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B-Reel Premieres Short Film at Gothenburg Int’l Film Festival

Living_Soul_5_550_1001Production company B-Reel recently premiered their film “A Living Soul” — directed by noted commercial and music video director Henry Moore Selder – at the Gothenburg International Film Festival, receiving an honorary mention from a jury who declared ““For a film with outstanding use of visual effects, it manages to visualize mind-boggling existential questions in a manner equally playful, hilarious and poetic.”

Selder was pleased with the film;s reception, stating that it was “great that the jury motivation highlights the seriousness of the questions that the film poses, while acknowledging the humour involved. This is the exact combination that drew me to the source novel in the first place!”

“A Living Soul” will make its international premiere at the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival in France this weekend. Based on P.C. Jersild’s controversial 1980s sci-fi novel, the film “follows the subjective perspective of Ypsilon, a human brain being kept alive artificially.” B-Reel is calling the film a “Novella Film” (which is not a term I’ve ever seen before, but I’m assuming means it’s longer than a typical shorter and shorter than a typical feature length film). The production company worked in collaboration with “Hungarian prosthetics and [animatronic] master-minds Filmefex Studios” and VFX production company Swiss and Chimney. Head here for the trailer, and stick around for credits after the jump. Read more

Stun Creative Makes Leap to Feature Films, with Help from Van Damme

Following the massive success (over 69 million view in less than 3 months) of Volvo’s “The Epic Split” ad starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, it was inevitable that the action star would make a comedic comeback. That comeback also marks Stun Creative’s first foray into feature filmmaking, with the comedy Welcome to the Jungle.

Agency co-founders Brad Roth and Mark Feldstein serve as executive producers on Van Damme’s comedic debut, which was directed by Stun Creative’s Rob Meltzer and stars, in additon to Van Damme, Adam Brody, Megan Boone, Kristen Schaal, Rob Huebel and Dennis Haysbert. Given Stun Creative’s track record with TV promos, as well as their 2013 Webby Award winning online series Presidential Clippings, the leap to filmmaking isn’t such a huge surprise.

The above trailer is worth a few chuckles, unsurprisingly mostly coming from Van Damme playing on his own action star persona. Jean-Claude in a comedic role seems so obvious that it’s almost hard to believe no one has given it a pass before, and Welcome to the Jungle should gain a lot of momentum from “The Epic Split.” A quick search for the film brought up a Village Voice review entitled “Welcome to the Jungle is Satanically Bad,” so you may want to wait before shelling out to see this one in theaters — although “satanically bad” doesn’t necessarily equal “not funny” and I’m pretty sure the guys behind the movie weren’t exactly trying to make high art. Welcome to the Jungle is currently slated for a February 7th release, both in theaters and on-demand. If you just can’t get enough Van Damme, stick around for behind-the-scenes footage after the jump. Read more

Jaguar Goes Across the Pond for Villains

Ben Kingsley, Mark Strong, and Tom Hiddleston are all really good British actors who are being repurposed as vague villains- and possible paid one million dollars, pinky to corner of mouth – by Jaguar for a glitzy Super Bowl ad campaign that features tuxedos, cliches, and the sexy F-Type Coupe.

“Rendezvous: The Set Up” offers viewers a 30-second teaser featuring only Sir Kingsley. He says things like, “So they’re coming… [dramatic pause] all the usual suspects.” Corny if you think about it too much, but there’s some in-the-moment fun to be had when an Oscar winner brings his talents down to the genre commercial world. The spot is directed by Tom Hooper, who won Best Director for The King’s Speech, but it feels like anyone who’s watched Bad Boys II could’ve done this job. I guess Guy Ritchie was busy. Regardless, it’s a very British production for Jaguar USA and the Super Bowl ad push. Spark44, Jaguar’s in-house agency, handled creative duties for “British Villains,” which could go down as the straightforward title of the year.

 

Air New Zealand Still Offering Non-Stop Flights to Middle Earth

Yesterday, Air New Zealand announced its latest campaign entitled “Middle Earth is Closer Than You Think,”  a continuation of its association with The Hobbit Trilogy. The airline, dubbed “the official airline of Middle Earth” rolls out the campaign two weeks ahead of the launch of the second film in Peter Jackson‘s saga. The campaign was announced with a 2:30 video, “Just Another Day in Middle Earth,” featuring Dean O’Gorman, who plays dwarf Fili, and the voice of Sylvester McCoyThe Hobbit Trilogy’s Radagast the Brown.

