/News 31.07.23

Soundfirm celebrates their connection to Indigenous filmmaking with The New Boy, The Dark Emu Story and Sweet As

Soundfirm has a rich history of working with First Nations talent and is proud to have collaborated on titles including the 2002 Australian classic, Rabbit Proof Fence and more recent releases The New Boy, The Dark Emu Story and Sweet As. Soundfirm celebrates their connection to Indigenous filmmaking by showcasing these beautifully crafted First Nations led stories.

Dream team, dream facilities on the dream job

The New Boy completed their mix at Soundfirm Sydney with the dream team of mixer, Robert Sullivan and sound designer, Liam Egan both of whom have done several projects at the new Soundfirm Sydney facility. Robert was particularly happy with the support provided so they could hit a tight deadline.

Robert Sullivan, Mixer – “Thanks to everyone’s commitment and professionalism we not only met the very tight Cannes deadline, but also achieved something we’re all very proud of. Congratulations on the new mixing room. It sounds great – accurate and detailed monitoring with a large immersive soundstage that lent itself perfectly to The New Boy. It was also a comfortable space to mix and screen with friendly, experienced and knowledgeable staff on hand to offer assistance. Judging by the positive feedback from the Cannes screening it also translated very well into a cinema environment.”

The New Boy. Photographer – Ben King

Soundfirm provided their state of the art theatrical mixing stage with mix technician Alexander Roberts ensuring there was no down time in the room. The new room has a full theatrical ATMOS speaker set up and a 4K laser Christie Projector and is also grade capable.

Kath Shelper, Producer – “We mixed The New Boy at Soundfirm’s Sydney facility, which not only has awesome sound but excellent pictures. Warwick was constantly commenting on the quality of the projector as well as the sound set-up.”

“When you’ve got a main character who barely speaks, you want to make sure you’ve got Liam Egan and his team on sound design, Nick Cave and Warren Ellis on music, and the Soundfirm mix theatre to make some noise.”

Warwick Thornton, Director

Soundfirm has now mixed 8 films on their new theatrical mix stage and delivered a mix of theatrical ATMOS and 5.1 printmasters; the feedback on how the room sounds has been very positive.

Liam Egan, Sound Designer – “Mixing the sound for The New Boy in the brand new dubbing theatre at Soundfirm in Sydney was such a pleasure. The room sounded stunning and the team at Soundfirm made sure we didn’t have to worry about all the technical stuff so that we could concentrate on being creative and making the best soundtrack possible. We also recorded the ADR for The New Boy at Soundfirm and everyone there made the lead actor, 11 year old Aswan Reid, very comfortable in his first studio experience, allowing us to get the best performance possible from him. Soundfirm just made it easy and I look forward to many more collaborations in the future.”

Proud partnership with Blackfella Films

Soundfirm is particularly proud of their relationship with Blackfella Films which has resulted in a very successful collaboration across many years and projects. The Soundfirm team were excited to hear about The Dark Emu Story when it was still in its conceptual phase and were thrilled to see it come to life. The post schedule got condensed due to the film being selected for Sydney Film Festival so the team of Andy Wright, Will Carroll and Megan Howieson had to pull out all the stops to ensure a successful delivery. The standing ovation the film received at its full house premiere was proof of a job well done. 

Darren Dale, Producer – “When your film is selected for Official Competition at the Sydney Film Festival – but the deadline seems impossible – you are totally reliant on the skill and professionalism of your post production partners. Luckily for us we were working with Soundfirm, and they did everything within their power to meet that deadline without compromising the creative vision we shared.”

Michelle Kaszai, Post Production Supervisor – “Working with Soundfirm on The Dark Emu Story was an absolute pleasure. The team took meticulous care in the way they presented and layered all of the various location sound recordings, honouring each of the environments from which they were filmed, and weaving them together seamlessly with the breathtaking score, beautifully elevating each scene. The team are professional, friendly and utterly brilliant at what they do. Our entire experience collaborating with Soundfirm on the film was smooth and seamless. I was in awe of their ability to pivot to meet the demands of the production, and am grateful to them for their support of Blackfella Films.”

