(Toronto, Canada--August 20, 2010) With a 25-year track record in Toronto’s postproduction community, Fearless Films brought a wealth of experience to finishing work for "In the Name of the Family", Shelley Saywell’s award-winning documentary about honour killings in North America.
The film recently won the Best Canadian Feature Award at Toronto’s Hot Docs film festival. Fearless Films provided complete finishing services for the project, including online editorial, compositing, colour grading, titling, closed captioning and versioning.
“It seems so-called honour killings and related attitudes and threats of violence have come to our part of the world,” said Deborah Parks, producer, In the Name of the Family. “It’s frightening and these girls have nowhere to tell their stories. That’s why we made this film.”
Shot primarily on Sony HDCAM, the film incorporated footage from a variety of sources, including cell phone cameras and home movies. Paul Hili and Andrew Mandziuk at Fearless Films took the lead on postproduction. “As is often the case with documentaries, the challenge was combining the footage and matching colour spaces and frame rates,” explained Mandziuk. “This film is going to a lot of different places so we had to prepare for a variety of different output formats.”
Editor Deborah Palloway did the offline edit on Final Cut Pro. The material was then ingested into an Avid Symphony at Fearless. “The online edit process is a lot more involved these days than it used to be,” explained Mandziuk. “There is never just one deliverable, and you also have to figure what the shelf life of the product will be. Are you going to go to festivals? Do you need a PAL version for Europe? You’ve got to talk this stuff out with the client and guide them through the process.”
“I like to stay very involved in the postproduction,” said director Shelley Saywell. “It’s the time when I can finally relax and let others add their creativity to make the film better. I loved working with Fearless. I felt that they really understood what we were trying to do and became involved in the storytelling, as opposed to just working on images.”
“The different requirements for broadcasters and theater, soon evolve into creative decisions,” added Mandziuk. “For the theatrical release the director doesn’t want to blur things if she doesn’t have to, but for legal reasons, broadcasters often need to hide identifying details.”
“When you blur someone or black out their eyes that, in itself, becomes part of the story,” he continued. “There are different ways to hide parts of the image, and as editors, we need to be sensitive to audience’s emotional responses. For example, if you blur out somebody’s face with a black bar, it can suggest that the person has done something wrong. An alternative might be to blow up the shot a bit and reposition the frame so that the speaker’s head is off-camera. The impression is quite different then, and feels more respectful to the subject. Our challenge is to get these kinds of details right, so that they support the story.”
The focus is always on the story. “I believe the best documentaries are deceptively simple,” said Shelley Saywell at the Toronto office of Bishari Films, who produced the film. “I’m always going for lean understatement to let the power of the subject matter speak for itself. I want the film to get out of the way of the issues of the heart.”
Colour correction is another area where technical and artistic criteria are merged in support of the story. “Fearless did the first colour pass when I was not there,” explained Saywell. “When I went in to look at it, the film was beautiful – too beautiful actually. I wanted to capture the mood of the story and the subject matter, which is definitely not beautiful. Colour grading is a bit like the soundtrack. My films need music in a minor key and it’s the same with the color palette. Andrew, Paul and I talked about that and they really nailed it.”
Review sessions were conducted in Fearless Film’s own 12-seat screening room, which is equipped with a Christie HD digital projector. “It’s been fabulous working with Fearless” said Deborah Parks. “They listened closely and offered great technical suggestions, and I love their screening room! I’ve done several films with them now, and I look forward to working with them again in the future.”
Produced by Bishari Films for CTV, In the Name of the Family debuted at Hot Docs in May. Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Shelley Saywell, it was produced by Habiba Nosheen and Deborah Parks. The cinematographer was Mike Grippo and sound was recorded by Peter Sawade. The editor was Deborah Palloway. Postproduction and finishing was completed at Fearless Films. In the Name of the Family will continue on the festival circuit this year and will air in Canada this fall on CTV.
About Fearless Films
The Fearless Film & Video Corporation has been providing postproduction facilities and services in Toronto for 25 years. Founded by two time Emmy-nominated editor and award-winning producer and director Al Maciulis, the company supplies on-site and off-site off-line suites for television series and feature films and the highest quality video finishing for HD, NTSC, PAL and web formats. Past projects at the facility have included award-winning films such as Deepa Mehta’s Water and Sarah Polley’s Away from Her; television shows such as Canadian Idol, Canada’s Worst Driver, Body Machine and many others, as well as dozens of animated children’s programs, such as Johnny Test and Roboroach. For more information visit http://www.fearlessfilms.ca/