Tag Archives: Movie Making

A ‘Monster’ Talk with The Frankenstein Complex Filmmakers & Its Release, and Interview

3 Aug

Gilles Penso – Movies, Bio and Lists on MUBI

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Since the early days of Hollywood becoming the hub of movie-making to now, the approaches to making monsters come alive often required experimenting. The first creature creations were Dracula and Frankenstein. However, historians know Georges Méliès The Haunted Castle (1897) had skeletons dancing about. It wasn’t until Thomas Edison‘s 1910 short film, Frankenstein’s Monster, that gave Americans a taste of what cinematics can offer! Lon Chaney‘s contributions in how to achieve the horrific only furthered the horror film genre in its infancy. He took extremes in his makeup design to become the Man of a Thousand Faces.

Much of this history is quickly explored in directors Gilles Penso and Alexandre Poncet documentary Creature Designers: The Frankenstein Complex, but it hurries to get to the masters from the 60s and onwards. Their passion is certainly very evident. But it should be noted It’s tough to pack a complete look of creation of monsters in cinema with a 107 min runtime. A lot of details like the why isn’t always delved into–that’s all saved for the blu-ray package which consists of two documentaries, many extended interviews and an interactive video, which is now available to purchase online (like Amazon USA).

Alexandre Poncet - UniFrance

The standalone documentary scratches the surface to what makes a monster appear magical on screen. The latest documentary on Phil Tippett shows why he’s so deserving of those Oscars he earned over the years. He’s also being honoured at Fantasia Fest 2021 as his stop-motion pièce de résistance film, Mad Gods, debuts!

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Going In Deep w Chad Ferrin on Lovecraft and One Filmmaker’s Vision…

21 Apr

Jeff-Billings-and-Chad-The-Deep-OnesBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

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Coming to DVD, Digital, Video On Demand, and Redbox Kiosks on June 15

Chad Ferrin‘s The Deep Ones will soon get a limited theatrical release in the United States beginning April 23rd and for fans of H.P. Lovecraft, the themes this film dives into are faithful to the ideas this seminal author conceived long ago. I spoke to this filmmaker, and he said he grew up watching the classics–namely The Twilight Zone, Hitchcock Presents and The Outer Limits. He studied theatre in college; the passion to make movies was a natural evolution and he knew the proverbial move to Los Angeles was required.

He was lucky to be connected. Mike Leahy of Phantoms and Pulse fame gave him his break, and when the call came, he was ready! Ferrin worked hard to get to where he is now. He’s been involved in every aspect of the movie making business, and he was everywhere. On the list includes working as a production assistant in Back to Back with Michael Rooker and being a “double” in No Way Back with Russell Crowe. He noted how his hands look similar to his, so he did it all–including becoming a fall guy (stunts). 

I’d have a smile and be wide-eyed every day. Knowing the right people will help you out down the road,” acknowledged Ferrin. His hands on learning showed him how other departments work. By the time he was ready to produce his own material and direct, he knew how to expertly manage everything. 

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Fantasia 2020 Helps New Filmmakers Navigate the Clapboard Jungle

25 Aug

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Playing at Fantasia Digital Film Festival 2020 On Demand till Sept 2. Buy your virtual ticket here.

For any aspiring filmmaker, Clapboard Jungle is a must watch. Breaking into the industry is tough and to get noticed is even harder. This documentary is just as much as an educational resource as well as a guide on what to expect for anyone wanting to dive right in!

Many talents ranging are interviewed revealing to you what’s needed to start and keep producing. Names not as familiar, like Jen Wexler have plenty to reveal in this industry. This work is not about how Guillermo del Toro and Lloyd Kaufman did it. We all know from printed works about how hard they worked to where they are. I’m impressed at seeing Richard Stanley (Colour out of Space), Tom Holland (Child’s Play) and Sam Firstenberg (Ninja 3: the Domination) give their discourse on the industry.

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Foley Artists are the Actors of Sound, A Documentary Review

20 Feb

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Coming to VOD and iTunes on Feb 27th.
Also continuing to play at select Film Festivals. Please check local listings.

Actors of Sound is a solid, insightful and fascinating documentary about one stage of the process which makes cinema come alive. Without it, the cute waddle we hear from E.T. the Extraterrestrial moving about would not be there. These days, part of the sound mix is created on the computer and fully assembled. Back in the golden age of cinema, the talents had to innovate. To come up these nuances with limited resources and splicing magnetic tape was a real thing! In the early days of cinema, the work was difficult. People were most likely recruited from radio since timing was important — and the history of this art can be traced to the pioneer of the craft, Jack Foley.

Other talents this full-length feature includes are John Roesch, the mastermind behind giving life to E.T., and Ross Taylor who led the work behind The Exorcist. Twenty-three talents from around the world were interviewed. Each of them offers their own unique perspectives on how this work is done in their native country. India is unique because of the extravagance some of their films are made. Back home in America, Kitty Malone became the first female Foley Artist to work in Hollywood. She did all the dancing we hear (not see) in Liza Minnelli’s movies. They were not recorded as the microphones were intent on catching the vocal tracks than ambience.

This feature is not about the secrets. Instead, it’s about the life and times of those dedicated to this craft. It also becomes part of the romance. Relationships emerged and having a connection to the actors in the film is just as important. A lot of these talents become the celebrity when recording the same footfall they make. These audio artists describe the work as a joy. This exploration shows people “playing in a sandbox and having fun” with it. They are essentially painting a picture with sound.

A gentle plot helps guides viewers to this visual thesis. The threat of going completely digital — using huge sound libraries to put in each sound we hear in a television show or film — to replace these talents is mentioned. An answer is given: the human element is important. The pros and cons are weighed in. Although the stance these talents reveal is obvious, hopefully a revolution can happen to keep this aspect of film/tv production ongoing.

5 Stars out of 5

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