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SFFILM and Dolby Institute Announce First Film to Receive Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision Grant

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Nov 8, 2018

SFFILM and Dolby Institute Announce First Film to Receive Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision Grant

Inaugural Dolby Fellowship in Partnership with SFFILM Awarded to 

Michael Tyburski and Ben Nabors’ Film Palimpsest

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., Nov. 08, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- SFFILM and the Dolby Institute have partnered to create a new fellowship, supporting films from development through post-production. The Dolby Fellowship provides an exciting opportunity rarely afforded to independent filmmakers—to thoughtfully elevate and deepen the role of sound and image in their finished films with advanced technology from Dolby LaboratoriesSFFILM Makers—SFFILM’s artist development program—and the Dolby Institute will offer the selected fellows artistic and industry guidance, facilitate introductions, and provide a cash grant allowing them to begin work with a sound designer during the screenwriting stage. Fellows also gain post-production support, with comprehensive sound design, a Dolby Atmos mix, and Dolby Vision color correction and mastering support. 

“This program is a perfect articulation of SFFILM and Dolby’s shared belief in the importance of being thoughtful about sound and image at every stage of the creative process, not just in post-production,” said Caroline von Kühn, Director of Artist Development at SFFILM. “Sound is too often left as an afterthought in post-production for independent filmmakers, with critical time and resources being exhausted earlier in the process—almost never does a filmmaker get to work with a sound designer while they are still developing their screenplay. And there is no better partner than Dolby to create such a thoughtful and inspired program designed to invest in the long-term success of innovative storytellers.” 

SFFILM and the Dolby Institute have selected Michael Tyburski and Ben Nabors as the inaugural recipients of the Dolby Fellowship, to develop their narrative feature project Palimpsest. The film tells the story of a “house tuner” in New York City who calibrates the sounds in people’s apartments in order to adjust their moods. After years of collecting data, he believes he’s discovered naturally occurring harmonies that are influencing the way people behave.

Palimpsest is quite literally a film about the power of sound—its subtle influence on our emotions, its ever-presence in city life, and what it can represent in our memories and in our thoughts,” said co-writer/producer Ben Nabors. “In the writing and development process, we want to communicate this power of sound accurately and meaningfully. With the support of SFFILM and Dolby, as well as the incredible sonic range afforded by the Dolby Atmos system, we will be able to convey these ideas and the feelings to our audience—both with light touches and bombastic crescendos. We couldn’t be happier with this fellowship and the complete Dolby audio  and visual experience for our film.”

In addition to mixing in Dolby Atmos, the Fellowship supports the makers of Palimpsest in finshing and presenting the film in Dolby Vision, delivering high dynamic range, expanded contrast ratio, and an enhanced color gamut.

“We created the Dolby Fellowship to support independent filmmakers who can use these powerful technologies to present their stories to audiences in the most spectacular way possible,” said Dolby Institute Director, Glenn Kiser. “In Palimpsest the hero experiences the world in a unique way because of how his hearing works, so this movie is the perfect recipient for the grant. We’re excited to support Michael and Ben in using Dolby Atmos to take the audience on an immersive journey through sound. This is also the first time we’ve supported Dolby Vision finishing with our grant, and we’re excited to see how the team uses this technology to engage the audience visually as well as with sound.”

Named by Filmmaker magazine as one of the “25 New Faces of Independent Film” in 2013, director/co-writer Michael Tyburskiis an award-winning filmmaker living in Brooklyn, New York, where he directs commercials, documentaries, and short films. His films have screened around the world, including at the Sundance Film Festival, where the short film version of Palimpsest won a Special Jury Award. The feature-length screenplay for Palimpsest was selected for IFP's Emerging Storyteller's Program and the Screenwriting Lab at the Hamptons International Film Festival, where it was also a recipient of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s Screenplay Award. His latest film, Actor Seeks Role starring Alex Karpovsky and Dylan Baker, won the Grand Jury Prize at IFFBoston in 2015 and was curated by the New Yorker as part of their Screening Room series.

Producer/co-writer Ben Nabors is a filmmaker and founder of the Brooklyn-based production company {group theory}. His debut feature film, William and the Windmill, a documentary about young Malawian windmill inventor William Kamkwamba, won the Grand Jury Prize at the South by Southwest 2013. He also co-wrote and produced the Sundance Special Jury Prize winning short film version of Palimpsest. In 2013, Filmmaker magazine named Nabors amongst the “25 New Faces of Independent Film.” In 2014, GOOD Magazine recognized him as a “GOOD 100,” and the US State Department tapped him as a Film Envoy within the American Film Showcase ambassadorial program.

Recipients of Dolby Fellowships in partnership with SFFILM are hand-picked by SFFILM and Dolby staff. This program is not currently accepting applications. For more information about filmmaker opportunities offered by SFFILM, visit

About the Dolby Institute
Launched at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, the Dolby Institute has the mission to educate and inspire emerging filmmakers and content creators to think creatively about sound and image to enhance their stories. Since its inception, the Institute has brought together emerging artists and award-winning veterans and masters of the craft to offer concrete tools and advice on ways to make stories more vibrant with sound and images. Dolby Institute Director Glenn Kiser, the former head of Skywalker Sound, has been working at film festivals, universities, and film schools—wherever filmmakers gather.

About Dolby Laboratories
Dolby Laboratories (NYSE: DLB) is based in San Francisco with offices in over 20 countries around the globe. Dolby transforms the science of sight and sound into spectacular experiences. Through innovative research and engineering, we create breakthrough experiences for billions of people worldwide through a collaborative ecosystem spanning artists, businesses, and consumers. The experiences people have – in Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos, Dolby Cinema, Dolby Voice, and Dolby Audio – revolutionize entertainment and communications at the cinema, on the go, in the home, and at work.

Dolby and the double-D symbol are among the registered and unregistered trademarks of Dolby Laboratories, Inc. in the Unites States and/or other countries. Other trademarks remain the property of their respective owners. DLB-G

SFFILM Makers (formerly "Filmmaker360"), the organization’s artist development program, provides significant financial and creative resources to independent filmmakers through grants, fellowships, residencies, fiscal sponsorship, and more. Since 2009, over $6 million has been disbursed to more than 150 film projects in various stages of production. Highlights include the SFFILM Rainin Grant and SFFILM Westridge Grant for narrative features; a joint effort with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to cultivate stories rooted in science and technology; and the Documentary Film Fund, a partnership with the Jenerosity Foundation. For more information, visit


SFFILM is a nonprofit organization with a mission to champion the world's finest films and filmmakers through programs anchored in and inspired by the spirit and values of the San Francisco Bay Area. Presenter of the San Francisco International Film Festival, SFFILM is a year-round organization delivering screenings and events to more than 100,000 film lovers and media education programs to more than 10,000 students and teachers annually. In addition to its public programs, SFFILM supports the careers of independent filmmakers from the Bay Area and beyond with grants, residencies, and other creative development services. For more information visit

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Source: Dolby Laboratories