This past June, the city of Provincetown, Mass., held its 16th Annual Provincetown Film Festival (PFF), which is dedicated to showcasing new achievements in film and honoring the work of acclaimed and emerging directors, producers and actors. This year’s theme: Film Noir.
Gasket Studios, a Minneapolis-based design, animation and VFX company, was tasked with producing a stylized 3D-animated sponsor reel for the festival, which they pulled off in spades. Written and directed by Alex Boatman, The Oystercatcher Catcher, was inspired by the film noir theme as well as Pecker, the official PFF mascot. The delightful animated story reveals that Pecker is no ordinary fedora-wearing private-eye. He is actually a thief.
“Gasket took this year’s sponsor reel to imaginative new heights,” says Andrew Peterson, PFF director of production. “Not only does it embody the caliber of creativity and storytelling our festival celebrates, but also it’s a cleverly fun ode to this year’s film noir theme, which we chose to honor the late Evan Lawson, former president of the Provincetown Film Society Board of Directors, who was a huge fan of the genre.”
“The client directive was specific about staying true to the original Pecker illustration in the festival promotions, as well as portraying his irreverent personality,” remarks Boatman. “Otherwise, they were very open to our ideas and encouraging with their feedback, which allowed us to focus our time on refining the artistic whole of the film.”
Boatman first researched the tradition of film noir – vintage and modern – to create a reference library of images and videos for inspiration. After exploring common themes like jealousy, adultery and betrayal, she settled on the genre’s most iconic and powerful storytelling device: the detective.
Aspiring to translate the instantly recognizable aesthetics of film noir though animation, she imagined a painterly 3D world. A restrained color palette, which was desaturated to virtually black and white, maintains the film’s vintage look. Heightening the mystery and atmosphere, Gasket employed digital lighting and shadows to create fog, mist, street and sign lighting. Feather-textured vignettes enhance the dark, grungy mood of the story’s bird-infested world.
Sit back. Relax. And enjoy.
The Oystercatcher Catcher, Provincetown Film Festival 2014 sponsor reel from Gasket Studios on Vimeo.
The Oystercatcher Catcher created by Gasket Studios
Director: Alex Boatman
Creative Director: Greg Shultz
Producer: Eric Mueller
Technical Director: Justin Greiner
Look Artist: Tiffany Borchardt
Animation: Brad Jacobson
Modeling: Brad Jacobson, John Zilka
Rigging: Alex Boatman, Justin Greiner
Simulation: John Zilka
Additional Backgrounds: Jenna Workman
Music by Ken Brahmstedt
Sound Design and Mix by Dan Kramer
Mixed at BWN Music