The Dark Emu Story. Photographer – Michael Fairbairn

Andy Wright the inhouse Supervising Sound Editor and Re-recording Mixer at Soundfirm considers working on Total Control and The Dark Emu Story as some of the highlights of his career. 

Andy Wright, Mixer – “Blackfella Films have been producing some of the best television drama and feature documentaries ever made in Australia. Darren Dale and his team push the boundaries on questioning our understanding of community, multiculturalism and Australian history. I count myself fortunate to be a part of their creative process. The consistent collaboration between Blackfella Films and Soundfirm over the past few years has grown a shorthand towards highly detailed work with short turnaround times. Darren himself has a fabulous understanding of film sound and a keen ear for pushing the mix in the right direction.”

Part of the challenge of The Dark Emu Story was that the director was overseas but Soundfirm found a way to make it seamless. 

Allan Clarke, Director – “My vision for The Dark Emu Story was always to transport audiences, to make them feel like they were on location as if they were standing on country and the sound mix was a vital part of that. I knew Soundfirm had an impeccable reputation for detail and because I was working remotely I needed to trust that the vision would be accommodated. After initial Zoom meetings, they were passionate about making sure the film sang. Soundfirm sent WIPs to review and my notes were always addressed. There’s a certain level of trust you have to have during post-production and Soundfirm was able to respect the vision and work autonomously while still being responsive to any concerns. They were great collaborators, which you need on a project like this.” 

Belinda Mravicic, Producer – “We collaborated with Soundfirm on The Dark Emu Story and couldn’t have asked for a better sound post team. Thanks to their collective expertise, experience and most importantly, level of care we were able to deliver our film as envisioned. From the outset, our director Allan Clarke wanted a rich soundscape to reflect the complex and beautiful cultures that have shaped this land. Soundfirm honoured this by taking the unique sounds captured on country and respectfully weaving them in with the exquisitely composed music and carefully crafted interviews. The Sydney facility is second to none and the team committed wholeheartedly to the film, working with ease across three different time zones and with deadlines that most would consider impossible. Thank you Soundfirm, we look forward to the next time we work with your exceptional team.”

Sweet direction from Jub Clerc

Soundfirm delivered a full post package of picture, sound and VFX for Sweet As from Indigenous writer and director, Jub Clerc. A directorial debut for Clerc and a milestone for Indigenous representation in Australian cinema, Sweet As follows Murra, an Indigenous teenager living in remote Pilbara Country in Western Australia, who discovers her love of photography during a youth trip. Soundfirm Melbourne’s inhouse Re-recording Mixer, David Williams reflects on working with Clerc. 

Sweet As. Photographer – Nic Duncan

David Williams, Mixer – “Working with Jub was a true joy and pleasure. So much of Sweet As was shaped by Jub’s own life experiences. With that came a need to represent those experiences as authentically as possible.” 

It is the first Western Australian film that has been directed by an indigenous person and much of the story is inspired by Clerc’s own. A similar approach was utilised by the Soundfirm Melbourne team when they created the sound design for Stephen Johnson’s High Ground. For Sweet As, Williams felt it was important to produce an authentic soundscape, which echoed a sensibility for both Country and Clerc’s story.

Williams continues, “For the sound department, this meant amassing a library of sounds which were both endemic to the Pilbara region, and suited the narrative that Jub crafted. From the harsh and gritty industrialised ambiences of Port Headland, to the lush dawn chorus of the Pilbara’s birds and insects, each sound was carefully designed and placed in the soundscape to best represent Jub’s creative vision, and Murra’s journey.” 

Jub Clerc had this to say about working with Soundfirm on Sweet As.

“Sweet As was the first time I got to work at Soundfirm and it was an amazing experience. I knew instantly that I was in the best hands with a highly professional and welcoming team. They have an amazing facility and the best couch I’ve ever seen! Ha! I’d go back in a heartbeat.”

Jub Clerc, Director