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.


ACE Nominations Announced

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Below the Line, Editing, Events, Movies, Tech | Leave a comment

The American Cinema Editors (ACE) announced nominations for the 63rd annual Eddie Awards, with Argo, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Skyfall, and Zero Dark Thirty headlining dramatic feature and Brave, Frankenweenie, Rise of the Guardians, and Wreck-It Ralph leading for animated feature (a tie resulted in four nominees instead of three). Read more

Immersed in Oscars 2013: Life of Pi Rules Tech Noms

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Below the Line, Cinematography, Costume, Editing, Events, James Bond, Movies, Music, Oscar, performance capture, previs, Production Design, Tech, VFX, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

Life of Pi not only grabbed 11 nominations (second only to Lincoln’s 12), including best picture, but Ang Lee’s spiritual epic also dominated the tech categories with eight nods for cinematography, production design, editing, VFX, sound editing and mixing, original score, and original song — “Pi’s Lullaby.” Read more

Talking Zero Dark Thirty Editing

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

Dylan Tichenor and William Goldenberg help put us right there in the decade-long manhunt to get Osama bin Laden in Zero Dark Thirty. I recently spoke with the two editors about the acclaimed, if controversial Oscar contender directed by Kathryn Bigelow. Read more

Tinker Tailor Wins International Online Critics Poll

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

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was the big winner in the latest poll conducted by the International Online Film Critics (from November 2010-November 2012), topping seven categories, including best film, best director (Tomas Alfredson), and best actor in a leading role (Gary Oldman). Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master was second best with four nods, including best supporting actor (Philip Seymour Hoffman), best supporting actress (Amy Adams), and best original screenplay. Read more

International Online Critics Release Noms

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

The International Online Critics has released the results of its latest poll (the best movies from 2010-2012). The nominations include two of this year’s Oscar contenders, Lincoln and The Master. The winners will be announced after the Dec. 15 deadline. Read more

Autodesk Comes out Smoking at NAB

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

NAB started out auspiciously today with Autodesk’s important announcement that Smoke 2013 is not only completely redesigned for the average editor — and not just the VFX pro — but that it also offers all of its high-end features at an affordable new price of $3,495 (a substantial drop from $15,000) . Autodesk Smoke 2013 video editing software is repackaged with an easier interface for a fall release as an all-in-one tool for the Mac.

“Autodesk combined over 20 years of visual effects leadership and customer feedback to create video editing and effects software that serves the current and evolving marketplace for high-quality video content. Early feedback has been gratifyingly enthusiastic,” said Marc Petit, SVP, Autodesk Media & Entertainment.

A recent Autodesk-commissioned survey of film and video production companies found that editors and studio owners are grappling with limited budgets, file management complexity, and tight project timelines. Of the respondents, 42% cited dealing with different file formats as one of the biggest challenges with current editing and finishing tools. In the survey, 82% called out Smoke software’s support for HD and higher resolution formats, and 60% its all-in-one package as the most valuable features to help combat production complexity and streamline their post-production workflow. The research illuminated a thriving professional video market with more Hollywood blockbuster-quality content required for web, new mobile platforms, interactive advertising, and traditional broadcast.

The professional video market is eagerly awaiting an improved post-production workflow and demanding pipeline efficiency. The new all-in-one Smoke, with its unified editing and effects workflow, can be that tool. Smoke can help editors simplify their workflow, centrally manage their media, work interactively with high-res media throughout their projects, and deliver high-end content.

To watch live streaming and on demand presentations from the Autodesk NAB booth, including Evan Schechtman’s integrated Final Cut Pro X to Smoke workflow for Grey Goose vodka, visit

Key Features
–The Smoke User Interface
(UI): An intuitive all-in-one creative workflow that combines track-based editorial, industry-standard editing conventions and proven Autodesk creative tools.
–ConnectFX: Powerful node-based compositing inside the timeline for high-end effects and advanced compositing without leaving the editorial environment.
–Creative Tools: A robust toolset with proven high-end finishing tools, Action for true 3D compositing, the Color Warper for professional grading and color matching, the Master Keyer for one-click chroma keying and stereoscopic 3-D editing and VFX.
–MediaHub: A modern approach to working natively with the most common formats that facilitates managing all project media from ingest to edit to effects and archiving.
–Lower System Requirements: Runs on the most recent generation of Apple iMac and MacBook Pro systems using high-bandwidth Thunderbolt storage and IO bringing true high-end video effects to flexible desktop and mobile workflows.

