Art Director Diego Coutinho tackles award-winning film War on Drugo with perfect execution

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Part of the crew of War on Drugo

They say when you do what you love, you never work a day in your life. Diego “Couts” Coutinho knows this to be true. The art director and motion graphics designer spends every day living his dream, and enjoys everything he does. But what makes his job even more enjoyable is working on projects that he truly believes in. When a film sends an important message and he is part of creating it, there is a sense of purpose that goes far beyond loving what you do.

This is exactly what happened when Coutinho worked on the Brazilian film War on Drugo. Although the film was recognized internationally and received many awards, it was working on something he believed in that was truly special.

“I can honestly say that this movie wouldn’t have been possible without Diego as Art Director/Production Designer. He was my right hand throughout the whole production, responsible for directing the Concept Art Crew while also working as Lead Concept Artist; overseeing the production of puppets and settings to make sure the original visual concept wouldn’t get lost,” said director Gabriel Nóbrega.

Commissioned by the Global Commission on Drug Policy, developed by Almap/BBDO agency and produced by Vetor Zero/Lobo studio, the film was to created to motivate a reflection on the consequences of 40 years of “war on drugs”, and to foster a broader discussion of drug policy reform. War on Drugo is set in a fairytale setting. The movie explains the disastrous war against drugs by telling the story of a dragon banished from an ancient kingdom, and how people who spent time with the dragon were thrown into jail. The visually appealing metaphor uses a simple narrative that is designed to help overcome these barriers and break taboos when it comes to discussing the issue with the public.

“The good work in this project was to create a tool to raise people’s awareness, so they can better understand the issue of drug abuse in the contemporary world,” said Coutinho.

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Artwork in War on Drugo

Coutinho took on multiple roles to ensure the film’s success. As production designer of the project, he was responsible for pre-production during the beginning stages. He followed storyboarding, creating and developing characters and scenarios. At the same time, he was the lead artist of the team, so beyond the creation of scenarios, characters and special effects, he was required to pay attention to the development of the project, ensuring other artists were consistent with the conceptual proposal of the film.

After the pre-production was finished, he followed the production and preparation of the pieces so that they were faithful to the concepts. In the sequence, he went to work in the post-production, assuming part of the coordination in the final moment. He also worked as a composer, being responsible for the main special effects of the film.

“It is normal not to have the answer to everything, but you must to be prepared to change what is necessary and correct process failures as soon as possible. So, the sooner we make a mistake, the sooner we correct the problem,” said Coutinho.

Despite War on Drugo being an extremely important project, it became Coutinho’s most-awarded project to date. Besides a lot of print and online press coverage, it was acclaimed by many of the most important awards in the field, and went on to win gold at the London International Advertising Awards for Motion Graphics Design, gold in animation at the Cannes Lions 2015, Gold at the IF Design Awards 2015 in Short Animation, and 16 other awards worldwide.

“Couts isn’t just one of the most talented Art Directors I have worked with, he also has integrity in the way he treats the project and the people,” said the animation director of the film, Lee Peffer.

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Set from War on Drugo

After the success of their previous project, the credits for the Brazilian film Brincante, Coutinho, Nóbrega, and Peffer decided to embark on this project. They knew they worked well together, and therefore used a similar style of artwork for War on Drugo. They used one of the oldest types of animation techniques: stop-motion, using hinged cardboard puppets and miniature sets. Most of the artwork was printed and glued onto pieces of laser-cut MDF, while some settings were hand-painted or created with mixed materials. Coutinho’s team took over 30,000 photographs, and built a total of 13 scenarios and over 300 characters, of which around 80 were animated, meaning they had a structure of articulated joints.

“It was a great time because it was almost like a family, where everyone stopped to talk,” said Coutinho. “We developed the proposal to mix both temporal moments in the film. We can see the logic being applied throughout the film. Early at the beginning of the movie, we see the shot of the king, he’s showed in an American capitol that has a mixed architecture with a castle. The logic also applies to the design of the clothes. In the first scene, you can see two women in medieval clothes walking with shopping bags, as if they were returning from shopping at the mall. The result is a visual of a story of fairytales, but has obvious and direct relationships with today, which helps in having a public identification with the subject, and so we get the opening to about drugs dialogue.”

You can watch the powerful film here.

