T&F and Valiant splash out for Vilcek Foundation
Valiant Pictures has teamed up with Thornberg & Forester (T&F) to produce a organic new cinematic ident for the Vilcek Foundation, a leading US cultural institution in the arts and sciences. The ident will have its theatrical premiere at the 33rd annual Hawaii International Film Festival, opening on 10 October, where it will introduce all of the short and feature films sponsored by the Vilcek Foundation as a part of its New American Filmmakers section.
The mission of the Foundation is to honour the contributions of foreign-born scholars and artists living in the United States. It hosts events to promote the work of immigrants, awards annual prizes to prominent immigrant biomedical scientists and artists, and sponsors cultural programs such as the Hawaii International Film Festival.
The piece begins with colourful threads on a field of white, which form a 3D helix structure. A figure then appears in the background, who touches the graphic, sending a rainbow pattern of paint in motion, which forms a circle. The circle shrinks away before transitioning into a dazzling, full-screen explosion of vibrant swirls of paint, where the Vilcek Foundation’s logo resolves.
The new ident was developed in collaboration with the Vilcek Foundation’s executive director Rick Kinsel. “This was not an easy task,” recalled Kinsel. “We knew it would be difficult to convey all that we do in 30 seconds, so instead we wanted to find a way to condense it all into a feeling of creativity, simplicity, and joy, while remaining within our preferred aesthetic.”
T&F was invited to take part in this project by the founding partners of Valiant Pictures, Vincent Lin and Matthew D’Amato. The two oversaw every aspect of the project, from the initial concepts to careful revisions, to ensure it met the high expectations of the foundation. Justin Meredith led the project for T&F’s team, which the Valiant founders said was chosen for its sharp design sensibility and past record of award-winning work.
“Thornberg & Forester was my first choice for this project,” confirmed D’Amato. “Their work is amazing and I knew it would be a perfect collaboration. The final piece exceeded my expectations and I’m excited to see what we can create in the future.”
“During the early discussions, we learned a lot about the foundation’s tastes and design inspirations,” explained Meredith. “The idea that took shape was to weave together concepts of science and art into an abstract journey that feels optimistic and open. We needed to communicate a feeling more than a story.”
“We thought that building a motion piece would be an exciting way to get our message across,” Meredith continued. “In our approach, we used tactile methods such as paint, ink and string to capture in-camera elements. Although the finished project looks simple, those are always the hardest to balance.”
T&F’s project workflow involved live-action shoots with the Blackmagic Cinema Camera to capture elements such as the circle and the paint explosion. The company’s design and animation talents were also instrumental in bringing the piece to life, where the toolset involved Autodesk Maya and Maxon Cinema 4D, as well as Adobe After Effects and DaVinci Resolve.
The final piece was completed by sound design from Eddie Bydalek and Harry Woolway, both sound engineers who are known for their work on feature films and television. T&F’s credits also include executive producer Elizabeth Kiehner, producer Kelsey Thomson, art director Kyle Hurley, technical director Vi Nguyen, designer Michelle Cho, pitch designers Mike Burgoyne and Ly Ngo, and animators Jaymie Miguel and Joe Russ. The final mix is courtesy of NBC Universal
View the ident on Vimeo
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