Thursday, February 26, 2015

Director David Semel Brings Phillip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle to Amazon

Semel, who directs commercials through Accomplice Media, has a history of directing pilots that become hit television series.

Los Angeles— In his latest television outing, director David Semel engages in a frightening, but enthralling, game of “What if?”

Produced for Amazon by Ridley Scott and based on the award-winning Phillip K. Dick novel, The Man in the High Castle is an alternate history set in the aftermath of World War II, but in this telling, the Nazis and their Japanese allies were the victors. Semel directed the pilot, which is currently available through Amazon Prime’s instant video service.

Semel, who recently launched his career as a commercial director through Accomplice Media, is an acknowledged master of the exacting art of the television pilot. His past credits include the hits Person of Interest, Legends, Heroes and, most recently, Madam Secretary. He received Emmy nominations for House M.D. and Heroes.

David Semel

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Cartoni Celebrates 80 Years of World-Class Camera Support with Rebate Program

NORTH HOLLYWOODCartoni, the world leader is camera support, marks its 80th anniversary this year and it’s celebrating with a big savings across its product line through its “80 Years: 80+” Rebate Program.

For a limited time, Cartoni USA is offering rebates of $80 or more on a host of great products including its most popular heads, tripods and pedestals.

Rebates include:
  • ·    $80 for the Focus HD Systems for DSLR and 4k Cameras weighing from 0 to 26 lbs (0 to 12 kg)
  • ·    $100 for Laser Systems, a compact, lightweight fluid head built of magnesium and aluminum alloy for portable digital cameras weighing 12 - 25 lbs (6 - 12 kg).
  • ·    $160 for Gamma Systems, a fluid head designed for ENG configurations and small studio set-ups weighing 16 - 35 lbs (8 - 16 kg).
  • ·    $240 for the Delta designed for EFP and use with a small prompter.
  • ·    $375 to $ 2,625 on pedestals from the P20 to the P90.

For details of this and other rebates go to

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Simian Unveils Simian NOW!

New mobile app allows users to download and playback sales reels and other media using their iPhone or iPad.

Laguna Niguel, Calif.—Simian, the industry leader in creative workflow and evolutionary media management solutions, today announces the release of Simian NOW!, a new app that allows Simian users to download reels and other media assets to their iPhone or iPad for playback offline without an internet connection. Simian NOW!, available free through the Apple App Store, provides a simple and convenient way to store and playback media from wherever one happens to be, even when Internet and Wi-Fi service is unavailable.

“Now, Simian users will never have to worry about a lack of access to the internet preventing them from presenting their work,” says Simian COO Brian Atton. “Simian NOW! puts reel presentations locally on mobile devices, thus eliminating the need for a connection to present work. Media is available instantly from wherever you are.”

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Thayer Jester Named Vice President of Business Development at Stargate Studios

Pasadena, CA – Stargate Studios, the global, award-winning production company specializing in virtual production and visual effects, has announced that sales and marketing specialist Thayer Jester has joined the company as Vice President of Business Development. Ms. Jester's responsibilities will include developing new business opportunities and strategic relationships for Stargate in the North American Market.

"We are delighted to have Thayer join Stargate Studio’s executive team," said Sam Nicholson, founder and CEO of Stargate Studios. "Her sales and marketing expertise, combined with her comprehension of the studio and post production market dynamics, will further enhance and strengthen our presence as a global provider of award-winning VFX services.”
Thayer Jester
Jester has an extensive background in sales and marketing and a comprehensive understanding of the studio and post-production market.
Her 15-year career in the entertainment industry includes executive positions at Ascent Media Group and The Image Resolution where she was responsible for developing and securing new accounts with clients such as Walt Disney Pictures, Paramount, Columbia Tri-Star, Lionsgate Entertainment and NBC Universal.

PS Production Services Lights Up “Fifty Shades of Grey”

TORONTO—PS Production Services, a SIM Group company, provided lighting and grip equipment to the production of the new film Fifty Shades of Grey from director Sam Taylor-Johnson and Universal Pictures. The lighting and grip package included more than 100 fixtures supplied through PS’s facility in  Vancouver.