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Dancer Jackson Williams has conquered the United Kingdom

 

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Jackson Williams as a barber during the Take That 3 Tour.

Jackson Williams has already had an extraordinary career. He has toured the world doing what he loves, performed on national television, and worked with those that inspire him. He truly is one of the best dancers in the United Kingdom.

After performing on Simon Cowell’s The X Factor television show, Williams went on tour with the artists around the UK. He journeyed around Europe dancing for Whitney Houston, and went around the Eastern Hemisphere with Kylie Minogue and her Aphrodite Tour. Last year, he travelled all around, performing alongside Ellie Goulding’s Delirium World Tour. But what he says may be the most fun he ever has had on tour was for the celebrated boy band’s Take That 3 Tour.

“They were my favorite boy band growing up. I had posters. I had cassettes. I was young, and I would watch TV and they were in a boxing ring doing break dancing. I remember Take That. They hit the world by storm. They were like The Beatles 2.0. They still pack out stadiums for eight nights,” said Williams. “It was one of the most successful tours that have ever come into the UK. You are on stage with the best, and you can’t complain.”

The stadium tour was entirely indoors, and very theatrical. It allowed Williams to not just be a dancer, but a true performer as well. He went from a sea urchin, to a ninja, and then a barber. They incorporated a variety of styles when dancing, including contemporary, break dancing, puppetry, and even judo.

“There is so much to do when you do a show like this. The stage moves in a circle, the B stage goes up and down, it has ramps, the screens are some of the biggest screens you can get. The manpower is like 250 techies. It is the most creative virtual experience. It doesn’t matter if you are a kid or an adult, it is pleasing to the eye. My dad hates stuff like this, but he went and watched the Take That tour and said that was one of the best things he’d ever seen,” said Williams.

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The Take That 3 Tour Stage.

The 3 Tour was Williams’ third time touring with the band. The experience for him is particularly enjoyable because it is always the same people touring. Some of the people on the tour have been with the band for over fifteen years. The creative director and choreographer of the tour, Kim Gavin, has worked with Take That for the last 20 years  and Williams says he has learned more from Gavin than he has with any other choreographer he has worked with.

“Some of the things Kim asks you to do you think is impossible and he wants it to happen, and it does, you adapt. He always pushes you to the limit. He is just a genius. When he tells you stuff, you think it will never happen, and then it comes alive and you are like how did that happen?” said Williams.

Gavin likes pushing Williams to his limits, and describes him as one of the most renowned dancers in the U.K., always in high demand, and says Williams was a critical factor of the success of the tour.

“Jackson backed the group up with extraordinarily skilled and distinct dance moves and incredibly energetic flow that gave the shows explosive energy. He completely stood out among the rest of the dancers as a leader in every routine, and helped the group captivate the masses with an unforgettable concert experience,” said Gavin. “Jackson was always able to pick up on choreography very quickly and was even able to recreate every dancer’s routine in the shows, and would consequentially step in as the replacement of any dancers who were absent and would perfectly execute these routines due to his diverse vocabulary of styles and ability to handle high pressure. He has an incredible audience connection and has shown a unique ability of bringing his own personality to the stage, and this has made Jackson invaluable to the reputation of the shows that keeps fans coming back for more.”

The audience connection is one of Williams’ favorite parts of touring with Take That. The screaming fans that have loved the band for decades create a high when dancing on stage that is contagious, and dancing alongside the same people that he has been for years is like being with a second family.

“I was dancing for the biggest boy band in the country that everyone loves and knows. If there is any tour I would want to do again, it would be with Take That. It is like putting the Piri Piri sauce on. It’s exciting. There is something about it. You never have a dull day. It always feels different,” said Williams. “Sometimes I wish I wasn’t in it; I wish I was out there watching it.”

One of the most unique and exhilarating nights of the tour involved doing a world exclusive in the cinema. There was a night doing a show at the O2 that streamed a live feed to cinemas all over the world.

“You aren’t just doing it for the people in theatre. You are doing it for 30 million people watching at the theatre,” said Williams. “There are cameras everywhere and people running around. You think about the safety of yourself and the band. We have birds flying around the sky with puppets, and we are dodging cables but the audience doesn’t see that, they see these beautiful birds. It was mental. It was hard work, but it was the best.”

Working side by side with his idols since childhood was a surreal experience for Williams. He was part of the choreography, and the band members would ask his opinion on how things should be in the show. Not many get to have their idols turn to them for advice.

