Shangri-La Miniseries Debuts on Showtime
Over the summer I had the pleasure of sound editing and mixing a four-part documentary miniseries for Showtime about Rick Rubin and his legendary recording studio in Malibu, called Shangri-La. Directed by Academy Award winner Morgan Neville and Independent Spirit Award winner Jeff Malmberg, the show was a peek behind the curtain at the life and methodology of one of the most famous music producers of all time, and also a stylistic endeavor into the heart of what creativity is, where inspiration comes from, and all of the unseen and indescribable forces that come together to produce works of art. There were interviews, there were marionettes, there was David Lynch talking about states of consciousness, there was music and sound design that got to bridge space and time and fill the air. I love working on nonfiction projects that embrace out-of-the-box styles and unusual methods of storytelling, and I will forever be grateful to have been able to work on something as sonically creative as this, and that Morgan and Jeff and Showtime all leaned into the weirdness with wonderful abandon.
The miniseries debuted in July to great praise. Indiewire called it ‘a beautiful meditation on ingenuity’. The Hollywood Reporter called it ‘inspiring and oddly riviting’. Rolling Stone stated it ‘turns into a free-form deep dive into the creative process’. The show received coverage on Variety, Entertainment Weekly, Pitchfork, and more.
Fire in Paradise Premieres at Telluride
My latest project was sound FX editing a documentary about last year’s Camp Fire that devastated the town of Paradise, California. The film, called Fire in Paradise, was directed by Drea Cooper and Zackary Canipari, and just had its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival.
It was hard subject matter to work on, dealing with the destruction and loss of such a disaster, coupled with the intensity of footage from cell phones and cameras trapped inside the blaze itself. It was also a very important and personal film to me, having grown up in Northern California and having lived my whole life in a state where devastating wildfires happen on far too constant of a basis.
It was also a rewarding creative experience, as the film was sound edited for Atmos, and we mixed up at Skywalker Sound under the incredible talents of Bob Edwards. It is always a treat to be able to collaborate with Skywalker, and to fully explore all the avenues of creativity and immersion that working in the Dolby Atmos format can offer. I’ll post more news about more festivals and distribution in the near future!
American Factory Theatrical Release
After a successful festival run, and garnering honors at Sundance, Sarasota, RiverRun, Ashland, and being a Centerpiece Film at AFI Docs, Opening Night Film at Full Frame and more, American Factory had its debut in theaters and on Netflix to some incredible press.
Not only was the film purchased by Netflix, but it was also included by Barack and Michelle Obama to be their inaugural film as part of their Higher Ground partnership. The former President and First Lady made an introductory video for the film where they had a conversation with Academy Award nominated directors Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert about what drew them to the film and the film’s themes.
Launching simultaneously in theaters and on Netflix, the film played all around the world, gathering rave reviews and a Critics Pick from the New York Times, The Atlantic, Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, Roger Ebert, Variety, The Wrap, The San Francisco Chronicle, and is currently sitting at at 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
I’m proud of this film, and I’m proud of its soundscape. Starting with visiting the factory in person to record a detailed ambisonic location sound library, to an intense and involved sound editorial process back in Los Angeles, to finishing the film up at Skywalker Sound for the final mix with mixer Chris Barnett, it was a wonderful and exciting journey.
More Festival Updates for Changing the Game and The Seer and the Unseen
After premiering at Tribeca, Changing the Game was chosen to be the Centerpiece Film at this year’s Outfest, where it also won the Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature.
It also picked up the Audience Award at Frameline, and Best Documentary from the aGLIFF festival in Austin, in addition to great reviews in The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, Film Threat, Advocate, Nylon and others.
Meanwhile, The Seer and the Unseen is continuing its festival run, playing at the Melbourne International Film Festival, New Horizons, Gimli, and the upcoming Camden Film Festival where it was also nominated for the John Marshall Award for Contemporary Ethnographic Media.
Upcoming for the Fall Season
Now that summer is coming to a close, the fall festival slate begins to heat up. I can’t wait to share about some of my new and upcoming projects, including new work for HBO, Refinery 29, and others. The seasons don’t feel like they are changing externally here in Los Angeles very often, and we don’t get too many falling leaves and autumnal colors, but the studio gets even more filled with people and sounds and hot chocolates start to rotate into my snack consumption. I’m always excited to see what kinds of creativity the fall will usher in (as I also kiss the last of my free time goodbye), and I look forward to sharing on here all the fun new and exciting projects. In the meantime, I look forward to one or two more beach days, as well as finishing the last of the newest studio renovations and upgrades, which includes some new computers, software updates, and a new Home Atmos-compatible Focusrite Red 16 Line and Avid HD system. Much excitement (and maybe some updated studio photos at long last) coming still!