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

The Boxtrolls Grabs 13 Annie Nominations

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Annies, Below the Line, Events, Movies, Music, Production Design, stop-motion, Tech, VFX, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

Laika’s stop-motion The Boxtrolls led ASIFA-Hollywood’s 42nd annual Annie Awards with 13 nominations, bolstering its chances for an Oscar nom, followed by DreamWorks’ How to Train Your Dragon 2 with 10 noms (both will compete for best animated feature). The winners will be announced Saturday, Jan. 31st, 2015 at UCLA’s Royce Hall at 7:00 pm. Read more

Creating Ballroom Dancing in The Boxtrolls

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

Without a doubt, the exquisite ballroom dance sequence from The Boxtrolls (a romantic interlude combined with a frantic chase and culminating with public humiliation) was the most difficult to pull off, particularly in stop-motion. It required special planning, some creative experimentation, and extra effort from all the departments. And the sequence is enhanced by Dario Marianelli’s pretty waltz (watch the exclusive “Let’s Dance” making of featurette below, with the David Bowie cover composed by McKenzie Stubbert). Read more

Trailering Peanuts from Blue Sky

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

Watch an army of Woodstocks getting into the holiday spirit by decorating Snoopy’s doghouse in the first trailer for Blue Sky’s Peanuts (Nov. 6, 2015). Read more

Nathan Crowley Talks Designing Interstellar

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

Designing wormholes, black-holes and other space-time-bending phenomena was a first for production designer Nathan Crowley, who approached Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar like a kid in a candy store. Read more

Trailering More Into the Woods

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Below the Line, Cinematography, Costume, Movies, Music, Oscar, previs, Production Design, Tech, Trailers, VFX, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

Get a greater glimpse of Stephen Sondheim’s musical masterpiece, Into the Woods (Dec. 25), which explores the dark side of  ”I wish.” Read more

The Force Awakens in Star Wars

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

While announcing that principal photography has completed for J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: Episode VII, starwars.com let it be known that the complete title is The Force Awakens. Read more

Clipping Interstellar Useless Machines

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

One of the themes of Interstellar is rediscovering the spirit of adventure and invention from the 20th century. Watch this clip in which Matthew McConaughey finds out that the public school system has obliterated NASA from the history books by claiming the Apollo missions were a hoax to bankrupt the Soviet Union. Read more

World Building The Rilao Project at USC

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Below the Line, Education, Events, Festivals, Movies, Music, Production Design, Tech, Videogames, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

USC 5D returned last Saturday with “The Rilao Project” at the 2014 Science of Fiction Festival, spearheaded by award-winning production designer and USC School of Cinematic Arts Professor Alex McDowell. I participated in the international one-day investigation, creating the fictional city of Rilao, a world build based on a mash-up of the DNA of Los Angeles and Rio. Read more

Immersed in Blu-ray: Dr. Caligari and The Innocents

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Below the Line, Blu-ray, Books, Cinematography, Clips, Movies, Production Design, Screenwriting, Tech, Trailers | Leave a comment

Just in time for Halloween, we have the psychological horror of two masterpieces to experience in digitally-restored Blu-ray: Robert Wiene’s The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari from Eureka’s Masters of Cinema, and Jack Clayton’s The Innocents from Criterion. Read more

Clipping Into the Woods with a Singing Streep

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Below the Line, Cinematography, Clips, Costume, Editing, Makeup/Hair, Movies, Music, previs, Production Design, Sound, Tech, VFX, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

The new featurette for Into the Woods (Dec. 25) finally embraces its musical strengths and explains more about the fairy tale mash-up. We get to hear Meryl Streep’s Witch sing the sorrowful  ”Stay with Me.” Read more