“I know all their songs. I couldn’t help but sing along when I was dancing,” he said.

Williams has conquered the dance field in the United Kingdom. There is not much more he can do in his country that he has not already done, which is why he is heading to Vegas to dance in Channing Tatum’s Magic Mike Live after turning down the opportunity to tour once again with Take That’s tour this year. In his words, he is “ticking off the boxes” to a career of perfection.

MAYER BRINGS A BEAUTIFUL SIDE TO “SHUN”

So much of life is about perspective. The way which we view the situation we find ourselves in, the circumstances that surround us, even the interpretation of this by others…all of these things factor into how happy or fulfilled we are at any point in our lives. The 2015 film Shun depicts these factors in the story of two chefs who happen to be father and son. As cinematographer for Shun, Avner Mayer is in charge of so many points of perspective that it’s practically dizzying. Mayer helps the audience (that’s perspective #1) to see things the way that the son (perspective #2) and father (that’s #3) do, by using his (#4) exemplary skills to communicate director/writer Shiyun (Lavi) Hu’s (#5) story. While many might see the cinematographer’s role as sitting at the camera and making sure the action is in focus, they fail to understand the depth of planning and all-seeing overlook of professionals like Mayer. Great cinematographers not only capture the action during filming but they become the eyes of both the production and the audience, coloring the emotional content to heighten what every other aspect of film creation has done, breathing life into the corporal vessel that is film. If that sounds hyperbolic to you, you don’t have experience in the film industry. A smart director understands that a cinematographer will lift a film to new heights or send it all crashing down in spite of its other redeeming qualities. Shun’s director has worked with Avner successfully on two films (the films Beyond and On The River) and it was due to his ability to cultivate depth in a film that she contacted him to be the DP for this production.

Shun is a very emotional movie for a number of reasons. It deals with a conflict between family, work, and self. Kazuki is a fifty-year-old Sushi sous chef and the right hand of his father (Yoshi) in the high-end grip sushi restaurant “Hasimoto”. Kazuki has worked under his father for the past 30 years but they have very different ideologies regarding food and life. Yoshi runs his restaurant with a strict, traditional, and almost sterile approach. He treats his food like a piece of art and believes others should do the same. For Kazuki food is a way to a man’s heart and soul, a tool to connect to people’s emotions. When Yoshi falls ill, he decides to pass the control of the restaurant to his son. Kazuki finds himself trapped between the need to continue his father’s heritage and in his own wishes. The deceptively simple storyline introduces many difficult emotional ideas. Dealing with the ailments and aging of one’s parents, the desire to find your own path in life and career while also desiring the approval of your parents; these are difficulties that many of us can relate to regardless of our country of origin or vocation. The universality of the theme allows everyone to access the filmmaker’s frame of reference but it was Mayer’s role to make it interesting for the audience. It’s obvious that this goal was well attained with Shun as it was an official film selection for such festivals as: Salento international Film festival (2016, Italy), Montreal World Film Festival (2016, Canada), the Toronto Reel Asian international film festival (2016, Canada), and as a finalist in the “Vizio” and “Dolby Vision” Filmmakers Challenge – Cinematography awards – 2016.

The differences between father and son in Shun establish the conflict that Kazuki (and we suspect Yoshi as well) must deal with throughout the film. Kazuki and Yoshi have drastically different approaches and opinions towards food and the process of creating it. Yoshi has an almost surgical, scientific approach to food making. He runs his kitchen like a Swiss clock factory. The work must be done in a precise predetermined order. Improvisation is not allowed. Yoshi’s connection to food is different. Preparing food is instinctual to him, full of flavor and improvisation. For Yoshi, food is a process of connecting with other human beings rather than a planned and organized ritual. To highlight this, Avner explains, “In order to show the differences between the father and son, we used our lights to create different energy. The lighting is clear, blue and bright when Yoshi runs the kitchen. It has an almost ambient/office feeling.  When Kazuki is in charge, the lighting changes to a dimmed yellow-red environment. This creates a much more comfortable and inviting atmosphere; like being at home.”