Fifty Shades of Grey was shot by veteran cinematographer Seamus McGarvey, ASC, BSC (The Avengers, Atonement, Godzilla). Principal photography was completed in Vancouver with the city’s Gastown District, the University of British Columbia and the Fairmont Hotel among the locations.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Sonzero Gets SuperPowers

LOS ANGELES—Director Jim Sonzero joins forces with SuperPowers NYC for representation in New York and the East Coast.

SuperPowers NYC’s Angelina Powers and KC Gulino’s focus will be on new East Coast advertising projects in fashion and beauty, where Sonzero has gained international acclaim, and other genres and product categories, including lifestyle, comedy and automotive.

Jim Sonzero

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Hula Post Production Provides Editing Gear for “Selma”

HOLLYWOOD— Hula Post Production provided editorial systems and support to Selma, the new film from Paramount Pictures, Pathé, and Harpo Films and director Ava DuVernay, chronicling the historic civil rights march led by Martin Luther King, Jr. in Alabama in 1965. The film, which stars David Oyelowo as King, is currently nominated for two Academy Awards: Best Picture and Best Original Song.

Hula Post Production initially supplied Avid Media Composer systems and Avid Unity shared storage to editor Spencer Averick and his crew while they were working on location in Atlanta, where principal photography for the film was completed. Later, Hula set up identical editorial facilities on the lot at Paramount Pictures in Hollywood. Hula provided round-the-clock technical support at both sites.

Treehouse Adds Motion Graphic Services; Hires Jeff Vick

DALLAS— Treehouse, the Dallas editorial boutique, has expanded its services through the hiring of motion graphics designer Jeff Vick and the addition of a new graphics design and production suite. The company will offer graphics both in tandem with editing and finishing, and as a standalone service.

Vick brings ten years of experience as a motion graphics designer for commercials, broadcast media and corporate media, most recently with Fast Cuts Edit, Dallas. His credits include work for H-E-B, Red Lobster and the Dallas Cowboys. He has already contributed to several projects for Treehouse, including a campaign for Home Depot and a spot for H-E-B that debuted during this year’s Super Bowl broadcast.

Treehouse founder, editor Peter Tarter, says that in-house graphics capabilities enables the company to provide advertising agencies with a well-rounded package of post production services and fulfill more of their creative needs. “This gives us one more way to deliver work that is better than the clients expect,” Tarter says. “Our new graphics capabilities will allow us to add an extra layer to a lot of projects.”

Jeff Vick

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A Life in Sound: MPSE 2015 Career Achievement Honoree Skip Lievsay

Studio City, California – This month, The Motion Picture Sound Editors (MPSE) will present Supervising Sound Editor Skip Lievsay with its annual Career Achievement Award. Lievsay joins a list of distinguished sound artists, including Larry Singer, Walter Murch, George Watters II and Randy Thom, who have been recognized with the organization’s top honor. The award will be presented at the MPSE Golden Reel Awards on February 15th in Los Angeles.

In a career spanning 30 years and more than 150 films, Lievsay has collaborated with such talented filmmakers as Joel and Ethan Coen, Martin Scorsese, Spike Lee and John Sayles. Among many other accolades, he won the 2014 Academy Award for Best Sound Mixing for his work on Gravity( sharing the award with Niv Adiri, Christopher Benstead and Chris Munro).

Lievsay’s recent projects include The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I, his fifth collaboration with director Francis Lawrence. He also worked with Lawrence on The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, the second film in the series, and will soon begin the sound editing process on the final episode, Mockingjay Part 2.

The key members of Lievsay’s sound team, sound designer Jeremy Peirson and supervising dialogue and ADR editor Thomas Jones have remained the same throughout the Hunger Games series (and across many other film projects) and they have attacked each film in a similar manner. Soon after production is complete, Peirson “embeds” himself with the picture editing team (led by editor Alan Edward Bell), and works alongside them, producing sound elements and preparing temp mixes as the picture takes shape.

