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On Our Way to EA

With the screenings so tightly packed, once My Love ended at Skywalker Ranch and the final film Peter and the Wolf began, a sedan raced off with our bags and the prints for the first four films to deliver them in time for the PDI/DreamWorks screening later in the day.

Bob Nicoll (closest to tree) talks about the EA facility while Maciek and Chris take a rest on the steps. © 2008 AWN Inc.

Bob Nicoll (closest to tree) talks about the EA facility while Maciek and Chris take a rest on the steps. © 2008 AWN Inc.

With the screenings so tightly packed, once My Love ended at Skywalker Ranch and the final film Peter and the Wolf began, a sedan raced off with our bags and the prints for the first four films to deliver them in time for the PDI/DreamWorks screening later in the day. After wrapping up the Q&A at Skywalker, the tour crew hopped into the van and headed to EA, where a screening in digital projection had already began. I Met the Walrus‘ Josh had planned to head to New York the next day for the Academy screening there, but the pace of the tour made him reconsider the extra flight, especially upon learning that he was the only one going, considering instead to stay behind and take a relaxing ride down the coast to L.A.

During the car ride, James chatted with Hugh about how the Peter and the Wolf producer got started in the industry. Hugh said he got a quick introduction into the biz by winning third prize at the Cannes Film Festival with his student short Crow Stone and receiving the Sam Mendes screenwriting scholarship. His other work has included two short films with the Monty Python team for the Holy Grail DVD and the visual effects for La Vie En Rose. When asked about securing funding for films, Hugh said that in the U.K. they have systems set up where individuals can invest in schemes where the profits are not taxed. For Peter and the Wolf, the smallest single investment was 20,000 GBP and the largest was from a couple at 200,000 GBP. Hugh likes the freedom of funding projects this way, because there are no studio execs nitpicking creative decisions. The most striking thing he said is that he hasn’t made any money on Peter and the Wolf and won’t until they see projects. For those in the U.S., they can see Hugh’s labor of love on PBS on March 26th along with a half hour making-of documentary.

The nominees field questions at the Electronic Arts Q&A. © 2008 AWN Inc.

The nominees field questions at the Electronic Arts Q&A. © 2008 AWN Inc.

When we finally arrived at EA, the screening had already ended. Our host Bob Nicoll shared that 150 people packed their screening room and clapped after every production. Bob invited the audience to come back at 12:30 to meet the filmmakers. Having some time before then, Bob took us outside to show the filmmakers the campus, which features a huge courtyard where employees can play football or soccer during lunch. Maciek had gone outside to have a smoke and ran into two very enthusiastic Madame Tutli-Putli fans. He made them happier by giving them copies of the film, which they asked for him and Chris to autograph. They even asked to have their picture taken with the directors. Groupies I guess are the price of becoming an Oscar nominee.

A dozen or so employees and students from Carnegie Mellon, who are at the studio working on internship projects, returned to hear the filmmakers speak and as always the questions included Tutli-Putli’s eyes and how did Josh get involved with the John Lennon recordings. When asked about their approach to animating, Maciek said they filmed actress Laurie Maher as reference, because they are two dudes and the secrets of femininity aren’t there’s.