Animation

Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am in theaters June 21

We are eagerly anticipating the theatrical release of Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am on June 21st.

The film, which features our graphics and animation work, is being distributed by Magnolia Pictures and opening in 50 cities across the nation.

Here is the trailer:

Our role as collaborators in the film was cited by the film’s co-producer and editor, Johanna Giebelhaus in this interview published in Filmmaker Magazine.

It was an amazing experience to be a part of telling the story of this extraordinary woman.

When you see the film you will be as in love with Toni Morrison as we are.

PMG Work Featured in Sundance Toni Morrison Doc

We were thrilled and honored to create the visual effects and title design for Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am, an engaging and intimate meditation on the life and works of the legendary storyteller and Nobel prize-winner, which is premiering at the Sundance Film Festival on January 27, 2019.

Collaborating closely with with director Timothy Greenfield-Sanders and Producer/Editor Johanna Giebelhaus, we supervised the film’s visual effects and created all of the animated and still graphic elements, a few of which can be seen in this exclusive clip on Deadline.com.

From her childhood in the steel town of Lorain, Ohio to ‘70s-era book tours with Mohammed Ali, from the front lines with Angela Davis to her own riverfront writing room, Toni Morrison leads an assembly of her peers, critics and colleagues on an exploration of race, America, history and the human condition as seen through the prism of her own literature.

Inspired to write because no one took a “little black girl” seriously, Morrison reflects on her lifelong deconstruction of the master narrative. Woven together with a rich collection of art, history, literature and personality, the film includes discussions about her many critically acclaimed works, including novels The Bluest Eye, Sula and Song of Solomon, her role as an editor of iconic African-American literature and her time teaching at Princeton University.

In addition to Ms. Morrison, the film features interviews with Hilton Als, Angela Davis, Fran Lebowitz, Walter Mosley, Sonia Sanchez and Oprah Winfrey, who turned Morrison’s novel “Beloved” into a feature film. Using Timothy Greenfield-Sanders’ elegant portrait-style interviews, Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am includes original music by Kathryn Bostic, a specially created opening sequence by artist Mickalene Thomas, and evocative works by other contemporary African-American artists including Kara Walker, Rashid Johnson and Kerry James Marshall.

The Congressman Main Title Sequence

We love films, and we love the art of the title, so we jumped at the chance to design and animate the main titles for The Congressman, released in Spring 2016.

The film stars Treat Williams as Maine Congressman Charlie Winship. Fed up with Washington and special interest lobbyists, battered by a media scandal and recovering from divorce, it is only after meeting a group of rugged and self-reliant lobstermen fighting to save their way of life that Charlie reconnects with the idealism that drew him to Congress, while discovering a second chance at personal happiness.

In addition to the main titles, the sequence had to communicate Charlie’s backstory to the audience by incorporating a series of archival photos and clips.. Working closely with editor and co-producer Johanna Giebelhaus, our goals were to create a visual sequence recalling classic film titles of the 1960s and 70s with just a hint of a modern feel, and to find an elegant solution within the resources of an independent production.

We’re proud of the final sequence, anchored by a handwritten main title, evocative of both the lawmaker’s signature and the intimacy of the narrative. The tiles reference both the pieces of Charlie’s life, which may be falling apart or coming together, as well as the frame through which the illicit photographer is spying on him.  The sequence is rounded out by subtly moving rectangles and credits that frame the historical narrative and set the tone as we move through history to the present day.

We were privileged to be part of this production, with a first-rate performance from Treat Williams, and featuring both gorgeous photography and music by longtime friend Joe Arcidiacono.

The Congressman is now available on Amazon and numerous other streaming services and enjoying theatrical runs throughout the country. You can see the full schedule and list on the film’s website.

Hope and the Political Process

It’s an election year and everyone has an opinion about what’s broken in Washington.

The Congressman stars Treat Williams as a frustrated lawmaker who catches a breath of fresh air during an unexpected retreat to a remote island in his district to deal with a fishing dispute.

The film, written and co-directed by former congressman Robert Mrazek, tells a story which evokes Bill Forsyth’s Local Hero, a personal favorite of Declan’s.

We designed and animated the main titles.

The film anchored closing night of the The 18th Annual Sarasota Film Festival, and hits theaters in New York and Washington on April 29, and independent cinemas across the country in the weeks that follow.

Find the complete schedule on the film’s website.

See The Congressman. And vote.

Our work featured in Touched With Fire opening Friday!

Paul Dalio’s Touched With Fire, which premiered at SXSW last year, opens in theaters this Friday, February 12th. The film has been garnering positive reviews and we can’t wait to catch it!

The Village Voice says “Dalio and his actors stir up what might be the greatest of youthful feelings: that as you get to know someone new, someone whose thinking rhymes with yours, you’re also becoming ever more yourself.” Sounds perfect for Valentine’s Day, huh?

The film stars Katie Holmes, Luke Kirby and Griffin Dunne in a story of two manic depressives who meet in a psychiatric hospital and begin a romance that brings out all of the beauty and horror of their condition. Spike Lee is the Executive Producer.

Our work, which included animated environmental projections based on Van Gogh’s Starry Night, landed Declan Zimmermann a credit as Visual Effect Supervisor on the picture. You can see the projections briefly in the trailer and fully, of course, in the film.

Quartz The Next Billion: NYC Flagship Event Graphics

Continuing our collaboration with Quartz, we were thrilled at the opportunity to take things up a level for the sixth Next Billion Forum this past November.

The event has grown and a larger venue was needed; hence we got a whole new space to play in, the beautiful Conrad Hotel in downtown Manhattan.

We updated the onstage branding that we developed for London and New Delhi; however the most exciting opportunity was to create a custom loop that played throughout the day over the registration desk in the networking lounge.

The goal was to enhance the guest experience for the flagship event, and specifically bring the energy of New York City to the brand.

Based on our initial scouting of the Conrad in August, we determined that the space at the top of the stairs provided a perfect opportunity to greet guests with a lively visual element as they approach the registration desk upon arrival.

As in London, the aim was to engage the viewers with “visual brain teasers” that were simultaneously elegant and a bit playful. Since this would not be playing in the main hall during presentations (as in London and New Delhi), we were freed to cut loose with a lot more energy.

From the outset, Quartz design lead Eric Trott and I talked about using speed, angles, and bright pops of color to connect the brand to the energy of the city. We also wanted about 2 minutes before the content looped, corresponding to the maximum time it typically takes to check in an attendee.

2 minutes. Blank canvas. What on earth would we fill the screen with?

After some brainstorming, some goofing around, some sketching and some starting over, we found the key points of inspiration.

We’d juxtapose forms inspired by the architectural details of the space with shapes based on the Quartz logotype and Next Billion brand mark to ground the event in the space, and more broadly the brand in the city.

News Post Style Slide.010
We decided to include The Next Billion literally, extrapolating the number of internet users coming online leading up to event day. This idea, embraced in an initial design round, was expanded to include number of e-mails sent and smart phones purchased.

We also wanted to take this quite literally “outside the box.” In order to have the forms to float on the wall without apaprent frame lines, we decided to flush the projection to the top and sides of the walls, and break the bottom frame edge as little as possible (we made a few exceptions in the end!)

The animation was a hit, showing up on social media posts, and more importantly contributing to the immersive experience of The Next Billion forum.

The event sold out.

We were lucky enough to attend an amazing day of inspiring content. You can watch the livestream of the event here.

We love collaborating with the Quartz team and can’t wait to do it again.