Writer/director Amy Seimetz‘s second feature, the psychological thriller She Dies Tomorrow, opened in select drive-ins last Friday, and it will be available digitally On-Demand this coming Friday. Seimetz did the sound and picture finishing for her sophomore feature at New York’s Goldcrest Post, using the team of colorist Nat Jencks, sound designer/supervising sound editor Mary Ellen Porto, re-recording mixer Ryan M. Price, sound editor and re-recording mixer Tim Obzud, Foley artist Rachel Chancey and dialog editor Alexa Zimmerman.
The film stars Kate Lyn Sheil as a woman who wakes up convinced she’s going to die the next day, a feeling that quickly spreads among everyone she encounters, including characters played by Jane Adams, Chris Messina, Katie Aselton and more. The film has received generally favorable reviews due to the timeliness of the topic of isolation and dread, combined with the idea of how those things might spread like a virus.
Seimetz previously worked with Steven Soderbergh on his STARZ series, The Girlfriend Experience, and he was the person who referred her to Goldcrest Post for her post-production needs.
In a statement, Seimetz spoke specifically about what she needed from the sound design team, “When people feel that they are contracting the virus, they begin to shake inside. It’s a transformative experience and I wanted to express that feeling through sound. I told Mary Ellen, ‘Let’s go all-in, push it as far as we can, and create a sonic experiential moment.” Porto had to find a way to express the transmission of the virus emotionally, rather than physically, through the film’s sound.
This included how the characters heard voices and other sounds in their heads as the virus infected them. “Amy knew what she wanted, but she allowed us creative freedom to piece together different bits of voice and sound to create the effect she was after,” Porto said in her own statement. “It’s almost like she’s receiving a radio transmission, and that’s how we treated it.”
The sound design work by Porto and Obzud was enhanced through Chancey’s work through her company Props and Pits Foley. On her Foley work, Chancey said: “There are long sequences where there is no dialogue and so the sound takes on added significance in establishing the environment and advancing the story. In one scene, Amy is walking through her home and she touches everything. She then goes outside and runs her hands over leaves, branches and other foliage. All of that is supported by Foley, and a lot of fun to do.”
As with everything these days, She Dies Tomorrow was affected by the COVID pandemic, since it was originally supposed to premiere at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival. When that annual Austin event was cancelled, Goldcrest had to shift everything to a remote workflow, which allowed Price and Obzud to do the entire mix in their home studios.
For more information on Goldcrest Pro and its staff, you can refer to its official site.