Variety has named “The 16 Buzziest Movies at SXSW Film Festival” and Company 3 and EFILM worked on the top two! Company 3’s Siggy Ferstl colored Pee-wee’s Big Holiday, and EFILM’s Mitch Paulson the second, Midnight Special.
Pee-wee’s Big Holiday, directed by John Lee and shot by Tim Orr created visuals that evoke the iconic feel of the early 1980s TV show and Tim Burton’s cult classic Pee-wee’s Big Adventure. The childlike character and the world he inhabits are presented in such a happy, bright way that there’s something subversive about it. “They wanted an image that was definitely colorful,” says Ferstl, “but not oversaturated. In fact, we pulled back on the saturation of some of the reds and greens in the color grade.”
Ferstl, who works in Resolve, made use of the color corrector’s layering abilities to enhance some scenes involving fireworks by adding in some extra fireworks elements provided by VFX during the DI, where he also added in glow and focus effects to give the scene some extra depth. “Sometimes it can be helpful to put the final touches on effects shots like that in the DI theater where the filmmakers can see the elements come together projected onto a big screen.”
Director Jeff Nichols Midnight Special represents his third collaboration with cinematographer Adam Stone and colorist Mitch Paulson. Paulson enjoys working with the filmmakers and notes that the look of the film Mud – the sleeper hit starring Matthew Matthew McCounaghy – is one people still compliment for its look.
In Midnight Special, Adam Driver (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) joins Kirsten Dunst, Joel Edgerton and Michael Shannon in a suspense tale designed to keep audiences guessing to the end. Though it suggests some sci-fi themes, Paulson says, “It doesn’t have a sci fi ‘look.’ It builds slowly and has a more realistic feel to it. But it definitely builds to a powerful conclusion!”
Other highlights include a fantasy/biopic about one of the all-time great jazz musicians and a short film about the tribulations of a bizarre “manic man-child.” Actor Don Cheadle’s feature film directorial debut, Miles Ahead, mixes fact and fiction to create a jazz-style look at artist Miles Davis. Shot by Roberto Schaefer, ASC, AIC (Quantum of Solace), the movie needed to have an authentic 1960s and ’70s feel. Company 3 colorist Stephen Nakamura worked with the filmmakers to give the imagery the necessary feel. “We looked at photographs from the era,” he says. “I don’t know if it was the print stock or what it was but they had much more contrast than you generally see today in photographs. So that had a lot to do with how we approached color for the film.”
Seth, a 14-minute short from director Zach Lasry and shot by Lowell A. Meyer, takes a decidedly off-kilter look at what the publicity refers to as a “manic man-child who lives in his own demented world.” Seth was colored at Company 3 LA by Cody Baker.