Sylvain Bellemare Q&A: ‘Arrival’ sound editor
“It’s pretty exciting,” reveals sound editor Sylvain Bellemare during our recent webcam chat (watch above) when asked about his Oscar nomination for “Arrival.” “It takes time to even realize that it’s real.” In addition to Bellemare’s bid, the film also contends in 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 centers on a linguist (Amy Adams) recruited by the U.S. military to translate alien communications after several spaceships land over major world cities. “A film like ‘Arrival,’ because it’s science fiction, needs a lot of sound design, and a lot of sound ideas,” Bellemare divulges. “It’s an enormous stage of work, and an enormous concept of design.” He strove to make the sounds become, “really apart of the film, as a character, as a vibe, as a narration.”
Bellemare has worked often with Villeneuve, most notably on his Oscar-nominated “Incendies” (2010). “You get to a point where you do not have to talk much,” he says of their collaboration. “It’s like being two players on the sports field: you’re in your game, and you don’t need to talk much in a way.”