Tolkien fanatics are well aware of New Zealand’s association with Peter Jackson’s Middle Earth films, but stoking their interest with a Hobbit-themed campaign makes a lot of sense for the airline. Tourism New Zealand survey figures from last year’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey marketing campaign “showed 82 percent of international survey respondents stated the campaign increased their interest in New Zealand” and “8.5 percent of international visitors to New Zealand during January-March this year said The Hobbit Trilogy was a factor in stimulating their interest in New Zealand.” So using Tolkien to sell New Zealand is a proven method, and Air New Zealand doesn’t disappoint with their latest installment.

The “Just Another Day in Middle Earth” video employs a cheeky sense of humor to merge Middle Earth references with Air New Zealand’s friendly approach. Tolkien fan boys will undoubtedly eat this one up, even if there aren’t quite as many cameos as in last year’s “An Unexpected Briefing.” My only complaint would be that in a 2:30 spot, I’d expect to see more shots of New Zealand’s stunning landscapes, but I imagine most people are here for The Hobbit factor and I’m in the minority. It’s a cute little video, and if you’re a Tolkien obsessive, it should make you want to visit New Zealand even more than you (presumably) already do.

Another important component of the campaign is a contest allowing participants to choose from entering for one of two prizes: tickets to the Hollywood premiere of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, or a “once-in-a-life-time Middle-earth experience for two in New Zealand.” Personally, I don’t see why you’d take the Desolation of Smaug premiere over a chance to visit New Zealand, but I’m sure a certain breed of Tolkien/Jackson fanatic would rabidly disagree with me. Air New Zealand is also resurrecting the idea of decking out one of its planesHobbit style, from last year’s campaign. This year, they will be turning a Boeing 777-300 into a flying billboard for Jackson’s latest installment. The plane will be unveiled December 2nd, leaving that night in time to touch down for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug premiere in Hollywood. Most Tolkien nerds would kill a bag of puppies for a spot on that plane.

 

‘Creatives Go West’ Makes Its Pitch

In August of 2012, we blurbed about four creative twentysomethings (Digitaria writer/designer Grant Spanier, account planner/former Campbell Mithun Lucky 13 intern Laura Fitzpatrick, former CM copywriter Vince Koci and filmmaker Jake Woodbridgegoing on a brief roadtrip out west “in search of inspiration — risking life, limb and Dysentery in the name of creative enlightenment.” Well, nobody got Dysentery, but more than a year later, the travelers are looking for some Kickstarter funding to help turn their 15-day roadtrip footage into a fully-produced documentary. The total cost: $30,000.

The three-minute-and-twenty-second pitch video offers a sneak peek of the journey and quite a few talking heads. The questions seem to focus on the origin of creativity, mainly about whether the American West is the most creative region in the country. As a Northeasterner, my reflexive response requires me to disagree with that idea completely, but it can’t hurt to ask. In the name of (social) science, right?

And as someone who took a cross-country roadtrip with a video camera myself, I can understand the allure of driving out west. The West Coast may not be more creative than the East Coast, or the Midwest, or wherever you live, but there are different creative approaches and mindsets out there, and exploring whatever those differences may be is an impressive creative endeavor in its own right. I’m interested to see what their finished project turns up.

#LoveAlwaysWins Reimagines a Better, More Tolerant Sochi Olympics

From NYC-based All Out, this two-minute short film shows what it would look life if a gay Olympic medalist were able to celebrate with her partner in Sochi. Of course, it’s not that simple in Russia, where public displays of homosexuality are banned by the government, and systemic discrimination has prevented gay people from simply feeling like people in their own country. All Out is hoping to change that, at least legally, before the Sochi Games start in February 2014. The organization is asking that people share the video with #LoveAlwaysWins on social media. The goal, as the video shows, is to close the gap between what should be allowed and what is allowed. I wouldn’t bet on it, considering that the Olympics has always struggled to balance the messy mix of politics, human rights, and competition, but at least someone is trying. Credits after the jump.

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Regal Cinemas Poaches Vine Talent for Branded Miniseries

It’s ironic that Regal, in an effort to get people interested in going to movie theaters, would ask popular Vine actors to star in a branded miniseries called Date Night Fails that is premiering on the Internet. There’s more mess beyond the irony, since Regal turned to Vine, which has, itself, plateaued in terms of popularity, much like the movie theaters. So, even though this campaign is harmless, it’s also kind of sad.

