Shine delivers main titles for HBO’s “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”

Creative director Michael Riley + his team at SHINE designed, edited and produced the main title sequence for “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” which premiered this Sunday April 23 on HBO.

Oprah Winfrey and Rose Byrne star in this adaptation of Rebecca Skloot’s critically acclaimed, bestselling nonfiction book of the same name. Told through the eyes of Henrietta Lacks’ daughter, Deborah Lacks, the film chronicles her search, along with journalist Rebecca Skloot (Byrne), to learn about the mother she never knew and understand how the unauthorized harvesting of Lacks’ cancerous cells in 1951 led to unprecedented medical breakthroughs, changing countless lives and the face of medicine forever.

Co-written and directed by George C. Wolfe for HBO, the film follows Skloot (Rose Byrne) and Deborah Lacks (Winfrey) on a journey to understand more about Henrietta, who died of cervical cancer at age 31 in 1951, leaving behind five small children and a legacy that would change modern medicine.

Unbeknown to Henrietta (played in flashbacks by Renee Elise Goldsberry), a doctor at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore had removed cancer cells from her cervix. These cells were able to reproduce outside the body at astonishing rates, making them ideal for medical research.

The mass-produced HeLa cells, as they became known, have contributed to major breakthroughs, including the polio vaccine and in-vitro fertilization — all thanks to an African American woman who died in obscurity.

From the very beginning there was something uncanny about the cancer cells on Henrietta Lacks’s cervix. Even before killing Lacks herself in 1951, they took on a life of their own. Removed during a biopsy and cultured without her permission, the HeLa cells (named from the first two letters of her first and last names) reproduced boisterously in a lab at Johns Hopkins — the first human cells ever to do so.

HeLa became an instant biological celebrity, traveling to research labs all over the world. Meanwhile Lacks, a vivacious 31-year-old African-American who had once been a tobacco farmer, tended her five children and endured scarring radiation treatments in the hospital.After Henrietta Lacks’s death, HeLa went viral, so to speak, becoming the godmother of virology and then biotech, benefiting practically anyone who’s ever taken a pill stronger than aspirin.

Scientists have grown some 50 million metric tons of her cells, and you can get some for yourself simply by calling an 800 number. HeLa has helped build thousands of careers, not to mention more than 60,000 scientific studies, with nearly 10 more being published every day, revealing the secrets of everything from aging and cancer to mosquito mating and the cellular effects of the environment.

ReelChicago chats with SEED director Kristina Perreault

What’s up with SEED director Kristina Perrault ?

Chicago director Kristina Perreault is not afraid of things going wrong on the set, especially if they happen overseas.

“When traveling, sometimes stuff happens and you have to make it work,” she explains. “I like that challenge of constantly being on your toes.”

Besides being an accomplished travel documentarian, the latest addition to SEED’s roster also wields bona fide credentials as a show host and chef instructor. The experiences help her bring calm to non-actors dealing with on-camera jitters.

“I’m good at training people on location and getting them comfortable,” she explains. “A lot of time, it’s just their mental focus. We clear the room. We do breathing and we do voice exercises. Or I’ll just talk to them. I shift their focus to be more motivated and confident with the camera.”

Perreault says that her unique skillset began with an intense singular focus when she was in grade school.

Perreault (center) and crew in Dubai

Perreault (center) and crew in Dubai

“My parents were throwing away a video camera and I just started filming my friends and making films” she remembers. “I became obsessed with it.”

Although she grew up to become a world-savvy director, recently completed a project in Dubai and lists the Cyclades among her favorite locations, she says that SEED founder and executive producer Roy Skillicorn offers something that she has not found anywhere else.

“I feel that he genuinely has my back and my well being in my professional career,” she explains. “He’s a good guide. I’ve done business with other people. He goes that extra mile. That alone was kind of a big thing for me, to be able to have that kind of a relationship.”

Perreault also notes that she “gets along with Roy’s family well.” This hints at another driving force in her career. Born and raised in Minnesota, she chose to settle in Chicago partly because “it’s a little closer to home.”

So far, there’s at least one celebrity who’s happy she’s here.

“I was asked to come on to a set because a rapper was having a breakdown,” she explains. “Apparently he partied too hard the day before and didn’t want to be on camera.”

Bodega welcomes director Lindsay Daniels to the roster

Content creation/production studio BODEGA, with bases of operation in NY and San Francisco, has signed director Lindsay Daniels for U.S. commercial representation. She has helmed spots for such brands as Amazon, Pinterest, Nordstrom and Garnier. Upcoming work out of Bodega includes a Famous Footwear spot out of The Richards Group.

Daniels’ experience spans the branding, agency and motion design side of the creative industry. She began her career as a creative at Digital Kitchen. There, she organically followed her design and concepting expertise into motion work, designing the main titles to Dexter, The Path to 9/11 and several other commercial campaigns. Daniels won a primetime Emmy for Outstanding Main Title Design for her work on Dexter. She earlier was nominated for the same Emmy on the basis of the title design for The Path to 9/11.

At Publicis in Seattle, she served as a creative director for the T-Mobile and Chevrolet accounts, leading both brands through multiple print, broadcast and digital campaigns. With her robust background crafting creative concepts for campaigns across multiple mediums, Daniels saw the unique emotive quality of motion early on in her career. She brings a collaborative approach to distilling messaging and elevating ideas through a focus on concepts, narratives and characters.

