We chat with Supervising sound editor Sergio Diaz and re-recording mixer Zach Seivers about Director Chloé Zhao's new film, Nomadland.
Frances McDormand and director Chloé Zhao met a day before the 33rd Independent Spirit Awards in March 2018, and instantly wanted to do a film together. Filming for Nomadland took place over four months in fall 2018, with writer-director Zhao splitting time between set and pre-production for Eternals (2021). McDormand, Zhao, and other crew members lived out of vans over the course of production. David Strathairn, and real-life nomads Linda May, Charlene Swankie, and Bob Wells, also star.
The sound design was very important to the film and was tailored to the very different specific landscapes Fern travels through. For this Zhao and her team worked with Mexican born Sergio Diaz, who has collaborated with renowned directors Alfonso Cuarón (Roma), Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth, Hell Boy II: The Golden Army), and Alejandro González Iñarritu (21 Grams, Babel). For Nomadland he partnered with Los Angeles based Zach Seivers who also served as re-recording mixer. “We wanted to keep the sound design true to the soundscapes of the places where Fern finds herself, explains Zhao. “Very much like the music, we didn’t want to use “tricks” in sound design to tell the audiences how and what to feel. We wanted to be creative, experiential in our sound design, as well as true and honest.”