Monday, November 13, 2017

Motion Picture Sound Editors to Honor John Paul Fasal with Career Achievement Award

2018 MPSE Golden Reel Awards Slated for February 18th

Studio City, California – The Motion Picture Sound Editors (MPSE) today announces that it will present Sound Designer and Sound Recordist John Paul Fasal with its 2018 MPSE Career Achievement Award. A 30-year veteran of the sound industry, Fasal has contributed to more than 150 motion pictures and is best known for his groundbreaking work in field recording. Among his many credits are Top Gun, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, Interstellar, The Dark Knight, American Sniper and this year’s box office hit Dunkirk. Fasal will receive his award at the MPSE Golden Reel Awards ceremony, February 18th, 2018 in Los Angeles.

“John is a master of his craft, an innovator who has pioneered many new recording techniques, and a restless, creative spirit who will stop at nothing to capture the next great sound,” said MPSE President Tom McCarthy. “He is also an exceptional professional who enjoys the esteem of his colleagues in the sound world and filmmakers worldwide. We take pride in presenting him with this unique honor.”

The MPSE Career Achievement Award recognizes sound artists who have distinguished themselves by meritorious works as both an individual and fellow contributor to the art of sound for feature film, television and gaming and for setting an example of excellence for others to follow. Fasal joins a distinguished list of sound innovators, including 2017 Career Achievement Recipient Harry Cohen, Richard King, John Roesch, Skip Lievsay, Randy Thom, Larry Singer, Walter Murch and George Watters II.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Anti-Piracy Tools Help Hollywood Sustain Its Love Affair with DVD Screeners

Los Angeles—For most of the country, the arrival of fall means cooler temperatures and leaves turning colors, but in Hollywood, it marks the official start of awards season and with it the annual deluge of Academy screeners.
An Oscar nomination, or better yet, a win, can have a big impact on a film’s box office performance and so studios are keen to ensure their films are seen by the right people, including Academy and guild members, movie critics and awards show journalists. Exposure is especially important for films that haven’t been widely released but are expected to be prime contenders at the Academy Awards, BAFTA, Golden Globes and other major awards competitions. To generate support for those titles, studios may host special screenings or make films available for viewing online through private streaming outlets. But the most popular way to get pre-released films into the hands of award competition voters is via screeners, individual DVD copies of films sent directly to their homes.
Despite their pervasive use, DVD screeners are controversial. While they come with stern warnings against sharing or tampering with the discs, screeners have in the past been blamed as sources of piracy. When in 2016, pirated copies of best picture nominees turned up on file-sharing sites it led to renewed calls for digital screeners.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Rising Sun Pictures Hammers Out Visual Effects for Marvel Studios’ Thor: Ragnarok

Studio takes the lead in slow-motion battle scene; recently expanded character animation department creates photo-real warriors, horses and digital characters.

Adelaide, South Australia—Rising Sun Pictures (RSP), Australia’s premiere visual effects studio, produced more than 170 final visual effects shots for Thor: Ragnarok¸ the new film from Marvel Studios. Working under the supervision of Director Taika Waititi, production Visual Effects Supervisor Jake Morrison and production Visual Effects Producer Cyndi Ochs, RSP’s team spent more than 18 months helping to craft some of the film’s most memorable, creative and technically challenging scenes.
Highlights of RSP’s contributions include a sequence dubbed “Val’s Flashback” involving a furious battle between the film’s villain, Hela (Cate Blanchett), and an army of Valkyrie. The team also played a key role in “The Palace Battle”, an epic confrontation between Hela and Thor (Chris Hemsworth), and in reimagining the Bifröst Bridge, a magical rainbow that links realms of the Norse cosmos. The project is especially noteworthy for the standout work of RSP’s expanded character animation department, who were tasked with creating photo-real horses, Valkyrie and skeleton soldiers, as well as other digital characters.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Ky Dickens’ “Zero Weeks” Tackles America’s Crisis with Paid Leave

Feature documentary to screen at DOC NYC, November 11th.

CHICAGO— The United States is the only country in the developed world that does not guarantee its citizens paid family leave. In the new documentary Zero Weeks, which premiers November 11 at DOC NYC in New York City, director Ky Dickens explores the impact of that policy on families dealing with the birth of a child, a medical crisis or an aging parent.  For many Americans, especially those with low incomes, it comes down to a choice between keeping a job and caring for someone they love.