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Mayer also customized the lighting for the lighting for the restaurant location in Shun. The choice to create the restaurant on set rather than a preexisting location gave the production the availability to take the time and movement needed for their shots. Avner chose to use ambient studio lighting from above to again capitalize on the freedom of movement during filming. He notes, “The general approach to the lighting was high key and natural. We didn’t want the movie to feel lit but we still wanted to establish a high key ambience. In order to create this effect, we rigged big top light sources to create a soft, natural light. We aimed for a natural Japanese look and I feel we were very successful in achieving the proper look and feel. Camera wise, we wanted to be patient and static. We decided to tell the story mostly using the blocking and editing (different camera positions) and to keep it as simple as possible. This is the way the characters in Shun see the world so we adopted this approach in telling their story.”

While you can see a great deal of Mayer’s talent and skill as a cinematographer when viewing Shun, you won’t see the largest part of it. Director Shiyun (Lavi) Hu declares, “Avner is very precise in his planning. This was a great benefit to Shun since we shot almost everything in a studio, which limited our shots selection.  Avner’s preparation work with our Production Designer allowed us to maximize the space to our need’s, using lighting built into the design and creating moveable set walls for extra flexibility. I had the pleasure to collaborate with Avner as my cinematographer on previous projects. At this point we have a blind understanding of each other, which makes the filmmaking process fast and efficient.” Shun’s producer, Cedric Gamelin, states, “Usually when you shoot a movie, you have surprises in every step. In this project the process was the smoothest I have ever encountered, I must say that Avner and the team’s preparation work made it seem easy. Avner did all of that without jeopardizing the images, which were magnificent! I’m very proud to be a part of the team who created Shun.” Avner Mayer is happy to be a cinematographer that is appreciated and respected among his peers in the film industry, whether it be for his work on set or the planning of it. He relates, “Since I discovered in my early twenties that I wanted to be a part of filmmaking, to arouse that same excitement that I felt sitting in a theater…I’ve always been excited about all the parts of the process. I feel that the key for a successful project usually lays in the preparation work. It requires a lot of communication between all the key groups involved in order to be synched on one vision. When everybody is synched like that, the set can be a big celebration…and who doesn’t want to be a part of a big celebration!”

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From the Stage to the Screen Australian Actress Natalie Page is a Knock Out!

Actress Natalie Page
Australian Actress Natalie Page shot by Andrew Rouse

 

Hailing from Sydney, Australia actress Natalie Page has created a dazzling reputation for herself as a uniquely talented performer whose dynamic character portrayals continually leave audiences wanting more. Over the past three decades Page has amassed an impressive repertoire of work that spans both the stage and screen, with each character she takes on shedding light on the multi-faceted nature of her craft.

In the world of network television fans will immediately recognize Page from her critical roles in the Awgie, Logie and AFI Award winning crime drama “Water Rats,” the long-running series “Deadly Women,” “Australia’s Most Wanted,” “White Collar Blue” and more.  

Page discovered her passion for performing early on in life. Driven to take her craft to the next level she began studying at Sydney’s renowned Genesian Theatre Company in her youth, where she immersed herself in Chekhov’s vast repertoire of work.

“I can bring all of myself to acting as it involves mind, body, energy, voice and a precision that requires my focus and dedication. A craft that I can bring all of myself to is both stimulating and enormously satisfying,” admits Page.

Early on in her career Page put her flare for the art of seduction on display in the critical role of a sultry mistress in the hit romantic drama “Home and Away,” which has earned a whopping 26 Logie Awards and six Awgie Awards to date.

In the series “Water Rats” Page struck a chord with audiences with her performance as a hostage fearing for her life. Sharing the screen with Astra and Logie Award winning actress Catherine McClements (“Tangle,” “Rush”) and Film Critics Circle of Australia Award winner Colin Friels (“Tom White,” “Ground Zero,” “Malcolm”), Page held her own acting alongside Australia’s best without ever missing a beat.

Her ability to tap in and embody the fear one feels when trapped in a situation where the question of whether she will live or die lays in the hands of a desperate criminal landed her another critical role as a hostage in “Australia’s Most Wanted,” which aired on Australia’s Nine Network, one of the two highest rated networks in the country.

Page’s incredible range has allowed her to portray the victim as believably as the villain, something she proved when she took on the starring role of Marie Noe in the popular series “Deadly Women” episode “Murder of Innocence” narrated by Lynnanne Zager (“Hotel Transylvania 2,” “Transcendence,” “Kung Fu Panda 3”).

