Tomorrow night begins another Seattle International Film Festival, the longest-running and most highly-attended film festival in the US. Some 269 feature films and many, many more shorts will be screened over the next 25 days, starting with Your Sister’s Sister, the new film from Seattle treasure Lynn Shelton. Before each screening is the trailer for SIFF, a minute long trailer that sets the theme of the festival and includes clips from movies that have previously played at SIFF, as well as live-action footage featuring burlesque star Shanghai Pearl.
Andy Seaver, an editor at the local video design firm World Famous who worked on the SIFF trailer answered some questions via e-mail about how the SIFF trailer was created this year:
What is the process like for creating the SIFF trailer? How long did it take to complete this one?
Fortunately for World Famous, we were contacted by the advertising agency in Seattle who has been producing all the SIFF materials for years now. Wong, Doody, Crandall Wiener presented us with this year’s poster for SIFF and asked how we could help bring it to life. Beginning in January we started collecting films that had played at SIFF in previous years, starting with films that people at the office had either seen or heard about. We went through each film and found interesting bits of them to use as raw material.
After working with Madrona Music to come up with some SIFFtacular music (original score) we began the editing process. We grabbed our favorite moments from the films and made them look silly, matching them up to the music, then went back and found more films and more spectacular moments in order to round out the styles represented. We wanted to make sure we highlighted the breadth and diversity of movies that play at SIFF. So we built up an edit with some points showing one movie alone and sometimes a dozen shots on screen at once. Then we began exploring different techniques and styles for layout and kaleidoscoping and creating that Busby Berkley effect.
Next we had our shoot. After much deliberation over costumes, colors and cast – including custom costumes and zentai suits from China – local legend Shanghai Pearl and six other dancers gave us lots of material to choose from.
The following step was integrating our production footage (Shanghai Pearl) in with the movie edits. Meanwhile, now that we’d decided (along with WDCW) on a design direction we began rotoscoping (meticulously cutting out) all of the movie elements. We arranged, and occasionally multiplied, these elements and created the trippy looking footage. Then we repeated that last step for several weeks, edited back and forth between them, gradually refining the style and layout and occasionally losing our minds. After adding the finishing touches with an audio mix, color correction and final compositing, it was finally World Famous SIFFtacular! It took about 3 months and countless hours of work but was a blast to create and we were honored with the opportunity to create something so visually compelling.
Knowing that it will be seen before every movie that plays at SIFF, and that SIFF is almost a month long, what do you do to keep film audiences from growing tired of it?
With almost 50 movies hidden in the 60 seconds there are new things to see upon every viewing. We just saw something new yesterday!
You can see more work at http://www.worldfamousinc.com/
Chris Burlingame is the editor of Another Rainy Saturday.