Episode 055: Anna Bertmark, Sound Designer & Supervisor

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This week, I spoke to the brilliant Anna Bertmark. Anna is a sound designer and supervisor who has worked on several acclaimed and award-winning British feature films including God’s Own Country, The Goob, Adult Life Skills, LiltingYou Were Never Really Here and more recently Blue Story, as well as episodes of Normal People as a sound effects editor.

I should also mention that Anna won the Best Sound BIFA in 2017 for her work on Francis Lee’s God’s Own Country and if you haven’t seen that film it’s a true marvel and definitely something worth seeking out. 

Originally from Sweden, Anna has worked in the UK film industry for 15 years and been Vice Chair of The Association of Motion Picture Sound (AMPS). She’s passionate about mentorship and training, so we speak her experiences of that and how she’s providing that currently to up-and-coming sound professionals. 

We also talk about her approach to designing sound, what those initial conversations with a director look like, where she gets inspiration, how software has changed over the years and what motivates her.

Personally I think it’s a great chat and my first with a sound designer so there was lots for me learn. 

If you’re a sound designer or interested in it as a career I’m going to flag a couple of things you might find valuable. One is a documentary called Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound by Midge Costin who herself has extensive experience in the sound department and its a great introduction to both the history of sound, but also how valuable it is as a storytelling apparatus.

Secondly, next week on Friday 26 June, the Sundance Institute and their Collab offshoot are hosting a webinar with Alma Har’el who directed Honey Boy and Benh Zeitlin who directed Beasts of the Southern Wild all about sound design and the role it can play and how to make the most of it even with lower budget features. I’ve been watching quite a few of their talks and they are really really good and this sounds like it’s gonna be pretty fascinating, so yeah one to bookmark. 

And finally, Anna recommended a book she was reading called ‘Women in Audio’ by Leslie Gaston-Bird and it features almost 100 profiles and stories of women working in various audio fields including sound for film & TV, so give that Google.

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