Skip Lievsay

Director Richard de Aragüés Joins Original

LOS ANGELES— Richard de Aragüés,  one of the UK’s most dynamic, young commercial directors, has joined Original for exclusive representation in the United States. After beginning his career as a documentary filmmaker, Aragüés has built an impressive advertising career in Europe centering on automotive, sports and other types of action storytelling. His latest work includes a European campaign for Land Rover documenting a record-breaking crossing of the “Empty Quarter” in the Arabian Peninsula. Other credits include work for BMW, Nikon, Mercedes and Samsung. He is also the director of the acclaimed documentary TT3D: Closer to the Edge, about a motor sport race in the Isle of Wight.

“Richard is a creative and enormously talented storyteller,” says Original executive producer Bruce Mellon. “He’s directed amazing documentary work and the skills he developed in that arena have translated beautifully to advertising. We are thrilled to now represent Richard.”

Richard de Aragüés
For his part, Aragüés says that he has been interested in exploring the U.S. ad market and that the alliance with Original “came along at the perfect time.” “I’d like to do more work out of New York and Los Angeles,” he observes, “and Original offered me a great opportunity. I like what they are proposing and the way they plan to present my work to U.S. agencies.”

Aragüés began his career with award-winning documentary film producer Oxford Scientific Films. Going solo in 1999, he focused on the world of high speed motor spot, filming three seasons of Yamaha World Speedbike and Grand Prix teams, and title sequences for the Formula 1 and World Rally championships. He went onto direct a number of documentaries on formula one racing.

Criterion Collection Employs MTI Film’s DRS® Nova in 4K Restoration of Satyajit Ray’s “Apu Trilogy.”

HOLLYWOOD—The Apu Trilogy¸ considered the greatest work of Indian filmmaker Satyajit Ray, was recently the subject of a meticulous 4K restoration by the Criterion Collection in partnership with The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, aided by MTI Film’s industry-leading restoration software DRS® Nova. The newly-restored series, which includes the films Pather Panchali, Aparajito and Apur Sansar, will be released by the Criterion Collection for a theatrical run in May, followed by Blu-ray distribution later this year. 

Originally released between 1955 and 1959, The Apu Trilogy is Ray’s sweeping story of a boy, Apu, growing up in rural India during the early part of the 20th century. A milestone in neorealism, the films took top prizes at Cannes, London and Venice and are credited with establishing the new Indian cinema.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Modern VideoFilm Orchestrates Transatlantic Post Effort for “Grand Budapest Hotel”

Burbank Facility sets up remote grading facility in London to provide finishing services for Wes Anderson’s Oscar-nominated film.

BURBANK, Calif.— Finishing services for Fox Searchlight Pictures’ The Grand Budapest Hotel, currently nominated for nine Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director (Wes Anderson), were provided by Burbank-based Modern VideoFilm. The independent post-production facility performed film scanning, color grading, editorial conforming, visual effects and other services for the film, about the adventures of a concierge at a large hotel in Hungary, with post work spanning seven months and two continents. Modern also handled the production of theatrical and home entertainment deliverables.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Sound and the Films of MPSE Filmmaker Award Honoree Darren Aronofsky

Studio City, California – This month, The Motion Picture Sound Editors (MPSE) honor Darren Aronofsky with their annual Filmmaker Award. The award recognizes the director/writer/producer, whose work includes Noah, Black Swan, The Wrestler, The Fountain, Requiem for a Dream and π, as one of the most accomplished filmmakers of his generation and for his contributions to the industry as a whole. He will be presented with the award at the 62nd MPSE Golden Reel Awards, February 15, 2015 in Los Angeles.

Aronofsky is an apt choice for the MPSE’s highest honor. The director has been lauded as an innovative storyteller and a brilliant craftsman, meticulous in every detail, including his use of sound. His films feature soundtracks notable for a dense, visceral realism punctuated by moments of surrealism that illuminate the psychology of his characters.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Modern VideoFilm Executives to Speak at HPA Tech Retreat

DI Colorist Dave Cole will talk color grading, VP Greg Ciaccio will discuss color management; Chief Systems Engineer Sieg Heep will participate in a panel discussion on new delivery formats.