A Philadelphia housewife who gave birth to 10 children, with two of them dying at birth and the other eight dying under suspicious circumstances, which turn out to be caused by her own hands, as she admits to strangling them nearly 30 years after the fact.

The way Page taps into this sinister, real life character, mastering Marie Noe’s Philadelphia accent and embodying the character’s mannerisms on screen not only makes the story that much more believable, but one that undoubtedly sends a shiver up the spine of all who watch the episode.

The actress admits, “I like a project that will present a challenge and one in which I can bring something unique to the role.”

While Natalie Page has left an indelible mark in the minds of audiences through her on-screen roles, she’s made just as powerful of an impact through her performances on stage. In 2014 she took on the starring role of Millicent in Brett Garland’s revival of “Estranged” staged at Sydney’s Tap Gallery theatre, which debuted in Australia during the Mardi Gras Festival.

Written by renowned playwright Jason Charles, “Estranged” brings to life the story of a dysfunctional family who comes together for the wedding of one of the sons while exploring themes of sexuality, societal acceptance and the way judgement can divide us from those we love. The mother of the son to be wed, Page’s character Millicent is the divisive force who causes the original rift in the family decades prior when she passes harsh judgements on her sister and subsequently banishes her and her son from their lives. As the drama and tension plays out over the course of the nuptials, we see Millicent and her sister engage in malicious attacks against one another, with Millicent going as far as to slap her sister in the face in front of everyone, a challenging move that Page pulls of with precision.

 

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Natalie Page (left) & Lena Sandberg (right) in “Estranged” shot by Brett Garland

 

Page explains, The reason I liked this role is because my struggle to accept such a mean spirited person was vast– I had to overcome this and be prepared to allow people to see me in a very ugly light, even slapping my sister across the face… When I completely surrendered to the role my work flourished.”

It comes as no surprise that the production received rave reviews across Australia as Page gave a phenomenal performance as the mean spirited Millicent in a portrayal that made her character one who is easily loathed by audiences.

While Page’s acting skill and commanding presence on the stage and screen have made her an easy fan favorite, these qualities have also been a huge draw factor for high-profile companies across the globe who have cast her as their lead actress. In 2014 she starred in a commercial for the popular Australian noodle company Maggi, and most recently she landed the lead role in a commercial for Australian Seniors Funeral Insurance, which is currently airing nationally across Australia.

UK Actor Anthony Warren Nails it Again with the Film “Hard Time Bus

Anthony Warren
Anthony Warren shot by Will Tudor

With lead roles in several highly rated BAFTA Award winning series and now the award winning feature film “Hard Time Bus” produced by 2HotFilms, Anthony Warren has enjoyed a tremendously successful acting career. The fact that he has now appeared in so many celebrated projects, and the addition of his most recent performance in “Hard Time Bus,” have made it clear that Warren’s success is a testament to his sensational skill, hard work and magnetism on screen.

If there’s one trend in Warren’s long list of characters, it’s his inimitable ability to convincingly slip into the world of crime. Warren’s feature films include the crime drama “The Contract” where he acts opposite Golden Globe nominee John Cusack (“Serendipity,” “Maps to the Stars”), as well as the Golden Reel Award nominated crime thriller “Control” starring Ray Liotta (“Goodfellas”) and two-time Oscar nominee Willem Dafoe (“Spider-Man”).

In the world of television Warren’s taken on recurring key roles on several hit crime dramas such as the two-time BAFTA Award winning series “The Bill” where he acts alongside Simon Rouse (“The Practice”), “Eastenders” starring Patsy Palmer (“Do or Die”) and “Murphy’s Law” where he shares the screen with Golden Globe nominee James Nesbitt (“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”).

With such an impressive resume, Warren has certainly forged a distinguished and unique reputation for himself in the entertainment industry on an international level.

Warren, of course, did not wake up a success overnight. “I got into acting over twenty years ago,” Warren remarks. “Initially starting as a hobby, however, [it grew] into a passion and eventually a career choice.”

It’s clear that Warren has taken his craft seriously. After graduating from one of the UK’s leading drama schools and performing with the Ovalhouse Theatre Company, Warren has gone on to act in numerous film projects in the UK and Europe. He has worked alongside twice Academy-Award nominated director Bruce Beresford, Morgan Freeman, Michelle Rodriguez and many more household names.

