Michael Wolf Snyder, ‘Nomadland’ Sound Mixer, Dies at 35

Rosemary Rossi
·5-min read

Michael Wolf Snyder, the sound mixer for Chloé Zhao’s “Nomadland” and “The Rider,” has died by suicide. He was found by his father on March 1. Snyder was 35.

According to a Facebook post by his father David, who is a psychiatrist, Snyder had been suffering from depression for many years and was forced to deal with it alone for most of the past year because of the pandemic lockdown.

“Michael took his own life sometime in the last week and wasn’t discovered until I went to check on him Monday after he had dropped out of contact for several days,” David Snyder 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.

“In spite of this, we all believed he was doing well, and for most of this past year I think he was. He seemed especially joyful and invigorated in these last few months since he was able to return to work on several different film projects. He was certainly thrilled about all of the accolades for Nomadland and told us many happy stories about his work on the film and the amazing people he got to spend time with.”

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Frances McDormand, who starred in the Golden Globe-winning drama, said in a statement: “Wolf recorded our heart beats. Our every breath. For me, he is ‘Nomadland.'”

Zhao, who first worked with Snyder on her 2017 feature “The Rider,” said that she always looked towards Snyder after each take because he was “my ears” on her films. “He would nod at me with a happy grin, or tears in his eyes, or sometimes he would discreetly signal ‘one more,'” Zhao said. “During ‘The Rider,’ Wolf suggested an idea we later took onto ‘Nomadland’ — recording room tones longer than we need as a chance to experience silence. After hustling on each location, we sat together, in silence, tuned in, listened and honored the world around us and each other. I will always miss him. He would always be with me on set, after each take, and in the silence of every room tone. See you down the road, my friend.”

Snyder’s other credits include the 2011 thriller “Occupant” (as a boom operator), “Best Medicine,” “Home Sweet Home,” “All of Her” and Amazon’s “Good Omens.”

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David’s entire Facebook post can be read below:

“Hello again. I am David Snyder, Michael Wolf Snyder’s father. His mother, brother, and I are so touched by the outpouring of love and support that we have seen on Facebook. We have always known how much Wolf loved his work in film; it was the brightest spot in his life. We had no idea how many people he had touched and how many held him in such high regard. I would like to share a little bit more about what happened in the hope that it could help others.

Michael took his own life sometime in the last week and wasn’t discovered until I went to check on him Monday after he had dropped out of contact for several days. 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. In spite of this, we all believed he was doing well, and for most of this past year I think he was. He seemed especially joyful and invigorated in these last few months since he was able to return to work on several different film projects. He was certainly thrilled about all of the accolades for Nomadland and told us many happy stories about his work on the film and the amazing people he got to spend time with.

Unfortunately, we believe he was gone before getting to see the Golden Globe awards.

We will never know what changed in the last month or two, but even his love for his family, as well as his love of film and his movie family, was not enough to conquer his demons. People have asked if his death was Covid related. I think we can assume that it played a role in the form of increased isolation and loneliness, but it was certainly more than that. Major Depression is a severe disease, causing people to suffer dark feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, and worthlessness, convinced that nothing can help them. And this is not a rare condition, affecting at least 15% of all of us at some time in our lives. In this day and age, it is nothing to be ashamed of, and there many successful therapies available.

I am a psychiatrist who was not able to save his own son, partly because he would not share the depth of his pain. But I know that most people with this condition will recover with the proper help and support. I hope that the shocking nature of Michael’s death will alert others to speak up, risk being vulnerable, and seek the help that they need. It is such a tragic waste that a temporary heightening of despair can end a life with so much promise.

Thank you all so much for sharing the love and respect you had for Wolf. It has helped us more than we can say.”

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255) is a free, 24/7 confidential service that can provide people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress, or those around them, with support, information and local resources.

Read original story Michael Wolf Snyder, ‘Nomadland’ Sound Mixer, Dies at 35 At TheWrap