The Big Picture

Mandorla, as the name suggests, is about a unity of opposites at its core, centered on Ernesto, a seeker for a meaningful life despite his conflicting inner and outer worlds.

Our working trailers are the quickest measure of the film: 

California trailer

 French trailer

Over 20,000 plays on Vimeo so far

Mandorla follows Ernesto, an American video maker drawn by dark and magical visions to a medieval French city where he seeks an illusive banker to help him understand this mysterious calling that has cost him his career and now threatens his family and sanity.

This site is for you to discover and follow Mandorla (independent and low budget by necessity) as it's being made. We have written, shot, and are now editing the film. Release date: 2014. Stay tuned, and follow regular updates on our Facebook page.

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Sunday
Aug242014

Three seconds that matter

In the film there's a brief scene where Ernesto sends out a potentially life changing email asking for the support he needs to answer his calling.

Naturally, there needs to be a shot of the email actually going out, right? Well, when we shot the scene many months ago we focused on the "bigger" shots in the scene, because we knew a simple screen shot could be done as an "insert" anytime. We have computers in front of us all day, and a camera within reach.

As you might guess, months flew by as we edited and we never got this shot. We had a "placeholder" image in the edit that simply said "video uploaded and emailed." Every time we came across it in the edit Liz, our wise exec producer, would ask "When are you going to get that shot?" And I would always respond, "Don't worry, it only takes a minute, and we don't really need it right now." We finished our sound mix at Skywalker with that graphic in place. Liz asked about it again and I responded "Well. It doesn't matter for sound."

It does matter for color grading. And we started our color grade without it. We finished the main photography color grade without it. On the last day of grading you tend to heap the remaining elements on a "pick-up reel" so that they get the right color to match the film. This email shot had to be on it.

The problem with shooting a computer screen is that it's incredibly boring. I am loath to shoot boring shots, so there's the challenge. I thought about it and then reached for the camera and a common, inexpensive, 50mm macro lens. Macro lenses are brilliant for close-up shots of small things, and not making ordinary things boring.

You could go into a Burger King with a macro lens and make art. Not that you should.



While these shots may not be art (they were shot on the screen I am typing this on) they are at least not-boring to me. And they made the color-grade last week. Thank god. And Liz. It's in the film and will fly by in 3 seconds, probably unnoticed by most people. Except you. YOU, having read all this, probably will notice it!

This is my round-about way of sharing what goes into making an ordinary moment in the film. And how necessity usually throws procrastination out the window!

Truth is, this is also my way of thanking everyone for coming to this blog. We're getting a lot of traffic and interest of late, and our Facebook page seem to have caught fire. 



In the last few days our Facebook page "likes" have rocketed from 400 to now 1460, and climbing!!

Truly, that is Mandorla MOVEMENT.

It makes us feel like we are starting to connect to the audience for Mandorla!

Thank you all so much. These are exciting times with more adventures ahead!

Saturday
Aug162014

Final color and conform - light at the end of the portal! 

A peek at one of our favorite sequences in Mandorla. Just arrived from Jordan Freda and his company of artists in the wild..

We are on track to finish the film by the end of August. Very, very excited with how everything is elegantly refining and coming together in a moving way.

Here's a quick update, desite our tight budget and schedule we've managed so far to:

- wrap up an amazing sound mix at Skywalker with Zach Martin (Fruitvale Station, Benjamin Button), Shaun Farley, and Randy Thom (2 Academy Awards)

- nearly finished with our beautiful color grade  with digital color timer, Kent Pritchett (Star Wars III and Academy Award winning Paperman), our art director and exec producer Liz Holdship, and veteran post-master Kim Salyer with Color A-Go-Go at 32TEN Studios.

- VFX shots are wrapping up nicely. Thanks go out to Jordan Freda and his company of fine artists.

- the sound track is absolutley absorbing and otherworldly. Very grateful to our composers and artists: Robert Rich, Vincent Villuis, AES Dana, Michael Stearns, Andrew Souter, Radio Citizen, Zinovia Arvanitidi, Solar Fields, and Hol Baumann.

- will finish our conform with assistant editor Mauricio Balvanera by 25 August

More exciting news is developing, will share soon!

Onward to the finish here in and around San Francisco!!

Sunday
Jul272014

MIXING IT UP AT SKYWALKER

 

Mixing it up at Skywalker Sound... with Zach Martin (Skywalker mixer), Shaun Farley (our sound supervisor and editor), Liz Holdship (our dear Executive Producer and Art Director), and yours truly.

In four intense days we covered our four reels (everything except the credits reel).

Back into it on Monday... after a bit of well-earned rest for all.

Wednesday
Jul162014

LOCKING PICTURE AND SOUND!!

The last six months have been an explosion of work on Mandorla.

We honed our edit and storytelling, brought together some beautifully fitting music, and now have an exceptional team together to finish this moving film.  

We've worked hard to finish important details and are locking down our sound reels as we prepare to start our mix this month at venerable Skywalker Sound.

Special Effects are also coming together in some fantastic ways from friends in LA, France, and San Francisco. Wish we could show you more pictures but don't want to give too much away. Stay tuned!

Right after sound comes final color correction in August then we're off to film festivals.  Will keep you posted! Be sure to "like" our Facebook Page for more frequent updates!

 

Tuesday
Nov052013

ONE FRAME TO TELL THE STORY

A couple of days ago I had the impulse to work on the design for the poster for the film. Here's the result of my collaboration with Liz.

We found this advice from seasoned designer Niel Kellerhouse helpful:

"I view the “poster” (or making a single representative image) as a necessary exercise. In the same way a successful logo is a single image that represents a large company, it communicates a message about themselves, who they are and what they do. Likewise a poster should sum up what it is you want to message, sell or communicate about your film. Not in 24 frames, not 30 seconds, but one frame. You have one frame to tell me about your film. This process helps bring you to a clearer more concise communication with what it is you're trying to sell. Whether this single image or frame is manifested as a poster, an electronic ad, a billboard, a DVD cover, etc. it doesn't matter. It will directly inform all your ad media."

It's our first draft on a poster. We're now back to editing the actual film (at 24 frames per second).

Stay tuned.

Roberto