Todd Boekelheide started working in film in 1974 at American Zoetrope, Francis Ford Coppola’s production company in San Francisco. He left Zoetrope in 1976 to go freelance, as an apprentice and then assistant picture editor on Star Wars. On his next film, The Black Stallion, he edited picture and sound, and found himself fascinated with the possibility of writing music for films. Having a love of world music and the more offbeat musical scores that were blossoming in films of the time, he chose Mills College to further his music education. At Mills, along with traditional harmony and counterpoint, he studied Indian raga singing with Terry Riley, jazz with Blue "Gene" Tyranny, and played in Lou Harrison's Javanese gamelan.
He began scoring short films, then 1981 found him working with Carroll Ballard again, this time on Never Cry Wolf. Carroll chose Mark Isham to score it, his first film. Todd produced the score and then mixed the film, which earned him an Oscar nomination in 1983. He continued working as a rerecording mixer for a number of years as his scoring career began to develop, mixing a number of high-profile films that sought out the high-end sound work the Bay Area was famous for. His work on Amadeus brought him an Oscar in 1984.
The next 15 years amounted to a long crossfade, with progressively less time devoted to mixing as the scoring work became his main focus. His score for Kids of Survival: The Life and Art of Tim Rollins and the KOS earned him an Emmy in 1999, and more Emmy nominations followed, in 2007 for Boffo! Tinseltown's Bombs and Blockbusters, in 2010 for Blessed is the Match, and again in 2017 for Symphony of the Soil. The scoring work continues apace, with recent credits including 3½ Minutes, Ten Bullets with director Marc Silver, Paper Tigers with director James Redford, and Adios Amor with director Laurie Coyle.
Todd is a member of both the film and television Academies, and since 2012 he has regularly served as an advisor for the Sundance Documentary Music and Sound Design Lab, currently held every year at Skywalker Sound. It's been a privilege to work with the Sundance organization, and help budding film composers and filmmakers find the best in themselves.
Todd lives in Berkeley, California, with his wife Jen Bradwell, who is a film editor, and their two children.