Archive for the 'filmmaking' Category

Hotel Chevalier: A New Era of Promotion.

September 26, 2007

 Hotel Chevalier

Wes Anderson’s new feature film, The Darjeeling Limited, is opening in theaters in a couple of weeks. In anticipation, Hotel Chevalier, a 13 minute prelude starring Jason Schwartzman and Natalie Portman, has been released onto iTunes for all to enjoy.

Previously, Hotel Chevalier was being screened with The Darjeeling Limited as it played film festivals. It has now been released for free on the web only through iTunes. It may mark the first time that a potential opening scene has been aired on the internet before a big screen.

Wes Anderson, shot the film using his own money and only later decided to incorporate one of the characters into The Darjeeling Limited. Hotel Chevalier is the backstory of one of Darjeeling’s main characters played by Jason Schwartzman.

It’ll be interesting to see just how much attetion Hotel Chevalier gets in the next couple of weeks. Given that it includes Natalie Portman’s first nude scene, it will probably help to expose an incredible amount of people to the characters in Darjeeling before the release. Let’s see if Wes Anderson has found a new way to bolster his opening weekend numbers. It’ll be fascinating either way!
Watch Hotel Chevalier,  the trailer for The Darjeeling Limited and checkout the official site.
– Chris


Video:Why Man Creates

July 20, 2007

Apparently Saul Bass, the incredible title animator, created quite a great short film about why humans need to create things called “Why Man Creates.” Bass and his wife co-directed the 30 minute film, which won an Oscar in 1968.

The whole piece is not online, but a 5 minute segment is available for your consumption:

To see the full piece you’ll need to purchase a DVD.

I love the style of animation and the playful feel that the Bass team brought to the piece. It’s animation for animation’s sake, what better way to talk about creativity could there be?

– chris

(via the Unbeige Team)

The Graphics of Transformers

July 18, 2007

A note from abroad: Popular Mechanics has a phenomenal article on the special effects used in Transformers. The article features some great insight into the process ILM uses: the way the animators conceptualize scenes, meeting the demands of Michael Bay and working from finished pose to compact car.

It’s always nice to see a glimpse into the relationship between a director and his crew, and the ILM team provides some interesting insights into Bay’s needs. You may not be directing a $150 Million flick in the near future, but it’s probably worth taking the notes anyway.

Check out the article.

– chris


July 10, 2007

1-18-08 1
It’s not often that I mention trailers here because so few break away from the normal format. But after watching the trailer for 1-18-08, JJ Abrams new film, I’ve gotta say this is something different.
1-18-08 2
1-18-08 is not only the title, but the release date and the from the looks of things, the day the movie’s timeline begins. If the movie is told in Aristotelian format, as the trailer and release date imply, I think that it’s going to be an innovative take on a Godzilla-esque / Day After Tomorrow-type disaster film. This one is going to rock.

Watch this trailer in HD for the full effect!

– chris

(via Coudal)

The Wholphin Quarterly DVD Issue #1

July 2, 2007

Wholphin Logo 2

This weekend I started watching the first issue of Wholphin, McSweeney’s quarterly DVD magazine. The Wholphin team compiles an array of interesting, rare and quirky short films which are sent straight to your door in glossy DVD format.

McSweeney’s note on the name:

What, you may ask, is a Wholphin?! Photographic evidence can be found languishing in the nooks and crannies of the internet, but those too busy to visit Google for the 28th time today can trust us that it’s the lovechild of a bottlenose dolphin and a false killer whale. A beautiful hybrid born of invention and exploration.

I’ll save you the trip to google.
The first issue has some amazing work on it. In fact, when putting together my highlights I realized that I was going to name almost all the films. Instead I’ll point out a few gems for now and you can grab out the DVD for more.

The Al Gore Documentary directed by Spike Jonze.

This doc, produced at the beginning of Gore’s 2000 presidential run, may have changed the world we know today if it had been released. It would have shattered the impression that people had of the ‘stone-like’ Al Gore. It was shot in one day, entirely by Mr. Jonze.

