Motion Picture Editors Guild to honor Re-recording Mixer Donald O. Mitchell

August 19, 2013 11:18pm

The Motion Picture Editors Guild (MPEG) will honor veteran sound re-recording mixer Donald O. Mitchell with its prestigious Fellowship and Service Award on October 5, 2013, at the Sheraton Universal Hotel. The Fellowship and Service Award was established seven years ago by the Guild to recognize an individual who embodies the values that the Guild holds most dear: Professionalism, Collaboration, Mentorship, Generosity of Spirit and a Commitment to the Labor Movement. The ceremony will be held at a sit down dinner on October 5, 2013 at the Sheraton Universal Hotel in Universal City, California.

“Don Mitchell's career as a re-recording mixer spans more than 40 years. During this time he has consistently exemplified the qualities that this award has been created to recognize,” said MPEG Board President John Trask. “By his example he has inspired present and future sound personnel, contributing a legacy to our craft that will last well into the future.”

Previous recipients of this distinguished honor include Donn Cambern, A.C.E.; Dede Allen, A.C.E.; IATSE International President Emeritus Thomas C. Short; Carol Littleton, A.C.E.; and Don Hall, MPSE.


Veteran re-recording mixer Donald O. Mitchell began his four-and-a-half decade career in the film and TV industry at 20th Century Fox as a draughtsman in 1955. Moving into the sound department he loaded mag dubbers, handled recording duties and performed some engineering functions. One day, his boss told him, “You’re mixing dialogue today.” And that was the beginning of his career in sound.

His first film at Fox, The Paper Chase, garnered him his first of 14 nominations from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (AMPAS). Mitchell’s resume contains 120 films that span a career as a re-recording mixer that began in 1973 and ended in 1998, the year of his retirement. In 1989, he won the Academy Award with fellow mixers Gregg Rudloff and Elliott Tyson for Best Sound for Edward Zwick’s Glory. He has also been nominated 13 more times in the same category for The Paper Chase (1973), Silver Streak (1976), Raging Bull (1980), Terms of Endearment (1983), Silverado (1985), A Chorus Line (1985), Top Gun (1986), Black Rain (1989), Days of Thunder (1990), Under Siege (1992), The Fugitive (1993), Clear and Present Danger (1994) and Batman Forever (1995). Mitchell’s work on The Fugitive also earned him a BAFTA Award for Sound from the British Academy of Film & Television Arts and a CAS Award for Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for a Feature Film from the Cinema Audio Society.

As a re-recording mixer, Mitchell was a member of IATSE Local 695, the Sound Technicians local. Less than a year before his retirement in November 1998, he and his fellow post-production mixers in 695 were brought into the Editors Guild, on January 1, 1998. An active member of the AMPAS Sound Branch Executive Committee for a number of years, Mitchell served three terms on its Board of Governors and, with sound editor Kay Rose, he successfully advocated to keep the Sound Editing and Mixing awards as part of the televised Academy Awards when there was a proposal to move them to the non-televised Scientific and Technical Awards ceremony.

Mitchell, an avid sailor, is enjoying his retirement and his 50-foot fiberglass-bodied boat, the Orion, which he built in his backyard in the San Fernando Valley during his spare time over a period of 20 years.


The Motion Picture Editors Guild (MPEG) is a national labor organization currently representing over 7,200 freelance and staff post-production professionals. MPEG is the world's premiere craft Guild that sets the standards for excellence in the post-production industry. The requirements to become a member of the Guild and to be placed on its Industry Experience Roster ensure the highest level of professionalism.