Alpert + O’Neill Between “The Rock” and a Hard Place on HBO

Working with longtime collaborators HBO and producing in tandem with film star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, director/producers Jon Alpert + Matt O’Neill debut their new documentary ROCK & A HARD PLACE  Monday March 27th at 10pm.

Jon + Matt are available for spot + branded content work at NYC’s Rascal Films.

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Incarcerated young people enter the famed Miami-Dade County Corrections & Rehabilitation Boot Camp Program in search of a second chance: the opportunity to trade an extensive prison sentence for a fresh start. In this harsh, 16-week camp, drill instructors push inmates to their limit, but those who complete it can become constructive members of society who are substantially less likely to return to prison. The program reports a recidivism rate under 15%, while the national rate of prison recidivism is approximately 70%.

Inspired by Dwayne Johnson’s own experiences with the law as a youth, ROCK AND A HARD PLACE is a passion project for Dwayne Johnson, who calls it one of the most important films he’s been associated with. “By the time I was 16, I had been arrested multiple times for a variety of things, and can relate to what these kids are going through,” he says.

Johnson executive produces along with Dany Garcia, his producing partner and co-founder of Seven Bucks Productions, and Rasha Drachkovitch of 44 Blue Productions, the Emmy®-nominated executive producer behind “Lockup,” the longest-running prison series. Oscar® nominees and multiple Emmy® winners Matthew O’Neill and Jon Alpert produce and direct.

The film opens with Johnson’s visit to the boot camp, where he observes the induction of a group of 38 young offenders, convicted of crimes ranging from assault to armed robbery, who are on the brink of lengthy prison terms. Once the chaos has subsided, he tells the young men why he wants the world to see this program and emphasizes why he believes this may be their last chance.

ROCK AND A HARD PLACE follows the inmates through each phase of the camp, beginning with the brutal first weeks, which are marked by constant verbal confrontation, physical training and strict military-style discipline. Several cadets can’t or won’t comply with the rules, and the ranks are thinned to 35 after a month. Those who remain resolve to follow their instructor’s extreme demands, although tears and moments of resistance sometimes surface.

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As the weeks go by, cadets attend anger-management classes, learn vocational skills and are surprised by “protocol tests” that measure their progress and patience. In what guards call “a test of discipline,” some of the more promising men are selected to leave the prison as part of a mobile work crew. Two of them decide to escape during one such session, but are soon recaptured after a manhunt that makes the evening news, and now face even longer prison sentences. The incident rattles camp guards and management, who warn the other prisoners that escape attempts will only undermine the legitimacy of the entire program.

Cadets finally arrive at graduation day, where family members beam as they march past in precise formations before being released to their loved ones. Johnson gives emotional remarks as he congratulates the young men at a post-graduation courtroom reception.

Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill note, “As our nation wrestles with a prison system that has become the largest in the world, ROCK AND A HARD PLACE highlights an alternative incarceration program that provides a pathway to hope and positive change.”

6 Point Media re-animates Moana for Disney’s latest “As Told by Emoji”

After a bit of a break, Disney’s As Told By Emoji series is back, this time taking on the hit animated film Moana.

The fabulous animators at LA’s 6 POINT MEDIA take the helm and make this version extra seaworthy !

This particular installment is already getting praise from those involved with the film — director John Musker says, “Moana as Told By Emoji is a funny, playful and entertaining way of telling our story, but distilled down to its essence, finding clever ways of communicating certain ideas, whether it’s a boat sinking or whatever it might be. In a way, it’s like seeing an alternate reality version of our movie.” But you don’t have to take his word for it; check it out for yourself !

Bodega + director/CD Haley Geffen team up with Discovery to launch Naked + Afraid

New York/San Francisco-based content creation/production company BODEGA teamed up with Discovery Channel to launch the newest season of the reality series Naked and Afraid.

