Songs from the Deep
Nominated in the Directing and Audio/Sound Categories of the Student Production Awards by the Southeast Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences
Songs From the Deep is Grey Gowder’s M.F.A. Thesis film at the Savannah College of Art and Design.
In 1979, Earth-based radio telescopes captured a brief repetition of pulses coming from the Cetus constellation. NASA-sponsored listening stations sprung up across the most isolated places on Earth, manned by young scientists eager to be the first to make contact. Forty years later, DOCTOR JOSEPH SINGER, the last of those young scientists, continues to listen with his artificial intelligence assistant SALLE for a signal that we are not alone. But when funding is cut to his program, and a lifetime of sacrifice seems to have been for nothing, Dr. Singer is forced to reconnect with the world of his past and in doing so discover the power of Earth’s other voices to make contact.
When Grey Gowder began developing “Songs from the Deep”, he hoped to achieve the dream that brought him to film school. Grey sought to create films that truly embraced the collaborative nature of cinema by empowering his fellow students to explore their passions through a shared vision. At its core, the film is a meditation on isolation, communication, and perspective. Only by opening himself to the world around him does Dr. Singer gain a new perspective on how to achieve his dreams.
The Savannah College of Art & Design offers comprehensive instruction in film production, sound design, performing arts, production design, visual effects, motion graphics, and many more disciplines. In order to achieve the ambitious science-fiction vision of this film, Grey drew upon the expertise of students from across the school. Sound Designer Ryan Sullivan was one of the first members of the team. He, along with Sound Department Supervisor, Xinyue Yu were drawn to prominent role sound played in this film along with the challenge of creating a new form of alien communication from scratch. Composer Dillon Kelly, too, joined the project in order to experience the challenge of breaking down Gustav Holst’s Planets symphony in order to recreate its feel throughout the film but with a fresh new feel. Cinematographer Conrad Laga returned for his third film with Grey and brought with him a collection of some of the best and brightest crew at SCAD at the time with Scott McKinnney, another one of Grey’s longtime collaborators, to lead them as Assistant Director.
The film stars Ken Daniel, a former film professor at SCAD. Ken felt particularly drawn to Dr. Singer since he recognized a lot of the challenges, regrets, and aspirations of the character. Starring as Dr. Singer’s AI assistant SALLE is April Consalo, a leading student in SCAD’s Performing Arts Department. April’s love of science-fiction drew her to the unique challenge of playing an animated character where only her voice and facial performance would be visible to the audience. The challenge of animating her performance, along with the enhancement of the world of the film, drew Visual Effects Supervisor Michael Pickering and his team of modelers and compositors to the film. Their work, along with the work of Colorist Calvin Bellas, elevated the film and built upon the practical world of the set design and physical locations.
Producer & Director
Sound Team Supervisor
VFX Supervisor & Lead Compositor
Motion Graphics Artist