Are You the Favorite Person of Anybody?

Directed by Miguel Arteta on a budget of less than $150, this is a short but poignant film questions our place in life. It was written by Miranda July and filmed in a weekend. Watch it.

Grab the DVD to enjoy all the other great films. I’ll report in on the later issues at another date.

– chris

The Reels of Digital Domain

June 29, 2007

Digital Domain Saving Private Ryan 2

Ever wondered what the raw footage looks like on some of Hollywood’s biggest hits? Prepare yourself to be awed as you watch some incredible reels for Digital Domain, a top tiered effects house that has worked on over 60 films.

Digital Domain Day After Tomorrow

Their reels highlight a wide array of cgi animation done for characters, vehicles and natural phenomenons featured in some of Hollywood’s biggest film. All of them are stunning and insightful.

Digital Domain Saving Private Ryan 1

I found their environmental reel to be exceptionally mesmerizing. It’ll give you a new appreciation for the power of good effects.

Start at Digital Domains official site or skip to the reels if you just can’t wait.

– chris

(via Netdiver)

Nokia’s Phone Film Festival

June 25, 2007


On Saturday, Nokia’s Young Creatives Competition: Film, wrapped up at the International Advertising Festival in Cannes, France. Teams were asked to shoot a 30 second commercial that makes environmentally sustainable lifestyle sexy.

The winning team was the Italian’s, with a simple concept and a nice slogan, “Take a Shower. It will make you feel cleaner. ” They took advantage of their surroundings and succeeded in capturing the traditional feel of the beaches on the French Riviera, reminding us that sustainability is important everywhere.

There is a ton of content on Youtube featuring, the competition entries, interviews with many of the filmmakers and some of the qualifying submissions for the competition. I found this American submission to be particularly impressive.

Head to NewTeeVee for more details, the competition’s YouTube channel and their official site.

– chris

– (via NewTeeVee)

Ratatouille’s Attention to Detail

June 13, 2007


The New York Times has an interesting article about the research done for Pixar’s summer film, Ratatouille. Apparently a number of the Ratatouille crew went to France to eat and cook in some of the best Parisian restaurants.  Brad Lewis, one of Ratatouille’s producers said that “…[the restaurant staff] had recorded that one woman took 10 minutes between her first sip of white Burgundy and her second,” he said. “So they concluded that the wine was too cold and were going to adjust accordingly.”

The article also touches on the importance of anti-realism when it comes to computer rendered food.

“We didn’t want something to look really photo-real,” said Sharon Calahan, the director of photography and lighting. “If it starts looking too real, it starts getting pretty disturbing.”

It’s intriguing that so much attention is paid to the details of the environment, so that the crew can create a realistic film about a rat, who is a cooking god. Well from the looks of things, they’ve sold me. Be sure and check out the first 9 minutes of the film to see their details in action.

Here is the NYTimes article and of course, Ratatouille’s official site.

– chris

Advertainment: Absolut’s Protest

June 12, 2007


Absolut has a touching new ad showcasing the effects of their product. As with many alcohol commercials, no one is actually drinking, but as always they are having fun time anyway. In this case protesters and police engage in a large pillow fight.


The post production was done by impressive bi-continental unit The Mill.

Watch this ad right now!

– chris

(via Fubiz)

Coffee and Celluloid: Documenting Film School

June 12, 2007


Have you ever wondered what film school is like? Not to worry, Joey a student at FSU film school and the writer of Coffee and Celluloid has done a great job of reporting on his experiences.

I’ve been following Coffee and Celluloid for a few weeks and Joey, or C47 as he likes to be called, has done a great job of explaining the ins and outs of making a film that aren’t often talked about outside of the film community.

I’m excited for when Joey starts to show off some of the shorts that he’s been working on and blogging about. I have a feeling that cataloging his process will be invaluable, when he wants to better understand how his process helped to shape the final product.

Check out Coffee and Celluloid now!

– chris