In the spot, a man and a woman stand side by side suited up for outdoor adventure, then begin removing layers of clothes and are left with only satchels and completely naked with dirt on their skin, while a narrator says, “Fully equipped, mankind can handle anything—but naked and stranded in the wild, we’re back in the food chain.”

Bodega director Haley Geffen worked with Discovery VP, Creative Pablo Pulido and senior writer/producer Luke Aeschliman to create the promo.

The spot was cut by Northern Lights editor Mark Tyler, who worked with the VFX team to incorporate effects. SuperExploder mixers Ted Gannon and Ted Marcus augmented the promo with a sound design that tied together the visual transitions. And Lustre colorist Chris Hengeveld added the finishing touches with his color grade.

Geffen worked with Pablo and Luke to create the subtleties of the stylized promo, overseen by Discovery Channel SVP Lara Richardson.

“We focused on how to remove clothes in a stylized way that enhanced our concept,” notes Geffen in a statement. “We didn’t want the act to look silly or even sexy. On the show, there’s nothing sexy about being naked. So we choreographed their actions and focused on specific motions that added energy to the visuals and uniquely branded the promo without sensationalizing the nudity.”

Naked and Afraid airs on Discovery Channel on Sunday, March 5 at 10 p.m. ET.

CREDITS

Client: Discovery Channel
SVP Creative: Lara Richardson
VP Creative: Pablo Pulido
Sr. Writer/Producer: Luke Aeschliman
Production Manager: Daniel Oleksiuk
Production Manager: Chau Hoang

Production: BODEGA
Director/Executive Creative Director: Haley Geffen
Head of Production: Kris Walter
Line Producer: Jordan Tarazi
Line Producer: Michael Flexner

Post: Northern Lights
Editor: Mark Tyler
Lustre colorist: Chris Hengeveld
After Effects Artist: Matthew Lucas
Executive Producer: Robin Hall

Audio: SuperExploder
Sr. Sound Designer/Mixers: Ted Marcus & Ted Gannon
Producer: Shannon Botts

Bodega’s Ben Orisich has a “Breakthrough” for Allegra

From director/designer Ben Orisich, working with all four integrated divisions of NYC one-stop shop BODEGA STUDIOS, comes this fun new Allegra spot, “Breakthrough”, for agency Ferrara + Co.

A superb team effort from BODEGA director Orisich; NORTHERN LIGHTS editor Glenn Conte and colorist Chris Hengeveld; SUPEREXPLODER sound designer/audio mixer Jody Nazzaro; and design + animation from MR WONDERFUL.

TEN Tricks Out a Lowrider for Quaker State

TEN Quaker State

Great new project from our friends at STUDIO TEN and parent company The Enthusiast Network (TEN) for Quaker State.

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Only a few seconds into the first episode of “Lowrider Roll Models,” we meet Steve Alvarez-Mott, an obstetrician and gynecologist who practices in Glendora and San Dimas, Calif. The camera slowly focuses in on Alvarez-Mott’s face as he explains how he got involved in the lowrider culture–a world where elaborately customized classic cars with hydraulics brings Latino families together. In the background bottles of Quaker State oil line the shelves.

It’s subtle product integration executed well by TEN: The Enthusiast Network. Nancy Bruner, Shell Lubricants manager of influencer strategy and engagement, was looking for an experience that would let advocates in the lowrider community see that Shell was equally passionate about helping their community thrive.

Shell Lubricant’s involvement began in 2015 as a way to gain traction and awareness in the U.S. Hispanic market, explained Rudy Rivas, GM, Lowrider Network. Mr. Rivas met with Don Moser, North America Marketing Manager at Shell Oil Company and Ms. Bruner many times, getting to know each other and developing friendships. It was a good match, said Mr. Rivas, because everyone involved shared an appreciation for not only the cars, but also the people and culture surrounding the lowrider lifestyle. Even though the LOWRIDER staff are “knucklebusters who have grease under their nails”, the human interest aspect of each episode offers broad appeal.