Her work has been recognized by such industry organizations as Communication Arts Design Annual, The National Addys, The Art Directors Club and The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Bodega EP/partner Clint Goldman said, “We feel fortunate to have Lindsay join our roster as her design and creative skills truly complement where we’re heading.  She’s already wrapped her first job for us at The Richards Group and was just a dream project from beginning to end for us, our agency and client.”

Daniels added, “I have always been fascinated with the fusion of metaphorical storytelling and leveraging design, time and music to connect with people emotionally. The directors on the BODEGA roster are all amazing talents and I am inspired by the work that they have in their portfolio and look forward to expanding that slate of work.”

Felix Colgrave’s animated “Double King” racks up a million+ views

Double King

 

6 Point Media animation director Felix Colgrave dropped his new short on YouTube over the April 1 weekend and it’s gone viral !, amassing a million views in just over a week.

 

Director Tim Abshire reunites with Roy Skillicorn at SEED

 

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Award winning humor, celebrity and storytelling director, Tim Abshire has teamed up with long-time friend, former EP, marketing trendsetter, and owner of SEED, Roy Skillicorn.

Roy Skillicorn is elated that Tim Abshire has come aboard. “Tim’s ability to generate stories that give rise to everything from a smile to riotous laugh-out-loud humor, combined with his jovial, collaborative disposition, and his commitment to excellence is exactly what I was seeking for SEED. What’s more, his work now expands us into the humor genre, which has always been an integral part of my personal brand, ” says Skillicorn.

Tim adds “The first time I met Roy I was blown away. Roy’s superpower is the ability to effortlessly light up a room, but his real talent is sharing that light and making everyone else shine.”

Roy and Tim developed a strong personal bond while working together at Backyard Productions, a company Skillicorn founded. It was there that they developed a successful business relationship that proved highly prosperous and congenial.

Tim is known as the quintessential actors’ director. The innocence and honesty he captures from an actor’s performance, combined with his exquisite timing, allows the resulting humor to be globally relatable, yet specifically fine-tuned and tailored to the client’s demographic needs.

“His strength as a writer enables him to fully articulate his vision in treatments, maintaining an instinctive understanding of the essential goals of a project” adds Seed’s Head of Sales, Jessica Rae Connell. “He’s quick and decisive on set, providing an environment, rich in spontaneity and passion. His timing often relies on hanging on to an engaging awkward pause in the action to catch the viewing audience off guard fostering a hilarious response.”

Traveling the world to hone his craft, Tim has created and directed content for numerous blue chip brands, including Google, Jeep, ESPN, Walmart, PlayStation, Febreze, Volkswagen, Coca Cola and jetBlue, with top agencies domestically and internationally, such as Grey Worldwide, Wieden & Kennedy, Ogilvy & Mather, David&Goliath, and Leo Burnett.

Tim has worked with celebrities as diverse as Drew Barrymore, Chris Rock, Derek Jeter, Ben Stiller, Jeff Goldblum, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Alice Cooper, Triple H and Sheryl Crow. Tim is a highly decorated director with over 30 top industry awards, including 3 Gold Lions, an MTV Moonman Award, Gold Pencils, and numerous Gold winners from Promax, and the Clios.

Welcome to the S/R family ! Bill Hewes & HU_SH join Bodega’s new animation division

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BODEGA Launches New Animation Division Led by EP Bill Hewes

Animators from London-based studio HU_SH + NY design shop Mr. Wonderful will comprise the new department

New York/San Francisco-based content creation/production company BODEGA has launched a director-driven animation division under the leadership of Executive Producer Bill Hewes. Hewes has over two decades of producing experience with expertise spanning animation, live action, VFX and design at th1ng/th2ng, FilmTecknarna and Digital Kitchen.

Bodega launches animation division

“BODEGA is a thriving, integrated content creation studio that produces compelling work across all platforms,” says Hewes. “I’m excited to lead their move into animation and introduce new talent to the roster. Our animation directors run the gamut from narrative storytelling, to design and illustration. From 2D to 3D, hand drawn, stop motion and mixed-media techniques, it’s a perfect fit.”

Initially, the roster will consist of London-based animation studio HU_SH, led by Lydia Russell and Ru Warner, and New York-based design shop Mr. Wonderful. Hewes previously collaborated with Russell and Warner at th1ng / th2ng and will offer HU_SH’s entire slate of diverse talent to the U.S. market, including Academy Award-nominated French filmmaker Sylvain Chomet, world-renowned animation director Will Barras and award-winning filmmaker Kirk Hendry, as well as Alon Ziv, Nerdo, Chris Weigandt, Light + Mathematics, Dave Anderson, Kirk Hendry, Julien Bisaro and Woodwork.

Recent HU_SH work includes commercials and large format displays for Prudential Global Investment Management, and a Ben & Jerry’s spot out of Mekanism. Mr. Wonderful just wrapped a series of co-branded assignments for Nickelodeon and motion design work for The Kardashians on E!

BODEGA Executive Producer Clint Goldman notes, “I have known Bill for many years and to have the opportunity to work side-by-side with this well-respected EP and bring these amazing animation directors to BODEGA really expands the artistic potential of what we offer. We are making a long-term commitment to animation and these additions complement our growing family.”