Surviving Sundance: What To Know Before You Go


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January 9, 2019 –

Attending the Sundance Film Festival can be an overwhelming experience whether you are attending with a film or not. Join us for a lively discussion with Sundance-seasoned professionals as we cover the “Who, What, Where and How” of a well-rounded, low-stress festival experience. Bring your questions about getting festival tickets, places to stay, hot events to network and general pre-festival scheduling strategies. Advance preparations are key to getting the most out of this film festival and we have all the inside information to share.

Panelists: Peter Golub, Heather McIntosh, Vivek Maddala, Fil Eisler, Jongnic “JB” Bontemps

Moderator: Miriam Cutler

Peter Golub has written scores for films such as Frozen River, The Great Debaters, Songs My Brothers Taught Me and The Laramie Project. He is also the composer of numerous works for the theatre as well as concert works. For the last nineteen years he has been the Director of the Sundance Film Music Program. He teaches film music and composition at UCLA’s Herb Alpert School of Music.
Heather McIntosh started her musical career playing with the bands of The Elephant 6 Collective, Gnarls Barkley, and Lil Wayne. Following her touring days, she has been regularly composing music for film and television since 2011.

Heather is an alumna of The Sundance Institute Music & Sound Design Labs at Skywalker Sound, a 2014 Sundance Institute Time Warner Foundation Fellow, and a member of the Academy class of 2016. Her most recent credits include the series One Dollar for CBS All Access, Astra Taylor’s feature documentary What is Democracy? and To The Stars, directed by Martha Stephens which is part of this year’s Sundance US Dramatic Competition.

Vivek Maddala is an Emmy®-winning composer who focuses on scoring feature films, theater and dance productions, and television series. Additionally, he has worked with many acclaimed artists as a music producer and engineer (including Stephen Bishop, David Poe, Lili Haydn, String Theory, Gingger Shankar, Gino Vannelli, and legendary rock band Boston).

As a multi-instrumental performer, Vivek journeys fluidly through diverse musical styles, and effortlessly between many instruments – including drums, piano, guitar, and bass. He has also served as a guest conductor with renowned orchestras and chamber groups, performing work he has written for ballets and films. He is a Sundance Institute Lab Fellow for film composition, and recently had work premiere at the Cannes, Toronto, Berlin, Venice, and Sundance film festivals.

Fil Eisler is one of today’s busiest and most diverse composers. With projects that range from major studio action/suspense films and comedies to hit television shows to edgy independent films, his work is notable for the individuality and invention that is immediately recognizable in every project he takes on. Fil is currently scoring the Emmy® nominated Fox hit drama Empire, the New Line Cinema feature SuperIntelligence starring Melissa McCarthy, and an untitled high level fantasy-adventure video-game that will be officially announced in 2019.

He also scores the hit Lifetime series Unreal, and is very proud of the work he created for AMC’s Dietland with writer/producer Marti Noxon, for whom he also scored the 2016 Sundance feature To The Bone. Other recent projects include the Netflix action suspense feature The Titan, Sony’s Taraji B. Henson vehicle Proud Mary, and Warner Bros’ fan favorite Life of the Party. Practicing an ongoing commitment to, and affection for independent film, Eisler was among a select group of up-and-coming composers invited to the 2008 Sundance Film Composer’s Lab, and in the years since his indie projects have garnered critical acclaim on the film festival circuit and beyond.

Jongnic “JB” Bontemps is a uniquely modern film composer, harmonizing a classical education with his rich tech background as a maestro of Silicon Valley to write everything from the hip-hop infused score for the Tribeca-favorite documentary United Skates, to rousing additional music for Creed II. He’s been the go-to composer for the latter film’s director, Steven Caple Jr., including the score for the coming-of-age drama, The Land, where he also produced the song “This Bitter Land” for Nas and Erykah Badu. He has scored dozens of features, documentaries, shorts, and videogames in all genres—fusing a contemporary sound with timeless emotion. Other recent projects include the Toni Braxton-starring drama, Faith Under Fire, and the Sundance selection Leimert Park, produced by Charles King (Mudbound). JB’s scores have echoed at Cannes, the Warsaw Film Festival, Pan African American Film Fest, and American Black Film Fest, and at home on HBO, BET, Lifetime, NBC, Showtime, Netflix, PBS and Disney XD.

Emmy® nominated composer Miriam Cutler is passionate about documentaries. Her work includes HBO, CNN, PBS, Sundance, Emmy®, and Oscar® nominated films: RBG, Love Gilda, The Hunting Ground, Ethel, Lost in La Mancha, Thin, Poster Girl, Vito, Kings Point, Ghosts of Abu Ghraib, A Plastic Ocean, and more. She Co-Produced and Scored Dark Money and One Lucky Elephant.

Miriam is an Advisor for the Sundance Documentary Composers Lab, documentary juror for Sundance, Spirit Awards, AFI, and more. She also is an AMPAS Documentary Branch member, a Film Expert for USC Cinema/US State Department’s American Film Showcase, a current TV Academy Music Branch Exec committee member, and a long-time former SCL Board Member. Apart from film music she also co-produced live jazz albums for artists including Joe Williams, Nina Simone, Shirley Horn, Marlena Shaw.