Design

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. Here’s a bit of it in the space, used with permission from Mandy Mei (@munseemei) who shared on Instagram.

111615 ♡ Love this. #motiongraphics #animation #qznextbillion

A video posted by Mandy Mei (@munseemei) on


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.

2015 Smithsonian Ingenuity Awards

Rounding out a busy Fall of live events was the 2015 Smithsonian Ingenuity Awards ceremony on November 12 at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C

The event, sponsored by Smithsonian magazine, honors 12 people across nine categories, including technology, performing arts, visual arts, natural sciences, physical sciences, education, history, social progress and youth achievement.

We were excited to be asked by LanternEye Films to create the graphics for each category winner, like this one awarded to Fred Armisen and Bill Hader of “Documentary Now!” fame.

 

 

Working closely with LanternEye director Paul La Blanc, we upgraded last year’s look with the addition of 3D wireframe models for each category and recipient.

Watch the full set of videos on the Smithsonian Website, or check out out animations in this portfolio post.