Dickens, who directs advertising projects through STORY, explores the issue of paid leave through personal stories and expert testimony. We meet a young woman who, following the birth of a child, loses her job at a daycare center and ends up on food stamps. Another woman, battling cancer, receives chemotherapy treatments on her lunch break to avoid missing work.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Yard Dog Signs Director Brent Jones

LOS ANGELES— Director Brent Jones has joined Los Angeles-based Yard Dog, led by executive producers Joe Piccirillo and Beth Pearson, for work in commercials, branded content and web media. Bringing a diverse reel and more than ten years of directing experience to his new home. Jones is perhaps best known for high-energy automotive spots, but his work also extends to performance-driven storytelling and humor, with credits including WeatherTech, DiGiorno Pizza, FedEx, Monster, and Subway.
Brent Jones
Jones has already completed his first project with Yard Dog, a spot for a major car brand that featured a half-dozen former Heisman Trophy winners and an elaborate production mimicking a reality TV competition. “Brent’s range of work and ability to direct actors, celebrities, real people, and manage complex productions makes him a great addition to Yard Dog,” said Beth Pearson. “Both Joe and I have worked with Brent before and know what he can do. We’re excited to be part of the next phase in his career.”

Renegade Animation Expands Original Programming; Taps Brittney Jorgensen to Head Development

Animation studio has 12 series in development pipeline.
GLENDALE, Calif.— Continuing to grow its original programming unit, Renegade Animation has promoted Brittney Jorgensen to the newly-created post of Head of Marketing and Development. Jorgensen will work with creators, writers and animators in developing concepts for animated television series and features, and serve as the studio’s chief liaison with studios, broadcasters and streaming services. The independent animation studio currently has 12 animated series in development, targeting demographics from pre-school through teenagers.

Demand for quality, animated content is strong, according to Renegade Animation Creative Director Darrell Van Citters. “We are very excited about the projects currently in our pipeline,” he said. “With the growth in television and streaming production, now is the right time to focus attention on original programming.”

Brittney Jorgensen
“Brittany is the perfect choice to spearhead our development effort,” adds Executive Producer Ashley Postlewaite. “She has a strong background in animation and adds insight and passion to our team.”

Jorgensen, who joined Renegade in 2012 on the production side, also recently served as production manager on Being by Yourself, an animated short for the Imaginary Friend Society designed to help children with cancer cope with hospitalization. Previously, she was a production manager at Bento Box Entertainment. She also served in a production role at Disney Animation on TRON: Uprising.

Renegade Animation has longtime relationships with the top animation writers and artists in Hollywood, and is unique in having the resources to take shows from concept through delivery in-house.  “We love to be involved from the very beginning,” she says. “Talent may come to us with a script, a storyboard, a show bible, or just the germ of an idea. We work with creators to develop ideas so that they conform to our style and fit market demand.”

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Motion Picture Sound Editors to Honor Kathryn Bigelow with Filmmaker Award

2018 MPSE Golden Reel Awards Slated for February 18th 

Studio City, California –  The Motion Picture Sound Editors (MPSE) today announces that it will honor Kathryn Bigelow with its annual Filmmaker Award. The director of such films as DetroitZero Dark Thirty and The Hurt Locker, is being recognized for her outstanding contributions to the art of cinema. She will receive the award at the MPSE Golden Reel Awards ceremony February 18th in Los Angeles.

A trailblazing filmmaker whose work is noteworthy for its emotional depth, arresting visuals and stunning action, Bigelow is the only woman to win an Academy Award for Best Director (in 2010 for The Hurt Locker). “Kathryn Bigelow’s films have that rare quality of challenging our preconceptions by moving us and creating moments of powerful empathy,” said MPSE President Tom McCarthy. “She is a true artist. We are extremely proud to recognize her tireless contributions to our industry and culture with our Filmmaker Award.”

Kathryn Bigelow
Past recipients of the MPSE Filmmaker Award include Guillermo del Toro, Sam Raimi, Darren Aronofsky, George Lucas, Ang Lee, Michael Bay, Steven Spielberg, Clint Eastwood, Brian Grazer and Gale Anne Hurd.

“Collaboration with the sound editor is a gratifying and inspiring time in the post process,” said Bigelow. “It is the moment that the film wraps itself around you, revealing its final form. I am honored to receive this award from my colleagues in sound editing.”

Originally intent on a fine arts career, Bigelow studied painting at the San Francisco Art Institute. She later became interested in filmmaking and received a scholarship to Columba University's graduate film school. Her debut as a feature director came in 1982 with the drama The Loveless (co-written and co-directed by Monty Montgomery). That was followed by the features Near Dark (1987), Blue Steel (1989), Point Break (1991), Strange Days (1995), The Weight of Water (2000) and K-9: The Widowmaker, as well as several television projects.