Michael Wolf Snyder, the production sound mixer on one of the year’s most acclaimed films, Nomadland, recently passed away at the age of 35 by way of suicide. He was found in his apartment by his father David Snyder March 1 after friends and family hadn’t heard from him in days. David posted the news to his Facebook on March 4.
“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,” the post reads. “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.”
Wolf began his career as a boom operator on Henry Miller’s 2011 thriller, Occupant and also worked on amazon’s series Good Omens. He had also worked with Nomadland director Chloé Zhao before on her film The Rider. She spoke on what it was like to work with him.
“I always looked at Wolf after each take,” Zhao said. “I didn’t wear headphones on set and so I heavily relied on Wolf to be my ears. He would nod at me with a happy grin, or tears in his eyes, or sometimes he would discreetly signal ‘one more.’ 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.”
Nomadland’s star Frances McDormand also commented on Wolf’s passing: “Wolf recorded our heart beats. Our every breath. For me, he is Nomadland.’”