Posts

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.

HU_SH @BODEGA animation director Kirk Hendry draws up “Kensuke’s Kingdom”

Our very own Kirk Hendry, represented for spots + branded content at BODEGA Animation via HU_SHis co-directing (with Neil Boyle) a very cool new mixed media + 2D animation feature film Kensuke’s Kingdom.   Cartoon Brew has the scoop and a new concept trailer below.

 

At last week’s Cartoon Movie market, one of the most attended presentations was Kensuke’s Kingdom, a 2D and mixed-media feature film from industry veterans Neil Boyle and Kirk Hendry.

Go here to check out the KENSUKE’S KINGDOM TRAILER

Based on the bestselling novel by War Horse author Michael Morpurgo and adapted for the screen by screenwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce (Hilary and Jackie, Welcome to Sarajevo, The Railway Man), Kensuke’s Kingdom follows the story of a young boy who washes up on a tropical island overseen by a mysterious Japanese soldier named Kensuke, who lives there with a family of orangutans as his companions.

When we first previewed the project in 2015, it was still early in development. At Cartoon Movie it was announced that several high-profile production companies have boarded the feature: London’s Lupus Films, which most recently produced Ethel & Ernest, and Luxembourg’s Melusine Productions, whose credits Ethel & Ernest, Song of the Sea, and Ernest and Celestine.

The producing team behind Kensuke’s Kingdom is now comprised of Camilla Deakin and Ruth Fielding of Lupus Films, Sarah Radclyffe (co-founder of Working Title Films and producer of over 30 live-action films), Barnaby Spurrier (Deadtime Stories for Big Folk, Somers Town), and Stephan Roelants of Melusine Productions.

Kensuke’s Kingdom has strong themes of ecological conservation and respect for the environment, including a climactic showdown with poachers who are trying to overtake the island, and directors Boyle and Hendry have spent time investigating the best approach for visualizing the natural world onscreen. They’ve come up with a solution that balances organic elements with digital compositing, and which is both unique and visually striking.

“The natural world is an essential character in this story and one thing we were keen to achieve was an organic feel to the environment,” said Boyle, whose animation credits include The Thief and the Cobbler and Who Framed Roger Rabbit. “We wanted to use reality, rather than model builds. We wanted it to look damp. With our test sequence, we filled it with many objects we found on the forest floor or rocks we pulled out of the Thames. They all had their own wonderful slime, cobwebs or dead bugs that you could never production design. We were curious to see what we could just find in nature and use.”

Added Hendry: “Something that we have been focusing on in the last few years is the creative blend of mixed media. We like to see how the things we love can inhabit the same space — the charm of 2D hand drawn characters, the depth of photoreal worlds, the character of miniature environments, matte paintings and the random nature of filmed effects footage.”

The filmmakers aim to book-end the animated portions of the film with live-action. They are still developing the final look of the film, but the goal is “to do as much of the film as possible as partial miniature sets with found objects, then extended with matte paintings” Hendry explained to Cartoon Brew. “We just like the look. It’s random, organic and connects with the theme of the piece. It’s different — and its more fun to work this way.”

While the producers continue to build a team of production partners, Boyle and Hendry are moving forward with the development of the animatic and further production design for characters and environment.

Boyle notes that the process is more organic on this film than many projects he’s worked on in the past. “On many productions you sign off on a written script and then pass the project over to artists to visualize in storyboard form, almost like they’re two separate processes,” he said. “ForKensuke’s Kingdom, we’re planning to continue working really closely with [screenwriter] Frank Cottrell Boyce, brewing up the most exciting and visual way we can tell this story, batting back and forth dialogue and imagery until we’ve found the best way to translate Michael Morpurgo’s classic book into cinematic form. It’s a tremendously exciting process.”

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.

 

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

Screen Shot 2017-04-11 at 7.01.48 PM

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.”

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 !

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.

Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 6.43.28 PM

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.