It's the dream of every VFX house to make movies. A few have managed to do so, but for most of them it remains a tantalizing possibility.
So it's signficant that New Deal Studios, an artist-owned and operated VFX facility in Marina Del Rey, CA, has announced its first co-production, 100 Feet, a thriller that premieres tomorrow (Sunday, April 26) on the Sci-Fi Channel, followed by a DVD release thorugh Hollywood Video on Tuesday, April 28th.
In 100 Feet, a woman, played by Famke Janssen, is under house arrest for killing her abusive husband in self-defense. While confined to a 100-foot perimeter of her house, she discovers the house is haunted by the ghost of her dead husband. Producer Jonathan Sanger and his partners at Grand Illusions brought New Deal co-founder Matthew Gratzner in as the film's visual effects supervisor. Since VFX–chiefly but not entirely the ghostly husband–played a very important role in the production, Gratzner became co-producer.
New Deal Studios was faced with creating a CG ghost that was both frightening but also had realistic qualities. Gratzner traveled with the film crew to Hungary to supervise VFX for the first unit photography. In the post production stage, New Deal Studios completed oer 220 digital effects shots for the film in an eight-week period, with a limited budet.
At the same time, Gratzner worked with the editor to re-cut the film, designed and shot several inserts, supervised the DI, title design and poster design, and created a new sequence for the picture's very last scene. That was tricky because Famke was no longer available. Gratzner combined editing, shot design and some 2nd unit photography and compositing to make it work.
In business for 14 years, New Deal Studios continues to work on studio films; past credits include The Dark Night and Terminator Salvation. They also provided VFX for the upcoming Martin Scorsese film Shutter Island.
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