BURBANK, Calif.—
Three of Modern VideoFilm’s leading talents will share their views on emerging trends in post production at the Hollywood Post Alliance’s renowned HPA Tech Retreat, February 9th – 13th at the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells. Now in its 21st year, the Tech Retreat is a unique gathering of top creative, technical and business leaders working together to find solutions to the most compelling and complex issues facing the media and entertainment industry today.

Supervising DI Colorist Dave Cole will take part in a Super Session titled “Sensory Simulation.” Cole is a two-time HPA Award-winning colorist for his work on Ang Lee’s Life of Pi and the pilot for the CW television series Reign. His many other credits include the films TRON: Legacy, Pride and Glory, Alvin and the Chipmunks 1-3, The Ides of March, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and The Book of Life. His work in television includes Sleepy Hollow, Scorpion and Jane the Virgin.

Dave Cole, Greg Ciaccio, Sieg Heep

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Jon Johnson Joins Chainsaw As Executive Vice President of Sales

LOS ANGELES— Veteran post-production sales executive Jon Johnson has joined Chainsaw, a SIM Group company, as Executive Vice President of Sales. In his new role, Johnson will lead Chainsaw’s continued expansion into scripted television, working to bring in new projects and extend the post-production facility’s ties with studios, cable networks, streaming outlets, independent producers and other content providers.

“Jon is a consummate professional.  He is smart, experienced and serves his clients with great integrity,” said Chainsaw co-founder Bill DeRonde. “He is highly regarded throughout the television industry, and a wonderful addition to the Chainsaw family.”

Chainsaw has been a leader in unscripted television, awards shows and specials for more than 20 years. Its credits run the gamut from American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance  to The Academy Awards and The Kennedy Center Honors. Founders Bill DeRonde and Mike Polito have won a combined ten Emmy Awards for their work as television editors. The company continues to broaden its base into more scripted television and independent features.

Jon Johnson

Rising Sun Pictures Artists Win Two VES Awards for “X-Men: Days of Future Past”

Studio’s work on the film’s Quicksilver “Kitchen” scene also nominated for an Academy Award and a BAFTA Award.
Adelaide, South Australia—Rising Sun Pictures (RSP) artists were honoured with two awards last night at the 13th Annual Visual Effects Society Awards in Los Angeles. CG Supervisor Dennis Jones won the VES Award for Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in a Photoreal/Live Action Motion Media Project for work on the film X-Men: Days of Future Past. He shared the award with Previsualization Supervisor Austin Bonang, Virtual Production Supervisor Casey Schatz and Cinematographer Newton Thomas Sigel.

RSP Shot Supervisor Adam Paschke, FX Lead Premamurti Paetsch, Effects Artist Sam Hancock and Effects Technical Director Timmy Lundin won for Outstanding Effects Simulations in a Photoreal/Live Action Feature Motion Picture also for X-Men: Days of Future Past.

Terrence Malick’s “Knight of Cups” Finished at Modern VideoFilm

Colorist Bryan McMahan applies 4K grade to film set to debut at Berlin International Film Festival.

BURBANK, Calif.—Modern VideoFilm recently provided digital intermediate color grading and finishing services for Director Terrence Malick’s Knight of Cups. The new film, whose large, all-star cast includes Christian Bale, Natalie Portman and Cate Blanchett, will make its world premiere on February 8th at the 65th Berlin International Film Festival.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

A Common Thread Teams with David&Goliath for 2015 KIA Launch

Los Angeles production company, A Common Thread, and director/cinematographer Jordan Valenti deliver running footage package and commercial.
LOS ANGELES—A Common Thread has produced a running footage package for Kia Motors of America and Los Angeles advertising agency David&Goliath to help launch the automaker’s 2015 line. Director/cinematographer Jordan Valenti  captured driving footage  of the Kia Cadenza, Optima, Sorento, K900 and other model vehicles in a variety of urban, suburban and rural settings. The material will be used in national and regional ad campaigns, on the web, in showrooms and other outlets throughout the model year.
Valenti used an Edge camera car system as well as other state-of-the-art rigs, cranes and heads to capture dynamic views of the Kia cars’ performance. Smaller cameras and specialty rigs were employed to record unusual and idiosyncratic details. “Our approach is to choose locations and design shots that express the personality of each individual car,” Valenti says. “We deliver a lot of textures, a palette of footage that can be combined and applied in many ways.”

