Sundance Institute® and the Dolby® Institute, along with the Ray and Dagmar Dolby Family Fund, announced today that Last Days in the Desert, written and directed by Rodrigo García, has been selected as the second recipient of the Dolby Family Sound Fellowship.
This fellowship opportunity in collaboration with Sundance Institute provides a range of postproduction resources to allow the fellowship recipient to fulfill the creative potential of the film’s sound design. Last Days in the Desert was chosen based on the complex canvas and nuanced characters in the film, particularly the juxtaposition of Jesus and the Devil, and the human conflicts that Jesus faces in determining an ordinary family’s fate in the desert.
The world premiere of Last Days in the Desert
will feature the Dolby Atmos®
mix at the Eccles Theatre, located in Utah at Park City High School, on January 25 during the 2015 Sundance Film Festival®
. Dolby Atmos
allows filmmakers the creative freedom to easily arrange sounds anywhere in the movie theatre to create a lifelike cinema sound experience. The Dolby Institute’s donation of a Dolby Atmos cinema sound system is now permanently installed at the Eccles Theatre for the Park City community to enjoy.
“With the support of the Dolby Institute and Dolby Family Sound Fellowship, Last Days in the Desert can now achieve an immersive and detailed sound environment with a Dolby Atmos mix, and we are thrilled to be able to deliver this experience as part of its premiere at the Eccles Theatre,” said Vince Voron, Vice President, Executive Creative Director, Dolby Laboratories. “The permanent installation of Dolby Atmos at the Eccles is a significant step that recognizes sound as a crucial storytelling element for independent filmmakers.”
“We were excited to participate in the selection of this year’s film for the fellowship. The production team did a great job capturing the on-site soundscape of the desert. This attention to detail gives the film the most realistic source materials to mix using Dolby Atmos technology,” said David Dolby.
Sundance Institute and the Dolby Institute collaborated on the film-vetting process; the winning film was selected by a committee made up of members from both organizations, with the input of Skip Lievsay, Academy Award® winning sound designer and rerecording mixer (Gravity). The Last Days in the Desert sound team, Justin Davey and Zach Seivers of Snapsound, used the grant to enhance the film’s sound design and mix to achieve a fully immersive Dolby Atmos track, with the help and advice of Lievsay.
“I am ecstatic and very grateful that Dolby has chosen to support us,” said writer-director Rodrigo García. “I’ve never made a film where the physical environment was so important to the story, so the Dolby Atmos mix will make a huge difference creatively.”
“I was so hooked the first time I watched the film during the selection process that I just had to be part of the Atmos process,” said rerecording mixer Skip Lievsay. “The deep and intense exploration of character in this film extends naturally to the soundtrack. The opportunities in the film for sound editing and mix are fantastic, especially in Dolby Atmos. This film may also provide some answers to the question of what types of films can benefit from the Atmos format. I believe the answer is ‘all types.’”
On January 27 at the Sundance Film Festival, the Dolby Institute will host a panel discussion, “Last Days in the Desert: The Art of Sound Design and Music.” Glenn Kiser, Director, Dolby Institute, will moderate the discussion on sound and music design, and will present clips from the film. Writer-director Rodrigo García, composers Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans, and sound designers and mixers Justin Davey and Zach Seivers will participate as panelists. Accredited Sundance Film Festival industry guests are welcome to attend.
About Last Days in the Desert
Ewan McGregor plays Jesus—and the Devil—in an imagined chapter from Jesus’s 40 days of fasting and praying in the desert. On his way out of the wilderness, Jesus struggles with the Devil over the fate of a family in crisis, setting a dramatic test for himself.
About the Dolby Family Sound Fellowship
An initiative of the Dolby Institute, the Dolby Family Sound Fellowship launched at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. Fellowship recipients are awarded in the range of $35,000 to $75,000, depending on the needs of the film chosen, with the flexibility to use the grant at varying stages of sound postproduction in whatever way best impacts their film. Opportunities include augmenting studio time for sound design, music recording, mixing, or remixing the film in Dolby Atmos. Recipients also receive a myriad of in-kind support services, with the opportunity to work with leading industry experts and Dolby sound-editing teams at professional mixing facilities. This year’s fellowship also supported the Sundance Institute’s programmatic and administrative costs to identify, nominate, and select the fellowship recipient.
About the Dolby Institute
Launched at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, the Dolby Institute has the mission to help engage and educate artists and filmmakers on the importance of sound to the overall film experience, and to invite filmmakers and artists to think critically about sound from the very beginning of the creative process. The institute works directly with filmmakers and artists at leading film festivals, labs, and related events. Since its inception, the institute has brought together emerging artists and award-winning audio veterans and masters of the craft to offer concrete tools and advice on ways to make a story more vibrant with sound. Dolby Institute Director Glenn Kiser, the former vice president and general manager of Skywalker Sound, has been working at film festivals, universities, and film schools—wherever filmmakers gather.
About 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 new 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 Beasts of the Southern Wild
, Fruitvale Station
, Sin Nombre
, The Invisible War
, The Square
, Dirty Wars
, Spring Awakening
, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder,
and Fun Home
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About Dolby Laboratories
Dolby Laboratories (NYSE: DLB) creates audio, video, and voice technologies that transform entertainment and communications in mobile devices, at the cinema, at home, and at work. For nearly 50 years, sight and sound experiences have become more vibrant, clear, and powerful in Dolby. For more information, please visit www.dolby.com