Stephen Frears

Televisual interview: Playing The Title Role

Televisual

We are delighted to be featured in this months (September) issue of Televisual.

For those of you that cannot get a copy of the magazine, here below is the full interview given by Editor Jon Creamer:

Q: At what stage of the film’s life do you get involved in a project?

A:The lead times we have can vary immensely, sometimes we have to turn projects around very quickly and sometimes we are involved very early on. Since we've been in this business more than 30 years, our clients know we can offer more than opening and closing sequences, for example - sometimes we are called upon to offer consultancy for clients to make recommendations about the structure of their films and series before they are finalized, to help them with keeping the momentum and engagement of the audience throughout the feature.

Q: How are you briefed? And who are you briefed by?

A: That has two answers firstly we have repeat clients like Tim Burton and Stephen Frears who come straight to us on a non-competitive basis. Then there is the first time directors or producers, who we like to chat and share our joint passions in film, TV and life in general. This gives us all a good start and helps build trust from the outset, and luckily we are all still in a people driven business. Also on both cases we like to read the script. Second meetings and briefings could well involve the executives from the studio like Warner Bros. or TV Channel etc.

Q: Are you able to see the finished film before you begin?

A: Yes we would see rough-cut scenes and then followed by a first assembly of the entire movie, which normally is over length and these days with large patches of ‘green screen’, sometimes along with temp music as well.

Q: What informs the concept you come up with?

A: Looking at the under belly of the movie firstly. By which I mean not the visual scenes but more the rhythm, pace, emotions and tone etc. Then it is possible to project a symbolic foretaste of what is to come, and create a receptive atmosphere that will enable the movie to begin hopefully on a higher level of audience engagement, right from the first frame.

Q: Do you have music to work with?

A: No that collaboration comes later down the creative process, once we have all agreed on the chosen visual concept and tone. This can now be formed into a rough animatic timeline to length. Then the composer can score directly on what he or she sees.

Q: Do you come up with a variety of routes and then the producer or director chooses one?

A: It depends, sometimes one idea becomes very clear in the thinking. Sometimes it needs a selection of thoughts.

Q: Can you often create bespoke sequences, are you able to shoot things yourself, use animation?

A: Starting from a blank piece of paper and an open mind. The passion and joy is to see the life come into the sequence by each member of our team adding to the overall communication of the sequence. I will always direct my own scenes that are needed, and we create our own animation and special effects.

Q: How much time do you get to produce the titles?

A: On average, around 3 to 4 months, depending on what is involved. We have been known to work on sequences for more than 8 months, such as Jupiter Ascending.

Q: Is there a good budget for the titles, or are you at the end of the financial chain?

A: Budgets work in accordance to the size scale of the movie at hand. We work across the board, large and small each has its own rewards and problems to win over. We also bear in mind small first time director or production companies today could turn out to be the biggest in time.

Q: Do you work on your own or is a team involved? Who else is involved?

A: The Morrison Studio is a collective. We build individual teams for each project, whether it is a studio motion picture, independent production, interstitial or branding project. It is essential that our team has the highest calibre of creatives, VFX artists, and technicians involved relative to the skill sets required.

Q: What is the secret to great title design?

A: Lots of factors, but essentially I would say a good script. Then It can be pushed creatively.

57th BFI London Film Festival

57th BFI London Film Festival The programme for the 57th BFI London Festival launched today with exciting news of the films screening this year and those that are running in competition. With a number of films featuring which are fresh from both the Toronto and Venice festivals, having already wowed audiences and gained glowing reviews. This years event is already looking like it's going to be a great feast of viewing splendor.

Having created the title sequence for one of those films 'Half of a Yellow Sun', we are delighted to see Biyi Bandele's new film screen back here in London as part of the BFI's Strands and Pathways 'Dare' category. And my dear friend Stephen Frears' film 'Philomena' starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan screen as part of the Sponsored Galas. The festival programme is again organised into focused categories that are formed around the themes of Love, Debate, Dare, Laugh, Thrill, Cult, Journey, Sonic and Family. An approach designed to help festival goers to find the films they want to see and also expose to new audiences.

Half of a Yellow Sun and Philomena

The festival will screen a whopping total of 234 features, combined of both fiction and documentary films. Which include 22 World Premiere's, 16 International Premiere's and 29 European premiere's. London's film festival has never had it so good... with Director Paul Greengrass' new film 'Captain Phillips' starring Tom Hanks opening the festival, and who commented at the official launch saying "The British film industry has never been better, with the best filmmaking talent in the world now regularly coming to London to make movies".

He's right too... now is a great time for movie making, not just for the British film industry, but filmmakers all around the world. And the timing for the BFI's annual event couldn't be any better.

Paul Greengrass Captain Phillips Tom Hanks

Venues across the capital, from the West End Cinemas to the central London venues, including the Odeon West End, Vue West End, Odeon Leicester Square; which recently we attended for the World Premiere of Morgan Spurlock's One Direction film 'This Is Us', Curzon Mayfair, Ciné Lumière and this years new addition the Cineworld Haymarket, will be screening all of the films during the 12 day event. And we can't wait for it to get going.