During those multiple meetings, the group brainstormed ways TEN could help Shell by creating custom video content that would make a difference in the lowrider community.TEN’s LOWRIDER magazine staffers had toyed with the idea of creating video for years, said Mr. Rivas, and having Shell Lubricant, featuring Quaker State Motor Oils, be a part of it made it all the more enthralling. “They wanted to integrate with a program that shows respect to the culture of the lowrider car enthusiast,” he said. “TEN has always been a first mover and helped brands grow new and existing audiences. We knew we could help the Quaker State brand activate and drive real engagement with the audience they wanted to reach.”

After bouncing a few ideas back and forth, Rivas and the team at Shell Lubricants decided to turn the magazine’s “Roll Model” column into a monthly video series, focusing on the four pillars of lowriding: performance, artistry, pride, and culture. The short video segments would profile male and female lowrider community leaders and their cars. It would also work to dispel outdated, negative myths about the lifestyle. (Television and movies have done a good job of making lowriding synonymous with organized crime and guns.) The fact that the people and cars featured in the lowrider series are true role models, working in their own communities for the betterment of all is an added benefit for Quaker State.

“In the case of ‘Roll Models,’ it wasn’t just, ‘We want to market to you [Hispanic community].’ It was really building out the idea of, ‘We have a shared passion around automotive and design. We all share this love.’ Now, we can help change the perception of a culture that has really well-respected folks designing, building and driving lowriders. For us, that’s incredibly appealing,” said Ms. Bruner.

That includes putting product in the hands of the lowrider car clubs and community to support their passion.”By supporting the lowrider community with product that they want and use, we help deliver a message that we all want to deliver – getting the stories told,” said Ms. Bruner.

To date, the videos–which launched in March 2016–have generated over 3.9 million views, and over 325,000 likes, comments, shares to date. There’s also cross-promotion via the one-page profile in the print magazine. While Ms. Bruner will not disclose all metrics, she said Shell Lubricants is “pleased with the program and our investment in underwriting has been well-placed.”

TEN Quaker State

One reason: Quaker State is seeing a great benefit from earned media. “We’ve seen a big increase in earned media awareness. There have been a lot of interview opportunities for us as well. From a reputation and brand perspective, the earned media is phenomenal and begins to build the credibility piece for us,” she explained. “It helps us to appeal to a broader number of people.”

TEN: The Enthusiast Network is the world’s premier transmedia network of enthusiast brands, such as MOTOR TREND, AUTOMOBILE, HOT ROD, SURFER, TRANSWORLD SKATEBOARDING, and GRINDTV. TEN’s audience represents the largest concentration of males age 18 to 34 within the automotive and action/outdoor categories.TEN helps brands connect with a powerful, active and influential group of passionate enthusiasts. Its massive scale across all platforms allows partners unmatched reach. For more information, visit enthusiastnetwork.com

 

Shine’s “Outsiders” in Contention for Best Title Design at SXSW 2017

Shine is honored to be included as finalists in the Excellence in Title Design screening at the 2017 SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas for the main title sequence for WGN’s Outsiders.

Shine designed, edited and animated the main title sequence. In 45 seconds, the sequence visually establishes the world of the Farrels. The process of making moonshine is a visual story thread woven throughout the sequence.

A struggle for power and control set in the rugged and mysterious hills of modern-day Appalachia, Outsiders tells the story of the Farrels – a family clan who’ve been in rural Kentucky since before anyone can remember. Living off the grid and above the law on their mountaintop homestead, they’ll protect their world and defend their way of life using any means necessary.

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The process of making moonshine was the visual story woven throughout the sequence.

Shine - Outsiders

Still photography of the locations were intended to visually establish the world of the Farrels.

Shine - Outsiders

Shine created and animated copper coils used to make moonshine.

Shine - Outsiders

The boiling cauldron of moonshine ingredients is a visual element integrated throughout the sequence.