The Sundance Institute has picked four documentaries and four composers to be accepted into this year’s Composers + Documentary Lab.
Due to take place from October 26 to November 1 at the Sundance Resort in Utah, the 10th annual lab pairs four composers with four filmmakers to compose and record original music for a section of a film in progress. The Lab is a joint initiative of the Institute’s Documentary Film Program and Fund (DFP) and Film Music Program.
This year, directors Fahad Mustafa and Deepti Kakkar will work with composer Ed Barguiarena on Powerless, an Indian doc about a Robin Hood-style electrician; director Nancy Kates will work with composer Nora Kroll-Rosenbaum on Regarding Susan Sontag, a film exploring the public and private life of the late writer, activist and intellectual; and director Berit Madsen will work with composer Damian Montano on Stargazing, a doc about a Muslim girl who dreams of becoming an astronaut.
In addition, director Johanna Hamilton will work with Grammy-nominated composer and pianist Larry Goldings on Untitled: 1971, a doc exploring social movements and the limits of dissent in North America.
“This Lab is unique in the world; through it we have seen the escalation of the use of original composition in cinematic documentary,” said DFP director Cara Mertes in a statement. “The composers commonly have established musical careers but have not composed for film, and documentary storytelling is uniquely suited to benefit from the attributes of an inspired musical score and soundscape.”
The participants were selected from an advisory panel comprised of Mertes; filmmakers Rob Epstein and Vivien Hillgrove; music editor Adam Smalley; composers Todd Boekelheide and Miriam Cutler; and Film Music Program director Peter Golub.