Launched in 2009 by VW Scheich and Uyen Le, RareForm Pictures is a development and production company based in Los Angeles, CA. RareForm Pictures recently completed Wallenda, a VFX heavy short film that is currently making its way through the 2012 film festival circuit. The world premiere of Wallenda will take place on Friday, March 23, 2012, at the Cleveland International Film Festival (March 22-April 1, 2012) in downtown Cleveland, OH. The Cleveland International Film Festival is an Academy-qualifying festival, and the winners of the Best Live Action Short Film and Best Animated Short Film awards may qualify to enter the Short Films category of the Academy AwardsÂ® for the concurrent season.
The path that RareForm Pictures took to make Wallenda was a long and colorful one, involving over 300 artists and almost two years of post-production. Wallenda, set in 1920’s Germany, tells the story of Karl Wallenda’s first high wire performance as a young man, years before he became the patriarch of The Flying Wallendas, the internationally famous troupe of high wire walkers known for death-defying feats, such as the seven-person pyramid.
Using Red One cameras, the film was shot entirely against a green screen and all of the backgrounds were created in CG. The film has three distinctive environments–a German tavern, a circus tent, and an opera house, which were built in 3D. Due to the ambitious nature of the project, RareForm Pictures pulled together a core team of producers, Uyen K. Le, Kevin Williams, Gresham Lochner, Shawn Hull, Gary Levy and Kat Rogers, to help complete it. The extra time and effort was worth it though, and Team Wallenda is exceptionally proud of the vibrant and unique film that was created.
During the post-production phase of this film, VW (writer/director/producer) realized that he would need many artistic hands to help with the various VFX tasks involved in a film containing over 250 CG shots, tasks such as modeling, roto-ing, keying, lighting, texturing, rigging, matte painting, compositing, and digital animation. In conjunction with the Arts Work Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, RareForm Pictures developed an artist-in-residence program centered around Wallenda and provided continuous educational opportunities and hands-on experience for student and junior artists.
VW recruited students from the following local art schools–Art Institute Santa Monica, Art Institute San Bernardino, Otis School of Design, Art Center of Pasadena, California State University Northridge, Santa Monica College, and Gnomon School of Visual Effects–and matched them with various CG and stereoscopic 3D tasks according to personal preferences and skill levels. With the help of Gresham Lochner and Kevin Williams (VFX post producers), Shawn Hull (Art Director), and other senior artists (Ronnie Cleland, Lead Texture Artist), the junior artists received crucial supervision, mentoring, and feedback in order to hone their skills and find gainful employment as CG artists in the entertainment industry. After their Wallenda experience, many junior artists found work at prominent VFX houses, including Sony Pictures Imageworks, Sassoon Film Design, Stereo D, 9K9, and West Wing Studios.
This film was an exciting learning experience for all involved. Wallenda taught everyone to push themselves and take risks to accomplish a dream in which we all believed, precisely in the indomitable spirit of Karl Wallenda.