The Big Picture

Mandorla follows Ernesto, a visual artist and seeker stuck in a corporate video job, who is drawn by dark and magical visions to a medieval French city. There he seeks an illusive banker to help him unlock an obscure dream, deep within him, that threatens to alter his job, family, and sanity.

Working trailers: 

California trailer

 French trailer

Over 21,000 plays on Vimeo so far

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 edited the film, and are now preparing it for release in 2015. Follow regular updates on our Facebook page.

 

Follow the Film
Monday
Oct272014

poster update!!

It seems creating a movie poster is as much a process as making the film itself. We spent a couple of hours this past weekend working on it.  To be honest, it was a fun break away from the clunky title tool, at least I know Photoshop better. 

As you can tell, we lightened the poster up a lot more compared to the last version (which now seems heavy in retrospect). The overall feel is meant to convey a sense of "an ordinary guy on a spiritual journey to a magical place." The travel stamps are from my own passport—from a trip to Honduras, mainly to visit family at their hacienda near Santa Rosa de Copan.

The buildings in the center are taken from an opening shot in the film, a view over the Saone river toward St. Jean in Lyon. But you won't see this view in reality, only in the film, and this poster.

Important to leave some mystique in place!

Monday
Oct272014

It's the beginning of the end... credits!!

Good news! We're working on the end credits! Putting in and remembering the legions of people who came together to help us make this miracle of a film together is a rewarding experience. Brings up lots of memories.

The other good news is that, these days, we can create a nice looking title-sequence right in our own editing system. The challenge is that this title tool is, like a lot of professional cinema software, very clunky. I should probably say "specialized." You have to get into it, explore it, learn it, and make a lot of mistakes. The mistakes are easy. They burn up a lot of time, and test one's patience, before you finally get a handle on it. It's a process I've come to embrace. Mostly.

The best part, honestly, is designing the look and feel of the credits with Liz, our art director and guardian of colors. Red and black, rouge et noir, along with white and gray have been our theme colors for some time. Notice them on this site?

Working in a sense of light and shadow in the gradient of the font color is, as you might have guessed, reflective of Mandorla's theme.

There's also another element to the titles that we like a lot but you'll have to wait to see in motion at the end of the film--something also "reflective." Look for it right at the start of the credits.

Back to work here, many "paragraphs" of credits to go. Maybe after I work with this clunky title tool a while longer it won't be so clunky? Regardless of the tool, the final credits will look smooth, and a lot of you who worked on and helped the film will see your name there, elegantly scrollng by.

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.