 

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Poster for “Hard Time Bus”

 

Now, with “Hard Time Bus” having screened internationally and recently winning the Jury Prize at the Hollywood Black Film Festival, Warren has yet another impressive credit to his resume. Directed by Dean Charles, also known for “Birthday Treat” starring “Casualty” star Neil Reidman, “Hard Time Bus” is a multi-faceted drama that examines the complexities of modern relationships and deceptive friendships. Warren brilliantly explores the latter in the lead role of Langas, a Jamaican-Patois speaking character who has no problem with bullying or cheating money from others.

 

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Still of Anthony Warren as Longas in “Hard Time Bus”

 

In a reflection of how he skillfully portrays people far different from himself, Anthony speaks of Langas like he would an old college friend. “He is so horrible to people around him but lovable to the audience in the way he is horrible – if he was one of your friends you’d keep a distance or want to punch him in the mouth.”

The film’s iconic pool hall scene, where the characters fight after Langas trash talks the girlfriend of one of the pool players, was a particular highlight for Anthony. “The scene had actors that I had worked with before and [am] still good friends with.” 

 

Michael Ellis Anthony Warren
Still of Michael Ellis (left) and Anthony Warren (right) in “Hard Time Bus”

 

It’s no surprise that Anthony’s maintained friendships with his fellow actors – those in the entertainment world are fully aware of his commitment and significant contributions to the industry. Besides his work of course, he has mentored numerous young actors and actresses and developed a reputation for being a friendly collaborator with everyone on set.

He admits, “It is a really different dynamic when you work with your friends. I feel a lot more at ease due to the experience and history we have together.”

With a cast that includes Aren Devlin (from Brad Pitt’s “World War Z”), Roger Griffiths (“Holby City,” “Doctors,” “Doctor Who”) and Naomi Ryan (“Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Mr Selfridge”), “Hard Time Bus” puts Warren in a position to call some illustrious company his friends.

The added benefit of being everyone’s favorite guy on set? People want to work with you even more, so it will come as no surprise that Anthony is slated to be involved in future productions produced with the production company 2HotFilms.

ARCIONI’S ECLECTIC TALENTS PAVE A NEW PATH FOR TODAY’S EDITORS

There is no questioning the fact that the way the world disseminates and receives information and entertainment is forever changed. “Appointment TV”, a staple of the home viewing industry only ten short years ago, is almost nonexistent thanks to the DVR. You can watch a film that was released in the theater within almost three month’s time on a plane. Digital Downloads now result in more viewers watching on their computer or smartphone than any of the traditional means previously commanded. News and entertainment go everywhere on the planet and they get there quicker than ever before. While this has caused previous models to take a financial hit, it has also produced an industry that has more creative professionals involved in production that at any point in history. The belief is that that not everyone succeeds but, as the saying goes “the cream rises to the top.” Ana Arcioni is among this new breed of professionals. A highly in demand editor with a widely diverse resume, Arcioni has the ability to work with productions around the globe who seek out her consummate abilities. Empowered with a wider sphere of influence than that afforded to previous professionals means that editors like Ana are offered a host of diverse opportunities, something which is a part of Arcioni’s list of desirable qualities. Productions like the animated film Reality Takes Place, EATV (Educational Access Television), and Premiere Pictures International Inc. are just a short list of the employers who have enlisted this talented editor to make their creations even greater than before.

When Ron Merk, owner/president of San Francisco based Premiere Pictures International Inc. approached Ana about working on the company’s new S.E.Q.U.E.N.C.E. project (as a film/video Editor and Artistic Supervisor for Trailers, Promos, Teasers, and interviews), it seemed to her like an opportunity to be really creative and on the ground floor of something new to the industry. It also gave credence to the company’s belief that Arcioni could display their technology and approach to the best and brightest of the industry. The owner and president of Premiere Pictures International Inc. declares, “Ana’s work with S.E.Q.U.E.N.C.E. proves to the world that It does exactly what I had in mind; it gets the viewer intrigued and want to ask ‘what is this and when can we see it?’ Editing has its own rhythm and pace, and the project itself is going to tell you when to stop. I love that Ana can read my director’s mind and put together a video like if she was? reading my mindWe’re in the business of giving great editors great tools, look no further than Ana Arcioni as proof of this.” In addition, Ana participated in the projects Outrageous, Repeace, and Harvest during her time at Premiere Pictures International Inc..