In addition to all the film screenings. Special Events, Screen Talks and Master Classes will take place during the festival. With attendances to Gala Screenings by key talent such as: Paul Greengrass, Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi, Faysal Ahmed, Barry Ackroyd, John Lee Hancock, Emma Thompson, Alison Owen, Stephen Frears, Judi Dench and Steve Coogan, Steve McQueen, Chiwetol Ejiofor, Alfonso Cuaron, David Heyman, Sandra Bullock, Joel & Ethan Coen, Carey Mulligan, Oscar Isaac, Ralph Fiennes, Abdellatif Kechiche, Lea Seydoux, Adele Excharchopoulos, Alain Guiraudie, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Alexander Payne, Lukas Moodysson.

The final show will be the European Premiere of Disney's Saving Mr. Banks, which will close the festival continuing the initiative from last year with the Closing Night Red Carpet event and screening being screened simultaneously to cinemas across the UK.

Saving Mr Banks

Hope you can all make it, and we look forward very much to seeing you there.

All copyrights to images remain the property of their respective owners.

The 66th Festival de Cannes

Festival of Cannes Logo Cannes has come around again and this Wednesday (15th) sees the 66th festival kick-off with 'The Great Gatsby' officially opening the annual event.

Regarded as the leading festival in the cinema industry's calender,  Baz Luhrman's 1920s 3D extravaganza starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan, will be the glamorous focus of the most high-profile function of the fortnight.

The Great Gatsby Poster

This years festival will see 'The Selfish Giant', the second film from British director Clio Barnard, who made 'The Arbor', playing in the Directors' Fortnight. With 'For Those In Peril', the debut film from the Scottish film-maker Paul Wright screening as part of Critics' Week. We also look forward to seeing Stephen Frears's film, 'Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight' which we created the title sequences for, screening out of the main competition.

Festival organisers also announced that the latest film 'Only Lovers Left Alive' by Jim Jarmusch, who made is name in 1984 with 'Stranger Than Paradise', will be running for the Palme D'Or, the first time since his 2005 entry, 'Broken Flowers'.

An absolute delight too to see Saul Bass's 1958 title sequence for Alfred Hitchcock's 'Vertigo', being screened as the film plays in Cannes Classics.

Vertigo

Here's the list of the films In Competition this year:

'The Great Gatsby' - Baz Luhrmann 'Un Château En Italie' (A Castle in Italy) - Valeria Bruni Tedeschi 'Inside Llewyn Davis' - Ethan and Joel Coen 'Michael Kohlhaas' - Arnaud des Pallières 'Jimmy P.' (Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian) - Arnaud Desplechin 'Heli' - Amat Escalante 'Le Passé' (The Past) - Asghar Farhadi 'The Immigrant' - James Gray 'Grigris' - Mahamat-Saleh Haroun 'Only Lovers Left Alive' - Jim Jarmusch 'Tian Zhu Ding' (A Touch of Sin) - Jia Zhangke 'Soshite Chichi In Naru' (Like Father, Like Son) - Kore-eda Hirokazu 'La Vie D'Adele - Chapitre 1 & 2' (Blue is the Warmest Color) - Abdellatif Kechiche 'Wara No Tate' (Shield of Straw) - Takashi Mike 'Jeune & Jolie' (Young & Beautiful) - Françoise Ozon 'Nebraska' - Alexander Payne 'La Vénus À La Fourrure' (Venus in Fur) - Roman Polanski 'Behind The Candelabra' - Steven Soderbergh 'La Grande Bellezza' (The Great Beauty) - Paolo Sorrentino 'Borgman' - Alex Van Warmerdam 'Only God Forgives' - Nicolas Winding Refn

Stephen Frears - Only British Film at Cannes

1982 Ali at Cannes We're delighted to see that our latest film 'Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight' which we've created the titles for, is screening as the only British Film at this years Festival de Cannes (15th to 26th May).

Directed by Stephen Frears for HBO and Rainmark Films, and starring Benjamin Walker, Christopher Plummer, Danny Glover and Frank Langella. The film is about the boxer's refusal to fight in the Vietnam war and the apparent revenge taken on him by the US government.

We look forward very much to the festival and sharing with you more news on the film.

Original Photo by © Richard Melloul/Sygma/Corbis, Colour treatment © Richard Morrison

Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight

Champion. We are knocked out to be able to announce, that Dean and I have been given a unanimous decision to start working on the title sequence for Stephen Frears's new film 'Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight'. Following a screening at Wired in the old Channel 4 building in Soho yesterday, to which I attended with Editor Mick Audsley and Stephen to discuss. The bell has dinged for us to come out fighting straight away.

Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight

Produced by HBO Films and Rainmark Films, the film tells the story of Ali's biggest match, his fight with the US government for refusing to fight in the Vietnam War.

Starring Benjamin Walker, Christopher Plummer, Frank Langella and Danny Glover. 'Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight' follows the politics and hubris surrounding the war and the revenge exacted on America's greatest sportsman of the 20th century for his decision.

We look forward to being able to share our progress with you as we proceed.