The Sundance Institute pairs together four documentary projects and composers to participate in the tenth annual Composers + Documentary Lab, which takes place at their Utah resort October 26 – November 1. The Lab, which focuses on the role of music and sound design in docs, is part of the Institute’s Documentary Film Program and Fund (DFP) and Film Music Program. Among this year’s advisors are Rob Epstein (“Howl,” “Celluloid Closet”), Vivien Hillgrove (“In the Matter of Cha Jung Hee”) and DFP Director Cara Mertes, as well as music editor Adam Smalley and composers Todd Boekelheide (“Blessed is the Match”), Miriam Cutler and Film Music Program Director Peter Golub (“Wordplay,” “These Amazing Shadows”).
Director of the Film Music Program Peter Golub says:
“Composers for documentaries face unique challenges yet there are few opportunities for them to work with documentarians and focus specifically on overcoming those obstacles. The Composers + Documentary Lab provides valuable hands-on experience composing for documentary film. More than that, we hope it creates working relationships that will have practical applications throughout these artists’ careers.”
The four films are:
“Powerless” (India) – Directors: Fahad Mustafa and Deepti Kakkar
In a city with 15 hour power outages, a nimble young electrician provides Robin Hood-style services to the poor. Meanwhile, the first female chief of the electricity utility company is on a mission to dismantle the illegal connections, for good.
Composer: Ed Barguiarena
Ed Barguiarena is a veteran composer, producer, arranger and musician. His work includes music for feature film, documentaries, theater, modern dance, recordings and live performances.
“Regarding Susan Sontag” (U.S.) – Director: Nancy Kates
Regarding Susan Sontag tells the dramatic story of the late writer, activist, and public intellectual. It explores Sontag’s career, contrasts her courageous public persona with her closeted private life, examines her contributions to culture, and documents her views as a thinker and activist on war, terrorism, torture, and other contemporary issues.
Composer: Nora Kroll-Rosenbaum
Nora Kroll-Rosenbaum, a Juilliard graduate, has collaborated with world-renowned filmmakers, composers, multimedia artist. She has written music for film, television, video games, theater and the concert hall.
“Stargazing” (Denmark) – Director: Berit Madsen
A young Muslim girl dreams of becoming an astronaut. But at her age the nightly stargazing excursions in the desert are a thorn in the side of family and traditions.
Composer: Damian Montano
Damian Montano enjoys a varied musical career as a composer and performer in Los Angeles. He has worked on diverse projects, ranging from composing orchestral commissions to writing and orchestrating for feature film and television. As a bassoonist, he is a member of the LA Chamber Orchestra and performs with ensembles such as the LA Philharmonic and LA Opera.
“Untitled: 1971” (U.S.) – Director: Johanna Hamilton
Filmmaker Johanna Hamilton continues her exploration of social movements and the limits of dissent, this time turning her lens to domestic contradictions in North America.
Composer: Larry Goldings
Larry Goldings is a Grammy-nominated pianist, keyboardist, composer, and arranger. In addition to being recognized as one of the world’s top jazz organists, he composes songs for and with a growing list of singer-songwriters. He recently completed scoring his first feature film, Dealin’ With Idiots, written and directed by Jeff Garlin.