Ana’s work with EATV is yet another example of the difference in content that she edits. Ana utilized a variety of skills at EATV; doing promos, intros and station ID’s. Some of her editing work with EATV has been viewed at the Festival of Moving Image 2016 (Roxie Theater in San Francisco) and the animation film festival at the Niles Essany Film Museum. Working with producer Jody Yvette Wirt, directed by Maya Prickett, and starring Maya K Chenille, Shoebox Circus was one of the most popular productions at EATV. Shoebox Circus’s content is meant to appeal to a mainly young audience, something that Ana sees as inconsequential to her role as editor. She states, “The fact that the programs are dedicated to children or adults is only a subtle difference, as in the case of a program of urbanism or any other nature. Politics, art, geography, travel, cooking, science, new discoveries, astronomy, there’s an infinity of things. I love them all as long as there is variety. What I love most is the absence of routine. One of the most appealing factors in my line of work is diversity. For Shoebox Circus, Jody raises the idea and gives the tone of the idea. I work with that idea with After Effects editing to have a product which matches that idea. I’m happy to be working with Jody because she has a unique voice and that makes it interesting for me.”

Proving that her work bridges the gap between child and adult is the animated production Reality Takes Place. This inspirational drama discusses friendship, positive perspective and thinking, as well as death vs. life. The topics can be light and then switch quickly to having substantial gravitas. Reality Takes Place was selected and screened at: City Shorts Film Festival at Diego Rivera, Artist Television Access, Festival of the Moving Image, and the Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema. Ana felt that her work on this production revealed things to her about editing as well as the role of all filmmakers. She explains, “Reality Takes Place is drawn and animated by myself using the Adobe Flash program. The voices are recorded in a small studio through Pro Tools, as well as the Foley effects. The first-line editing was made with AVID. The tweaks, and retouches (including sound design) were made with Final Cut Pro. On and off it was a total one-year project. In my opinion (and I know that not everyone will agree) every independent filmmaking process starts from the editor’s point of view. The more you get to edit and the more you gain experience at it, the more expert you become in shooting and in directing because you know what you want, you know the type of shots that you need. If an editor has a say in the production, or has a good relationship with a director who listens to him/her then the film benefits. I think the editor is the one who understands the most because they have the film in their head and know what shots are needed in order to make the finished piece look good. The editor can advise the director with insight like “don’t do that because it will be impossible to fix in post” or the opposite, “don’t worry about that because I can fix it in post. Being a part of any production is about teamwork. Of course I see the importance of my role as an editor. I also understand that my greatest asset is my ability to make everyone else’s work look even better, that’s why I enjoy editing so much.”

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From High Stakes Stunts to Emotional Character Portrayals, Rick Tonna is a Knock Out On Screen!

Rick Tonna
Actor and stuntman Rick Tonna shot by Andrew Campbell

Over the past two decades leading actor and stuntman Rick Tonna, who’s originally from Melbourne, Australia, has made an indelible mark on the Hollywood film industry and abroad through a number of memorable performances in high profile films such as Russell Crowe’s “The Water Diviner,” Jon Hewitt’s “Elimination Game” and “I, Frankenstein,” as well the Awgie and ADG Award winning crime series “Rush,” the AACTA Award winning series “Underbelly” and more.

Shining a bright light on the diverse talent Australia has to offer, Tonna is the perfect example of how drive, dedication and skill can turn a Hollywood newcomer into a leading figure in tinsel town’s competitive film industry in a relatively short amount of time. While breaking into Hollywood is rarely easy, Tonna’s established reputation for delivering first-rate work back home in Australia provided a helpful segway for him to begin landing roles in major Hollywood productions once he moved stateside several years ago.

In 2014 Tonna took to the screen in Oscar Award winner Russell Crowe’s (“A Beautiful Mind,” “Gladiator”) directorial debut “The Water Diviner,” in which Crowe stars as Connor, an Australian father who travels to Turkey after the Battle of Gallipoli in search of his three sons, who go missing while serving with the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.

A major hit among Australian film critics, “The Water Diviner” earned the AACTA Awards for Best Film, Best Supporting Actor and Best Costume Design, an Awgie Award from the Australian Writers Guild, as well as four awards from the Australian Screen Sound Guild and four more from Film Critics Circle of Australia Awards.

