Bernard Gariepy Strobl Q&A: ‘Arrival’ sound mixer
“It was overwhelming,” admits sound mixer Bernard Gariepy Strobl during our recent webcam chat (watch above) when asked about his Oscar nomination for “Arrival.” “It’s an unreal feeling, really, of honor. Seeing also the other nominees that are there …for us to be apart of that is completely crazy, and it’s a great joy.” Strobl shares this bid with Claude La Haye. Additionally, the film competes for Best Picture, Best Director (Denis Villeneuve), Best Adapted Screenplay (Eric Heisserer), Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, Best Film Editing, and Best Sound Mixing.
The film stars Amy Adams as a linguist recruited by the U.S. military to translate alien communications after several spaceships land over major world cities. “The communications sound had a particular role in creating this barrier between the aliens themselves, and the crew that were arriving to meet them,” Strobl divulges. “Also, it allowed for Louise Banks, Amy’s character, to be able to free herself from this barrier, and to present herself personally to the aliens. So all those levels of sound communication and parasites of having difficulty understanding everyone, was important to eventually be broken by someone just exposing herself, and …actually personally meeting the aliens there.”
Therefore, Strobl strove in his mix to create, “multiple layers of different sound textures, and having this complex level of communication between all the characters, for it to become free and eventually become pure communication between the two beings involved.”