Lab Highlights Importance of Score to Storytelling: How Psychology of a Film is Played out in Music

Composers Carter Burwell, George S. Clinton, Osvaldo Golijov, Edward Shearmur, Tyler Bates and Maya Beiser Among Advisors

Los Angeles, CA and Park City, UT – Today, Sundance Institute announced the six musicians selected for the 2008 Sundance Institute Composers Lab, which runs from July 22 thru August 7 in Sundance, Utah. This year’s Composers Lab Fellows are Matt Cartsonis, T. Griffin, iZLER, JJ Lee, Vivek Maddala and Nicholas Pavkovic. During the two-week Lab, Fellows participate in workshops and creative exercises under the guidance of the industry’s leading film composers and film music professionals.

The Composers Lab Fellows also collaborate with filmmakers from the Sundance Institute Feature Film Program and the Sundance Institute Documentary Program to explore the process of writing music for film and to create accompanying scores for scenes shot during the Feature Film Program’s Directors Lab and those developed during the Documentary Program’s Edit and Storytelling Lab.

The Composers Lab is a major component of the Sundance Institute Film Music Program, dedicated to supporting emerging film composers and to enhancing the role of music in independent film. First offered from 1986-1989, the Composers Lab was re-introduced in the summer of 1998 to provide a collaborative and supportive environment in which composers experiment and expand their musical language.

"Whether narrative or documentary, innovative storytelling through film involves a keen eye, an editor's touch, the appropriate voice and also the right sound," said Peter Golub, Director, Sundance Institute Film Music Program. "The goal of our Composers Lab is to give emerging composers and filmmakers a creative environment both to collaborate on and to explore the importance of music in their projects. Many first-time filmmakers have never before had the opportunity to work in this medium."

In addition to their work with filmmakers from the Feature Film and Documentary Film Programs, Composers Lab Fellows will work with Creative Advisors, a distinguished group of film composers, filmmakers, and film industry professionals.

This year's Creative Advisors include film composers Tyler Bates (GRINDHOUSE, 300), Carter Burwell (NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, IN BRUGES): George S. Clinton (THE LOVE GURU, AUSTIN POWERS: INTERNATIONAL MAN OF MYSTERY); Miriam Cutler (GHOSTS OF ABU GHRAIB), Osvaldo Golijov (THE MAN WHO CRIED, YOUTH WITHOUT YOUTH); and Ed Shearmur (SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW, CHARLIE'S ANGELS).

Other Creative Advisors include: music supervisor Tracy McKnight (THE GROOMSMEN, WORDPLAY, FRIENDS WITH MONEY); music editor Adam Smalley (KUNG FU PANDA); film music agent Robert Messinger (First Artists); music executive Doug Frank (Warner Bros. Pictures); Doreen Ringer Ross (Vice-President, Film/TV Relations at BMI); cellist Maya Beiser, and percussionist Steven Schick.

The Fellows for the 2008 Sundance Institute Composers Lab are:

Matt Cartsonis

Cartsonis is a multi-instrumentalist who has spent much of his career exploring American roots and world music. His music can be heard on Chump Change (Miramax), Slamdunk!, and feature documentaries THE LAST RIVERMEN and ENDANGERED SPECIES. He has contributed music to ABC's hit series Judging Amy. Matt has performed with Warren Zevon, Jennifer Warnes, Pete Seeger and Van Dyke Parks.

T. Griffin

Griffin is a songwriter, composer and producer working in Brooklyn. Alone and with his band The Quavers he has released four critically acclaimed CDs of songs in a homespun electronic style that's been described as 'porch techno'. He has scored films for Michael Almereyda, Esther B. Robinson, Peter Sillen, and Jem Cohen, works with theatre director Anne Bogart, and has created live soundtrack shows for Cohen, Brent Green and for an international tour of the late Danny Williams' Warhol Factory films. As a producer, player and arranger he has worked with musical luminaries Vic Chesnutt, Patti Smith, Tom Verlaine and members of godspeed you!, black emperor, Fugazi and The Ex.


iZLER was born in Prague and grew up in London. A multi-instrumentalist, he has worked closely with Robbie Williams. His work with Williams' band can be heard on films such as Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and A Knight's Tale. In 2001, he became immersed in the booming Lower East Side art scene in New York. Since then he has provided music for films, TV and commercials. He has recently completed the score for the film Humboldt County starring Peter Bogdanovitch, Fairuza Balk and Chris Messina. He has provided additional music for Oscar-nominated composer Marco Beltrami on REPOSSESSION MAMBO.

JJ Lee

Lee studied at the Berklee College of Music and has worked and studied with some of the top film composers and orchestrators working today. She wrote additional music for such films as Million Dollar (Bravo) and Blind Ambition and in 2007 she was the winner of the Game Audio Network Guild's composition competition. She cites as her main influences the music of Gustav Holst, Igor Stravinsky and Bill Evans.

Vivek Maddala

Composer and multi-instrumentalist Vivek Maddala blends melodic symphonic writing with jazz idioms and modern world music textures. His film scores include They Turned Our Desert Into Fire, Ace of Hearts, and Whispers from Poland. He was commissioned by the internationally renowned dance company BodyVox to compose a new work which will premiere this summer.

Nicholas Pavkovic

Pavkovic began studying classical piano at age five, majored in mathematics at the University of Chicago, and has worked as a publication designer in New York, San Francisco and Munich. He composed music for such films as The Night Caller, Gameface, Handle with Care, I Love You Mommy, On the Rocks, and The Call of Cthulhu.

The Sundance Institute Composers Lab receives major support from BMI and the Baisely Powell Elebash Fund, which helps support New York-based Lab Fellows and Creative Advisors. Additional support for the 2008 Composers Lab is generously provided by Alesis, Apple Computer, Hewlett Packard Company, H.P. Marketing, JBL Professional, LaCie Limited, Mackie, Mark of the Unicorn, Native Instruments, Sony Business and Professional Products, Sony Media and Sony SXRD.

About Sundance Institute

Founded by Robert Redford in 1981, the Institute has grown into an internationally recognized resource for thousands of independent artists through its Sundance Film Festival and artistic development programs for filmmakers, screenwriters, composers, playwrights, and theatre artists. The original values of independence, creative risk-taking, and discovery continue to define and guide the work of Sundance Institute, both with US artists and, increasingly, with artists from other regions of the world.