Created by LA-based digital agency Something Massive, Date Night Fails stars Jason Nash as Vince, a clueless buffoon who has occasional funny moments stemming from his loud, overbearing, and sometimes annoying personality. That Look at Me approach to humor can get old very quickly, as it does here, even though there are only five two-minute episodes. Vine does have a turtle named Quentin Taraturtle for whatever that’s worth. Other well-known Viners such as KC James and Arielle Vandenberg appear in some of the clips, which all have to do with convincing you that going to the movies is better than watching movies at home. Intuitively, that makes sense, even if the reasons, themselves don’t. Like in “Loading,” repeated streaming problems interrupt Vince and a date from watching a movie on his TV, even though those kind of buffering issues don’t exist long-term and can be fixed easily. Or in “Making Concessions,” where homemade and store-bought snacks are supposed to make you want to go to a theater and buy $10 popcorn, even though the dynamic actually works in reverse.

See, harmless and kind of sad. There’s probably a way to execute this miniseries more effectively, maybe with shorts about not being able to see new titles on Netflix, dealing with frequent commercials on cable, and encountering loneliness at home versus enjoying the theater experience with a crowd of people who laugh, gasp, etc. But that’s not what Date Night Fails is, and any person who stops to think for two seconds will see right through these straw men.

Pearl Media Attempts to Spook Subway Riders at Columbus Circle for ‘Witches of East End’

Pearl Media’s interactive billboard at Columbus Circle attempts to spook passing subway riders with a large screen ad that responds to their movements.

The gesture-activated, multimedia billboard has been promoting Witches of East End since September 13th. As Pearl Media CEO Josh Cohen puts it, “The video walls are designed to get busy Upper West Side commuters to put down their small screens and spend time with cool content on a really big screen so that they’ll tune in to their medium-sized TV screens when the series premieres on October 6.” Phew. I think Louis C.K. would probably have something to say about that one.

At any rate, the billboard features two nine square-foot walls, comprised of nine screens each. An extreme close up of a woman’s green iris appears to follow commuters as they walk by, masses of crows fly out of her pupil as the scene changes to trees slowly being consumed by fire. The more movement from those passing by, the more the scene changes. Music and sound are also integrated into the interactive billboard.

The billboard didn’t seem to actually scare anybody (nor, I think, will Witches of East End), but it did stop some people in their tracks and get them to interact with the billboard. Some of them seemed to be having fun. Whether that will get anyone to actually tune into Lifetime is another story.

MUH-TAY-ZIK I HOF-FER Busts Out the Black Humor for Do.com

There are some rare death jokes on display in “17 Minutes,” the new longform Do.com ad, almost an FX brand of humor, not something you’d normally associate with a to-do-list website. An old man in a nursing home rushes to set up a farewell party after an oblivious doctor tells him he has 17 minutes to live. The man uses the collaborative features on the website to contact his friends and get the necessary party paraphernalia  It’s edgy, mildly offensive, and pretty funny. There’s also a pregnancy joke that is way too good for a commercial. There were probably safer ways to get the Do.com message across to viewers, but we always appreciate creatives who take risks. Credits after the jump.

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Digital Spacewalk Brings ‘Gravity’ Down to Earth

Screen shot 2013-09-25 at 12.15.07 PM

The new space thriller, Gravity, from Alfonso Cuarón, who helmed Children of Men and one of those Harry Potter films among others, hits theaters in less than two weeks. You’ve probably seen trailers for Gravity on TV with George Clooney and Sandra Bullock floating around space as classical music plays.  It’s an unusual premise for a movie, and even though Cuarón is a brilliant director, one can understand how studios might be worried about box office sales. So, to generate some buzz for the film, production company B-Reel has launched an interactive website that digitally illustrates the experience of floating around space.

The site holds brief appeal – exploring a simulation of space can get boring after a few minutes of scrolling and listening to the eerie loop of someone panting – which is the point. Floating around knowing you’d be lost forever looking at blackness sounds tremendously boring and tremendously frightening. Of course, Cuarón (I hope) will focus on the threat of that boredom, so his space thriller is, you know, thrilling. But if you’re an astronomy geek or interested film buff, the spacewalk and links to the movie trailers should be enough fun until October 4.

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