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The sound of La La Land
By Jennifer Walden

Director/writer Damien Chazelle’s musical La La Land has landed an incredible 14 Oscar nominations — in addition to many other award wins from around the globe.

The story follows aspiring actress Mia (Emma Stone)
who meets the struggling pian-ist Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) at a dinner club, where he’s been fired from his gig playing tunes for indifferent diners. Mia throws out a compliment as Sebastian approaches, but he just breezes right past, ignoring her completely. Their paths cross again at a Los Angeles pool party, and this time Mia makes a lasting impression on Sebastian. They eventually fall in love, but their life together is complicated by the realities of making their own dreams happen.

Sounds of the City
La La Land is a love story but it’s also a love letter to Los Angeles, says supervising sound editor Ai-Ling Lee, who shares an Oscar nomination for Best Sound Editing on the film with co-supervising sound editor Mildred Iatrou Morgan. One of Chazelle’s initial directives was to have the cityscape sound active and full of life. “He gave me film references, like Boogie Nights and Mean Streets, even though the latter was a New York film. He liked the amount of sound coming out from the city, but wanted a more romantic approach to the soundscape on La La Land. He likes the idea of the city always being bustling,” says Lee.

In addition to La La Land’s musical numbers, director Chazelle wanted to add musical moments throughout the film, some obvious, like the car radios in the opening traffic jam, and some more subtle. Lee explains, “You always hear music coming from different sources in the city, like music coming out of a car going by or mariachi music coming from down the hallway of Sebastian’s apartment building.” The culturally diverse incidental music, traffic sounds, helicopters and local birds, like mourning doves, populate the city soundscape and create a distinct LA vibe.

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Jungle Book’s Oscar-
nominated Rob Legato

By Randi Altman

VFX supervisor Rob Legato’s resume includes some titles that might be considered among the best visual effects films of all time: Titanic, Avatar, Hugo, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Apollo 13 and, most recently, The Jungle Book.

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Manchester by the Sea
director Kenneth Lonergan
By Iain Blair

It’s been 16 years since filmmaker and playwright Kenneth Lonergan made his prize-winning debut at Sundance with You Can Count on Me, which he wrote and directed. The film was an Oscar and Golden Globe nominee for Best Screenplay.

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Talking with Moonlight director Barry Jenkins
By Iain Blair

Director Denis Villeneuve
on making Arrival

By Iain Blair

Garth Davis weighs in on
his Oscar-nominated Lion

By Iain Blair

Chatting with La La Land director Damien Chazell
By Iain Blair

Doctor Strange's VFX supervisor Stephane Ceretti
By Daniel Restuccio

Hidden Figures director
and co-writer Ted Melfi

By Iain Blair

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