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

AKA NYC Hires Kevin Bradley as Cultural Business Supervisor

Former Sotheby’s marketing executive seeks to expand the agency’s reach among art museums, performing arts organizations, non-profits and other cultural groups.

NEW YORK—Kevin Bradley has joined entertainment advertising and marketing agency AKA NYC as Cultural Business Supervisor. Bradley brings more than 15 years of experience in marketing for arts organizations and non-profits, including leadership roles with Sotheby’s, Washington DC’s Signature Theatre and Momentum Worldwide. In his new role, Bradley will focus on developing relationships with performing arts groups, museums and other cultural organizations nationwide.

Bradley’s arrival is part of AKA NYC’s broader effort to diversify beyond its core business in marketing for Broadway shows and other live events. Managing Partner Scott Moore says that the firm’s innovative “360 strategy,” an integrated package of advertising, marketing, partnerships, interactive, research and campaign management, can benefit a range of organizations and brands.

Kevin Bradley

Monday, February 2, 2015

STORY’s Blair Hayes Celebrates Weekend Getaways for Hilton Garden Inn

CHICAGO—STORY director Blair Hayes encourages weekend travelers to “connect,” “stroll,” “smile,” “cheer” and “celebrate” in an upbeat new campaign for Hilton Garden Inn and California agency DGWB.

The 15- and 30-second television spots portray the upscale hotels as a great venue for people seeking to getaway, take in the local sites and have fun. Couples and friends are shown relaxing, dining, shopping, sharing a glass of wine and partying in a club. Superimposed graphics underscore the mood. “We staged scenes ranging from sorority sisters enjoying their 15th reunion to a middle aged couple on a romantic weekend,” says Hayes. “It’s experiential, a slightly heightened reality.”

Lurssen Mastering, at Hollywood Center Studios, Earns Grammy Nomination

Multi-Grammy Winner Gavin Lurssen nominated for Lee Ann Womack’s new album.

Hollywood—February 5, 2015—Gavin Lurssen, mastering engineer and founder of Lurssen Mastering, located on the lot at Hollywood Center Studios, has been nominated for a Grammy Award for his work on the Lee Ann Womack album The Way I’m Livin’.  The nomination, which Lurssen shares with recording engineer Chuck Ainlay, is for Best Engineered Album, Non Classical. Winners will be announced on February 8.

Lurssen is a three-time Grammy Award as well as a Latin Grammy Award winner. He won his first award in 2002 for Album of the Year for the soundtrack to O Brother, Where Art Thou? In 2004, he won for Best Historical Album for Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues: A Musical Journey; and in 2009 for Album of the Year for the Robert Plant/Alison Krauss album Raising Sand. He won a Latin Grammy Award for Best Engineered Album in 2010 for Diego Torres’s Distinto.

FuseFX Artists Nominated for Three VES Awards

Studio cited for work on “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D” and “American Horror Story”.

BURBANK—Visual effects artists from FuseFX are currently nominated for three Visual Effects Society (VES) Awards for their work in episodic television.

Visual Effects Supervisor Kevin Lingenfelser has received a nomination for his work on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The nomination is for Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects-Driven Photoreal/Live Action Broadcast Program. He shares the nomination with VFX Supervisor Mark Kolpack, VFX Producer Sabrina Arnold, Special Effects Supervisor Gary D’Amico and Digital Effects Supervisor David Breedon. Lingenfelser shared a 2014 Primetime Emmy nomination for his work on the same series.

Visual Effects Supervisor Jason Piccioni, Visual Effects Producer Jason C. Spratt, CG Supervisor Mike Kirylo, Visual Effects Supervisor Justin Ball and Special Effects Coordinator Eric Roberts are nominated for Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Visual Effects-Driven Photoreal/Live Action Broadcast Program for American Horror Story: Freak Show. Kirylo and Ball each have two previous VES nominations.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.