In the film, which also stars Olga Kurylenko (“Oblivion,” “Quantum of Solace”) and Jai Courtney (“Insurgent,” “A Good Day to Die Hard”), Tonna shares screen time with Crowe and gives a riveting performances as a Turkish soldier defending his country.

Rick Tonna
Still of Rick Tonna (left) and Russell Crowe (right) in “The Water Diviner”

“My character was a hard working Turkish man who was conscripted to fight in the war against the Greeks and later fought the Australians in what is known today as Gallipoli. He was simply defending his homeland… His land and people came first his own life second,” explains Tonna.

“‘The Water Diviner’ was both a physically challenging and immensely rewarding role for me. Firstly, it was a role I was requested to play directly from the director Russell Crowe and the Oscar winning stunt coordinator, Doug Coleman, themselves. That it itself brings pressure.”

But as we’ve seen through his high stakes performances in a long list of other international hits over the years, such as the Logie nominated film “Jack Irish: Black Tide,” the Golden Globe nominated series “The Pacific,” Syfy’s Saturn Award nominated series “Childhood’s End” and the Logie and AACTA Award winning series “The Secret River,” Rick Tonna is not one to crack under pressure.

In 2015 Tonna took on the critical role of Devine in the multi-award winning series “The Secret River,” where he acts alongside Oliver Jackson-Cohen (“Emerald City,” Despite the Falling Snow”), AFCA and AACTA Award winner Sarah Snook (“Steve Jobs,” “Predestination”) and Logie Award winner Lachy Hulme (“The Matrix Revolutions,” “Killer Elite”).

Adapted from Kate Grenville’s novel of the same name, “The Secret River” is set in the early 1800s and follows William Thornhill, played by Oliver Jackson-Cohen, a young man who is sentenced to life in New South Wales where he finds himself in the middle of a bloody conflict between the British settlers and the land’s indigenous people.

Being from Australia originally, the story “The Secret River” brings to life hits painfully close to home for Tonna, which is only multiplied by the fact that his character Devine is one of the most ruthless and hateful British convicts on the show.

Tonna says, “‘The Secret River’ was a truly emotional journey for me. This part of Australian history has been sugarcoated to hide the cold and brutal truth of the heartbreaking slaughter of the Aboriginal people.”

 "The Secret River"
Still of Rick Tonna as Devine in “The Secret River”

Devine is seen throughout the series murdering aboriginal people without remorse, and the way Tonna embodies his character’s brutal and villainous nature on screen makes Devine an easy character to hate. From the audience’s perspective Tonna seamlessly inhabits the character, the truth beyond the screen though is that the role posed overwhelming challenges for Tonna; but that’s what it means to be a great actor after all, to be able to remove one’s self and truly become the character at hand, and Tonna does that without missing a beat.

“From an emotionally moral point of view, this was one of the toughest roles for me. Devine was part of a group whose hatred for the Aboriginal people was gut wrenching, I had a very defined ‘on- off’ switch where right up until I was on set I kept the switch off. I had to as the savage brutality of Devine pushed me to edge every time,” admits Tonna. “There were days I held back tears until I was alone.”

One of the toughest days for Tonna was shooting a scene for “The Secret River” episode two where Devine and his group slaughter an entire tribe.

Tonna recalls, “As we watched the bodies burn I hear a newborn child cry. I have to load my gun and shoot the child. Needless to say that this scene absolutely wrecked me emotionally.”

While stunts are what started Tonna’s onscreen career, with his expertise in martial arts and motorcycle precision driving landing him innumerable roles in action-packed productions, his gift for powerful character portrayals, even the ones that are painful to watch like his performance as Devine, are what have made him such a sought after actor around the world.

“For me it is about connecting with the audience through the scene. Becoming the character and bringing life to the words on the script. To be able to tell a story that hopefully will move the audience,” explains Tonna about what drives him to perform.

Regardless of whether he’s grabbing our attention with his action heavy roles as a stuntman, or captivating us with his authentic and emotionally honest performances as an actor, Tonna is one talented Aussie we can’t help but fixate on everytime he hits the screen.

Up next for Tonna is the highly anticipated new series “Emergency: LA,” a dramatic crime series where he will take on the lead role of Motorcycle Officer Joey Truscott. He is also slated to play a critical role on an upcoming series that is currently being developed for Netflix, so make sure to stay tuned for upcoming announcements about that.