Michael Wolf Snyder Dies: Sound Mixer For ‘Nomadland,’ ‘The Rider’ Was 35

Michael Wolf Snyder, the sound mixer for a number of film titles including Chloé Zhao’s Nomadland and The Rider, has died by suicide, according to a Facebook post from his aunt. He was 35.

Snyder’s aunt, Cathy Synder, shared a post from the sound mixer’s father David Snyder in which he details finding his son’s body in his Queens, N.Y. home.

“Micahel took his own life sometime in the last week and it wasn’t discovered until I went to check on him Monday after he dropped out of contact for several days,” David Snyder originally wrote. “He has suffered from Major Depression for many years. For most people, this is an illness that waxes and wanes over the years. I’m sure it was difficult for Michael that he spent most of the last year alone in his small, Queens apartment, being responsible about dealing with the coronavirus.”

David, who detailed his son’s death in “the hope that it could help others,” added that his son seemed “especially joyful and invigorated” upon returning to work on a number of film projects. Unfortunately, Michael had died before the Golden Globe Awards on Feb. 28, David added. At the 78th annual ceremony, Zhao’s Nomadland took home the best director and best drama motion picture prizes.

Kicking off his career in 2011 with Henry Miller’s Occupant, Snyder worked in a number of sound roles ranging from boom operator, to location sound director to sound mixer. In 2014, he wrote, produced and mixed Jodie’s Way, a short about a trans-curious high schooler who has a run in with the local mean girls.

In 2017, he joined the team of Chloé Zhao’s The Rider as both a boom operator and sound mixer. The film, which is one part of Zhao’s trilogy about dispossessed and left-behind in the modern American West, stars Brady Jandreau, Tim Jandreau and Lilly Jandreau. Zhao’s drama follows a young cowboy who seeks out a new identity in the heartland of America.

Two years later Snyder reunited with Zhao for her Francis McDormand-starrer Nomadland. As production sound mixer, Snyder helped fill the narrative about modern-day nomads with the atmospheric echos of America’s natural landscapes.

For his work on Nomadland, Snyder received nominations, shared with Sergio Diaz and Zach Seivers, for best sound at both the Satellite Awards and the CinEuphoria Awards. In 2012 he won the best sound award for his work on Rockaway at the First Run Festival.

Snyder’s additional credits include HodoBuzz, Good Omens, Best Medicine, Home Sweet Home and All of Her.

See Cathy Snyder’s full post below.


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