Jaws Goes Blu Aug. 14

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Below the Line, Blu-ray, Clips, Editing, Home Entertainment, Movies, Music, Oscar, Tech, Trailers | Leave a comment

Jaws makes its long-awaited Blu-ray debut Aug. 14 from Universal Home part of the studio’s 100th anniversary celebration, boasting full digital restoration and 7.1 DTS-HD Master audio. Steven Spielberg’s first commercial mega-hit ushered in the summer blockbuster, grabbing more than $470 million globally and earning three Academy Awards for editing, sound, and score.

Jaws is one of 13 classic Universal films to be digitally remastered and fully restored from 35mm original film elements for the studio’s centenary. Throughout the course of several months, skilled technicians at Universal Studios Digital Services meticulously balanced color, removed dirt and scratches, and repaired any damage to the film elements shot by shot and frame by frame. Following the picture restoration, Universal Studios Sound team up-mixed the iconic soundtrack from John Williams to 7.1 DTS-HD Master audio. The entire restoration process was conducted in conjunction with Spielberg and Amblin Ent.’s post-production team to ensure the integrity of the director’s original vision remained intact.

Blu-ray Bonus Features:

  • The Shark is Still Working: The Impact & Legacy of Jaws: All-new feature-length documentary featuring never-before-seen footage and interviews with cast and crew including Steven Spielberg, Richard Dreyfuss, and Roy Scheider.
  • Jaws: The Restoration: An all-new, in-depth look at the intricate process of restoring the movie.
  • The Making of Jaws: A two-hour documentary featuring interviews with key cast and crew.
  • From the Set: An insider’s look at life on the set of Jaws, featuring an interview with Steven Spielberg.
  • Deleted Scenes & Outtakes
  • Jaws Archives: Take a peek inside the Jaws archives, including storyboards, production photos and marketing materials, as well as a special segment on the Jaws phenomenon.
  • Original Theatrical Trailer
  • UltraViolet: The new way for consumers to collect movies and TV shows, store them in the cloud, and download and stream instantly to computers, tablets and smartphones. Currently available in the United States only.
  • Digital Copy: Viewers can redeem a digital version of the full-length movie from a choice of retail partners to watch on an array of electronic and portable devices.
  • pocket BLU App: The popular free pocket BLU app for smartphones is now even better with newly updated versions for iPad, Android(TM) tablets, PC, and Macintosh computers, with features made especially to take advantage of the devices’ larger screens and high resolution displays.
  • Advanced Remote Control: A sleek, elegant new way to operate your Blu-ray player. Users can navigate through menus, playback, and BD-Live functions with ease.
  • Video Timeline: Users can easily bring up the video timeline, allowing them to instantly access any point in the film.
  • Mobile-To-Go: Users can unlock a selection of bonus content with their Blu-ray discs to save to their device or to stream from anywhere there is a Wi-Fi network, enabling them to enjoy content on the go, anytime, anywhere.
  • Browse Titles: Users will have access to a complete list of pocket BLU-enabled titles available and coming to Blu-ray. They can view free previews and see what additional content is available to unlock on their device.
  • Keyboard: Entering data is fast and easy with your device’s intuitive keyboard.
  • BD-LIVE: Access the BD-Live Center through your Internet-connected player to access the latest trailers, exclusive content, and more!

DVD Bonus Features:

  • Spotlight on Location: The Making of Jaws: Highlights from the full-length documentary featuring interviews with key cast and crew.

Klyce Talks Dragon Tattoo Sound

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Below the Line, Books, Clips, Editing, Movies, Music, Oscar, Tech, VFX | Leave a comment

I spoke with Oscar-nominated sound designer Ren Klyce about The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo for my TOH column at Indiewire. The underlying soundscape is a freezing, unsettling horror that perfectly complements the creepy, graphic imagery. The feeling of melting snow was prevalent everywhere and so your ear accepted it as being the same place because it’s freezing. But it’s the surreal sounds that were most intriguing, including the mugging of Salander in the subway, culminating with her beating up her assailant on the escalator. Fincher wanted the sound to carry the violence with a screeching terror.

The Descendants, The Artist, Rango Take Eddies

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Animation, Below the Line, Editing, Movies, Oscar | Leave a comment

The Descendants, The Artist, and Rango took top editing honors at last night’s 62nd Annual ACE Eddie Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

The Descendants, (edited by Kevin Tent, A.C.E.) and The Artist (edited by Anne-Sophie Bion & Michel Hazanavicius) won Best Edited Feature Film (Drama) and Best Edited Feature Film (Comedy or Musical), and Rango (edited by Craig Wood, A.C.E.) won Best Edited Animated Feature Film.

