Talking to a hardcore film buff about the lineup of any given film festival can be exasperating. You know the type: the die-hards that, as if playing to stereotype, seem to go out of their way to name-check the most obscure art house directors. While you have to admire their dedication to the most difficult films, theirs is not the common filmgoer’s experience. In an attempt to break down the perception of elitism around such fests, the Seattle International Film Festival has created the "SIFFcurious" campaign, celebrating the festival’s commitment to showing a wide variety of films—from the little known to the mainstream.
"SIFF really wanted people to know that they have a film for almost any moviegoer. The festival easily attracts local film buffs but wanted to raise visibility for its appeal to the average Seattleite—and the fact that the festival has something for everyone and isn’t solely focused on obscure films," says Anea Klix, account executive at Wong, Doody, Crandall and Wiener (WDCW), the agency that created the campaign.
A trailer spot for the campaign is a trip down a cinematic memory lane, rendered in miniatures. A woman who peers into the knotty hole of a mossy tree is treated to charming little snippets of films that have shown at SIFF, past and present, from recent hits like Brave and Moonrise Kingdom to film classics like 2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Dr. Strangelove, The Exorcist, and Alien.
"Miniatures hark back to a curiosity shop of days past—those small, strange little things that make you curious, and that’s where we were going. The concept started with the thought of a person letting their curiosity run wild and getting transported into a pint-size world of film, in the same way that SIFF hopes to inspire filmgoers to be more curious and adventurous in their cinematic experiences," says Klix.
Creating the enchanting spot was rather challenging, says Juan Carlos Arenas, director and designer at World Famous, the production company behind it. He says after extensive movie watching they narrowed the list of films to include in the piece to about 25, knowing some would be cut in editing. From there, 3-D models of the films’ characters were created using a Makerbot 3-D printer.
"There was a bit of a learning curve on how to properly prepare models and, most important, how long it would take to make models on the Makerbot. The higher-quality models required more time and in order to save some time, we had to get creative and hand-sculpt some of the intricate models," says Arenas, noting that experienced model maker Bob Lindenmayer handled the scenes that required electronics and miniature lights. "When we had multiples of a character (like the eggs in Alien or the side panels in 2001: A Space Odyssey), we would make silicone molds and cast resin copies. We had quite the assembly line, 3-D modeling, a 3-D printer going nonstop for a month, sculpting and painting all at the same time." In all there were 20 sets, some of the larger ones were 4 feet by 6 feet, which were shot over two days.
The campaign, and its whimsical execution, is about inviting filmgoers to be daring, says Klix. "It’s based on the thought of a person letting their curiosity run wild and getting transported into a pint-size world of film, in the same way that SIFF hopes to inspire filmgoers to be more curious and adventurous in their cinematic experiences."