works include: The End: Montauk, N.Y. (2004), Mermaids (2009), and Habana Libre (2010). Dweck’s works have been featured in solo and group exhibitions at museums and galleries worldwide, and are part of international art collections, including the archive of the Department of Film at The Museum of Modern Art in New York/AICP, where two of his long-form television pieces reside. Dweck holds a degree in Fine Art from the Pratt Institute in New York. During his earlier career as a highly regarded creative director, Dweck received over forty international awards, including the coveted Gold Lion at the Cannes International Festival of Creativity.

Cedric Cheung-Lau / The Mountains Are a Dream that Call to Me (U.S.A.): Tukten, a young Nepali man setting off for a new life as a laborer in Dubai, encounters an elderly Australian woman traveling in the Annapurnas, causing him to change course and discover his homeland in a new light.

Cedric Cheung-Lau is New York based filmmaker, cinematographer, and gaffer. He is currently in post production on his first feature, The Mountains are a Dream that Call to Me. Previously, Cheung-Lau directed the short Topography of a Hotel, which had its premiere at the 2015 Slamdance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. As a cinematographer, he has shot a number of shorts that have screened at festivals around the world. He was also the Chief Lighting Technician on a number of critically acclaimed films such as A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, Love After Love, Christine, and Patti Cake$.

Bryan Wizemann / You Mean Everything To Me (U.S.A.): After getting kicked out of her sister’s place, Cassandra falls hard and fast for Nathan, a local DJ. Caught up in a whirlwind romance, he soon starts distancing them from her friends and family, and his demands grow increasingly darker. Confused and desperate, Cassandra must figure out how to save another from the same fate, and decide what her own freedom is worth.

Bryan wrote and directed the feature film About Sunny which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and received the Grand Jury Prize at IFF Boston. Rex Reed called it a “wrenching but admirably unsentimental film about the bravery of the human condition.” Lauren Ambrose was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead, and the film was distributed by Oscilloscope. His previous feature, Losing Ground, was adapted from his critically acclaimed New York stage play and features the original cast. It was called “fascinating filmmaking that gets to the core of humanity” by Film Threat and is available on Amazon.

The Sundance Institute Film Music Program is supported by John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, BMI, The Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation, Film Music Foundation, and ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers).

Sundance Institute

Founded in 1981 by Robert Redford, Sundance Institute is a nonprofit organization that provides and preserves the space for artists in film, theatre, and media to create and thrive. The Institute’s signature Labs, granting, and mentorship programs, dedicated to developing new work, take place throughout the year in the U.S. and internationally. The Sundance Film Festival and other public programs connect audiences to artists in igniting new ideas, discovering original voices, and building a community dedicated to independent storytelling. Sundance Institute has supported such projects as Sorry to Bother You, Eighth Grade, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, Hereditary, RBG, Call Me By Your Name, Get Out, The Big Sick, Top of the Lake, Winter’s Bone, Dear White People, Brooklyn, Little Miss Sunshine, 20 Feet From Stardom, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Fruitvale Station, I’m Poppy, America to Me, Leimert Park, Spring Awakening, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder and Fun Home. Join Sundance Institute on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

About Skywalker Sound

Skywalker Sound, a division of Lucasfilm Ltd, is one of the largest, most versatile full-service audio post-production companies in the industry. Skywalker Sound offers comprehensive post-production services and utilizes the talents of Academy Award®-winning sound professionals working on sound design, editorial, Foley and re-recording mixes as a team. This provides filmmakers the most efficient model available for the audio post-production process. More information is available at

Lucasfilm Ltd. is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company.Skywalker Sound, the Skywalker Sound logo, STAR WARS and related properties are trademarks in the United States and/or in other countries of Lucasfilm Ltd. and/or its affiliates. © 2018 Lucasfilm Entertainment Company Ltd. or Lucasfilm Ltd. All rights reserved.

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