Rango Grabs 5 Annies

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

Rango was the top winner at last night’s Annie Awards from ASIFA-Hollywood at UCLA’s Royce Hall. The surreal lizard comedy directed by Gore Verbinski and animated by ILM nabbed five awards, including best animated feature. But the wealth was spread around quite evenly, with eight films splitting the 12 feature awards, including two for DreamWorks’ Kung Fu Panda 2, (such as best director for Jennifer Yuh Nelson); and two for Steven Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin, animated by Weta Digital.

It was a surreal evening hosted by Patton Oswalt (Remy from Ratatouille), who quipped his way during scripted and unscripted moments, such as when the wrong envelope was opened for one of the TV winners. There was even fun parody of Oswald’s Young Adult with Remy.

Winnie the Pooh, Rio and Arthur Christmas each received one award, as did the live-action films Transformers: Dark of the Moon and Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which were honored for animated elements.

Rango also won the new Members’ Favorite Award, which is voted on by the entire ASIFA-Hollywood membership, including student and affiliate members. The other awards are chosen by select committees of professionals in the field.

As far as the TV categories, The Simpsons was named Best General Audience Animated TV Production, while Disney’s Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice won four awards. Other TV winners included The Amazing World of Gumball, Disney Jake and the Never Land Pirates, Secret Mountain Fort Awesome and The Penguins of Madagascar. In one of the biggest surprises, Adam and Dog by Minkyu Lee took the short award over the National Film Board of Canada’s Sunday and Wild Life.



Best Animated Feature
Rango – Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies present A Blind Wink/GK Films Production

Annie Award for Best Animated Special Production
Kung Fu Panda – Secrets of the Masters – DreamWorks Animation

Best Animated Short Subject
Adam and Dog – Minkyu Lee

Best Animated Television Commercial
Twinings “Sea” – Psyop

Best General Audience Animated TV Production
The Simpsons – Gracie Films

Best Animated Television Production – Preschool
Disney Jake and the Never Land Pirates – Disney Television Animation

Best Animated Video Game
Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet – Shadow Planet Productions, Gagne/Fuelcell


Animated Effects in an Animated Production
Kevin Romond “Tintin” – Amblin Entertainment, Wingnut Films and Kennedy/Marshall

Animated Effects in a Live Action Production
Florent Andorra “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” – Industrial Light & Magic

Character Animation in a Television Production
Tony Smeed “Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice” – Walt Disney Animation Studios

Character Animation in a Feature Production
Jeff Gabor “Rio” – Blue Sky Studios

Character Animation in a Live Action Production
Eric Reynolds “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” – 20th Century Fox

Character Design in a Television Production
Bill Schwab “Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice” – Walt Disney Animation Studios

Character Design in a Feature Production
Mark “Crash” McCreery “Rango” – Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies present A Blind Wink/GK Films Production

Directing in a Television Production
Matthew Nastuk “The Simpsons” – Gracie Films

Directing in a Feature Production
Jennifer Yuh Nelson “Kung Fu Panda 2” – DreamWorks Animation

Music in a Television Production
Grace Potter, Michael Giacchino “Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice” – Walt Disney Animation Studios

Music in a Feature Production
John Williams “Tintin” – Amblin Entertainment, Wingnut Films and Kennedy/Marshall

Production Design in a Television Production
Mark Bodnar, Chris Tsirgiotis, Sue Mondt and Daniel Elson “Secret Mountain Fort Awesome” – Cartoon Network Studios

Production Design in a Feature Production
Raymond Zibach “Kung Fu Panda 2” – DreamWorks Animation

Storyboarding in a Television Production
Brian Kesinger “Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice” – Walt Disney Animation Studios

Storyboarding in a Feature Production
Jeremy Spears “Winnie The Pooh” – Walt Disney Animation Studios

Voice Acting in a Television Production
Jeff Bennett as Kowalski “Penguins of Madagascar” – Nickelodeon and DreamWorks Animation

Voice Acting in a Feature Production
Bill Nighy as Grandsanta “Arthur Christmas” – Sony Pictures Animation, Aardman Animations

Writing in a Television Production
Carolyn Omine “The Simpsons -Treehouse of Horror XXII” – Gracie Films

Writing in a Feature Production
John Logan, Gore Verbinski and James Byrkit “Rango” – Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies present A Blind Wink/GK Films Productions

Editing in Television Production
Ted Machold, Jeff Adams, Doug Tiano, Bob Tomlin “Penguins of Madagascar” – Nickelodeon and DreamWorks Animation

Editing in a Feature Production
Craig Wood, A.C.E. “Rango” – Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies present
A Blind Wink/GK Films Production


Winsor McCay Award —Walt Peregoy, Borge Ring, Ronald Searle
June Foray — Art Leonardi
Special Achievement — Depth Analysis