Getting More Immersed with Indiewire


  The Penske Media purchase of Indiewire has resulted in an expansion of my role as crafts and awards season contributor.  Beginning this week, I begin Emmy coverage of below-the-line contenders along with my usual Oscar season crafts reporting, working closely

Immersed in Blu-ray: Hitchcock and Bogart


The WB Archive Collection gets Hitch and Bogie on Blu-ray and they've never looked better for home viewing. In Kent Jones' indispensable doc, Hitchcock/Truffaut, he reminds us that Truffaut was on a mission to correct misconceptions about Hitch as a lightweight

Immersed in Books: Farber on Film


For the first time, the complete writings of film critic Manny Farber is available from Library of America, edited by Robert Polito (Savage Art: A Biography of Jim Thompson). Manny Farber (1917-2008) was the first modernist film critic to write like a modernist.

Production Design

10 Oscar Takeaways from Animation and Crafts Noms

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Animation, Below the Line, Cinematography, Costume, Editing, Events, Makeup/Hair, Movies, Music, Oscar, performance capture, previs, Production Design, Sound, stop-motion, Tech, VFX, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

A Lego Movie snubbing and Grand Budapest Hotel grabbing six craft noms highlight my Oscar analysis. Read more

Rick Heinrichs Talks Big Eyes Design

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Below the Line, Movies, Production Design | Leave a comment

The BAFTA-nominated production designer had fun recreating San Francisco on the cultural cusp in Tim Burton’s Big Eyes. Read more

ADG Announces Production Design Noms

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Below the Line, Movies, Production Design, Tech | Leave a comment

The Art Directors Guild announced Production Design nominations. The black-tie ceremony revealing winners will take place on Jan. 31st at the Beverly Hilton with comedian Owen Benjamin serving as host. Read more

Turning Into the Woods into a Post-9/11 Metaphor

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Below the Line, Cinematography, Clips, Costume, Editing, Movies, Music, Oscar, Production Design, Sound, Tech | Leave a comment

Into the Woods should score several key craft noms, with production designer Dennis Gassner and costume designer Colleen Atwood the favorites to win again. Read more

Craft-Talking the A-List Team for Unbroken

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Below the Line, Clips, Costume, Editing, Movies, Music, Production Design, Sound, Tech, Trailers, VFX | Leave a comment

Angelina Jolie lined up an A-list crafts team who delivered their best work on Unbroken. Read more

Dissecting the Dragon 2 Cave Scene

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Below the Line, Clips, Movies, Oscar, Production Design, Tech, VFX, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

The Valka (Cate Blanchett) reveal in the dragon cave is one of the crucial scenes in the Oscar-contending How to Train Your Dragon 2 (watch the clip below). Thematically and visually it embodies everything that’s significant about Dean DeBlois’  ambitious vision for the trilogy, and it couldn’t have been possible without DreamWorks’ new Apollo platform (including Premo animation software and the Torch lighting and renderer).  I discuss the scene in a roundtable discussion with DeBlois, animation supervisor Simon Otto, production designer Pierre-Olivier Vincent, and VFX supervisor Dave Walvoord. Read more

First Look at The Jungle Book from Disney/Favreau

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Below the Line, Books, Cinematography, Movies, previs, Production Design, Tech, VFX, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

Get a glimpse of the first concept art from Disney’s hybrid re-imagining of The Jungle Book (Oct. 9, 2015), directed by Jon Favreau (ChefIron ManElf). Read more

Production Design Secrets Behind Fantastic Five

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Below the Line, Movies, Oscar, Production Design, Tech, Trailers | Leave a comment

Superhero movies aren’t the only opportunities for fantastical world-building. In fact, five awards contenders (Birdman, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Interstellar, Into the Woods, and Noah) utilize very special environments as backdrops in the epic struggle to save the world, for redemption, or to recapture a more civilized way of life. All five movies are mythic, rites-of-passage experiences: experimental, metaphoric and very relevant in these trying times. Read more

Cracking the Alan Turing Code of Imitation Game

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Below the Line, Cinematography, Clips, Costume, Editing, Movies, Oscar, Production Design, Tech, Trailers | Leave a comment

In an awards season dominated by biopics, The Imitation Game is the most unconventional, flashing forward and back to decode the enigmatic mathematician, scientist and spy Alan Turing, played by the Oscar-buzzy Benedict Cumberbatch. Read more

Kondo and Tsutsumi Talk Dam Keeper Short

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Animation, Below the Line, Clips, Movies, Oscar, Production Design, Shorts, Tech, Trailers | Leave a comment

The Dam Keeper, Oscar shortlisted for best animated short, Annie-nominated, and winner of 25 festival awards, blends traditional hand-drawn animation with lush brushstrokes to bring a Dutch-inspired folk tale to life (watch the making of featurette below) . It was directed by former Pixar art directors Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi (Monsters UniversityToy Story 3). Narrated by Danish actor Lars Mikkelsen (Sherlock,  The Killing), the short is set in a desolate future, one small town’s survival is solely due to a large windmill dam that acts as a fan to keep out poisonous clouds. Despite bullying from classmates and an indifferent public, the dam’s operator, Pig, works tirelessly to keep the sails spinning in order to protect the town. Read more