New York, NY (July 20, 2004)–Wonderland Sound’s John Wiggins reunited with Black Canyon Productions and HBO Sports to create the sound design for the documentary Hitler’s Pawn, slated to air in July on HBO, just weeks before the start of the 2004 summer games in Athens.
“I was four-fifths of the way through the documentary when I decided a piece was missing, and that piece was John Wiggins,” said multi-Emmy Award winning producer/director George Roy of Black Canyon Productions, the documentary and longform unit of Clear Channel Entertainment Television. “John and I have worked together for almost 20 years, and I knew this project was right for him. Hitler’s Pawn is like a mini-movie, and we needed a sort of Foley score that would resonate in a subtle way.”
Hitler’s Pawn is the story of young Jewish athlete Gretel Bergmann, a Gold Medal contender in the high jump, who was used as a pawn by Hitler in his strategy to secure American participation in the Olympics in the face of a possible boycott.
Wiggins painted a complex soundscape, spending 45 hours layering and editing 24 tracks of sound on Pro Tools to craft very realistic-sounding scenes for the 58-minute program. “I had a lot of license to develop sounds for the dramatic sequences,” he explained. He tapped Wonderland Sound’s extensive sound effects libraries, but “there were clearly scenes that needed custom sound effects so I recorded my wife and youngest son in our backyard for some of the sounds of Gretel’s childhood and her early attempts at high jumping, as well as songbirds. I introduced the suggestion of a crow whenever someone talks about Hitler and a subtle bird chirp whenever someone mentions Gretel.”