14 June 2024 The Irish Film & Television Network
IFTA Q&A Series: Aza Hand on Sound Design
28 Apr 2023 : Luke Shanahan
Aza Hand
To mark the 20th anniversary of the IFTA awards, we are showcasing Irish talent who are blazing a trail across our industry, working in front of and behind the camera.

Hosted in association with IFTA, this Q&A Series connects with Irish talent who represent a range of disciplines across our industry. 

We find out what they look out for in the projects they take on, what their approach is to filmmaking and collaboration; what inspires them; and what recent work in the industry they most admire.

Two-time IFTA winner Aza Hand is nominated for Best Sound for The Sparrow. In 2021, Hand became the first person ever to be nominated in both the Best Sound and Best Score categories at the IFTAs. Hand has worked on a variety of Irish and international projects including Game of Thrones, Son, The Canal, Without Name, The Ghost of Richard Harris, Tarrac, The Other Lamb, and Dark Lies The Island. He is the Head of Sound at EGG Post Production.

IFTN: IFTA celebrates 20 years this year. How does this significant milestone reflect the growth and strengthening of the Irish film industry over the past two decades?

AZA: “This milestone marks what I believe is just the beginning of a golden era for film production. My wish would be to see bigger Irish and international projects start to post here too and take advantage of our world class sound and picture post talent and facilities.”

IFTN: Tell me about your experience working on this project, and your favourite moment during post-production?

AZA: “It was an incredible experience working on The Sparrow. Director Michael Kinirons and producer Alicia Ni Ghrainne are really lovely people and very talented filmmakers. My favourite moment was the final mix and seeing how happy the director was seeing the film come to life with sound.”

IFTN: How do you approach creating a unique soundscape for a project?

AZA: “I first try to let the film tell me what to do and then interpret the director's needs and wishes. The uniqueness will always come from something in the fabric of the story.”

IFTN: How did you first get into sound design professionally, and what have you learned through your experiences that would be of use to aspiring sound designers?

AZA: “I started on set first as a sound assistant, quickly moving to Ardmore sound post. My first real break came from getting the opportunity to work with Patrick Drummond, an American sound designer with vast experience of the industry. He taught me so much and we both went on to head up the sound department in Egg post for 10 years. I’m currently working freelance and as an addition to my sound work have also composed music for film which is another love and passion of mine.”

IFTN: How much of the foley was tailor-made for this project?

AZA: “All the Foley was tailor-made for the film. This was performed by Foley artist Eoin Mc Donnell of Coconut sound who is amazing.”

IFTN: Is there one thing about your craft that you would like the public to be more aware of?

AZA: “That this craft is the secret weapon of film making and the best value for money for increasing value and depth to your production.”

IFTN: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given in your career?

AZA: “Can’t think of advice but I will say that positive encouragement is what we can give to each other, and is the most valuable thing we have in the creative arts and crafts.”

The 20th anniversary of the IFTA Awards Ceremony will take place on Sunday, May 7th.

Bloomsday Film Fest: Director Martin Turk and Line Producer Jeremiah Cullinane discuss Kino Volta
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