Thursday, May 17, 2012

It’s “Showtime” for a Low Budget “Rock-umentry” Made About a High Profile Musician!

May 15, 2012 For Immediate Release from Pro8mm, Burbank, CA
Media Contact:  Rhonda Vigeant

It’s “Showtime” for a Low Budget “Rock-umentry” Made About a High Profile Musician!
Kurt Markus with his Super 8 Camera

The true spirit of independent filmmaking makes history this week with the premier of “It’s About You” on Showtime! Featuring legendary singer/songwriter John Mellencamp, “It’s About You,” is a 90-minute documentary shot entirely on Super 8 Film by award winning Montana based photographer Kurt Markus and his son Ian. The filmmakers followed Mellencamp for six-weeks in the summer of 2009 where he was performing in small outdoor stadiums across America along with Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson. During the tour, Mellencamp recorded his new album, “No Better Than This,” which included a session at legendary Sun Studios in Memphis.

With a premier at SXSW (South by South West Film Festival) in Austin in March 2011 (which Mellencamp attended) the film continued to screen at all of John’s live concert’s at venues around the country and in Europe. It brilliantly served as his opening act. This alone makes the film unique in that thousands of Mellencamps' die-hard fans screened it live prior to its theatrical or television debut. Often minimized as having “low production value” the Super 8 film stocks held up amazingly well being digitally projected on the big screens in the concert venues, and added to the nostalgic culture of seeing Mellencamp on the screen performing old and new favorites prior to his taking the stage.
The world premier theatrical release was in January of this year in New York and Los Angeles. But the real story here is that the film was not made by armies of people. It was made by a father and son with a creative vision to go solo. They filled their dream to go it alone.  While the films reviews were mixed, the technical merits and accomplishments of what this film says about independent filmmaking are cinematic feats. To make an Indy documentary worthy of a coveted spot of Showtime is reason alone to applaud Kurt and Ian Markus.
Kurt Markus Shoot John Mellencamp on Super 8 at Sun Studios

The filmmakers interfaced with one particular man at one particular company for their entire workflow. Philip Vigeant, owner of Pro8mm in Burbank, California has been pushing the Super 8 film format to it’s maximum potential for over 30 years. In preproduction meetings with Kurt Markus, they discussed what challenges would most likely arise and how they could be overcome. Kurt would often say, “we’re attached at the hip”, noting that the film could not have been made without the coaching and masterminding with Vigeant.
The film was shot entirely on 450 rolls of Pro8mm color negative (Kodak Vision 3 stocks) They had two Beaulieu 6008 Super 8 cameras that were modified for MAX 8 (a 16 x 9 widescreen aspect ratio) and Crystal Sync. The film was shot with just one camera at a time, with a second on hand for back up.  Pro8mm processed all the film in house at our Burbank lab, and scanned it in native 1080 HD to Pro Res 422 on a Millennium II HD state of the art scanner with full scene-to-scene color correction.  Vigeant, who was also the colorist on the project worked closely with Kurt Markus to overcome some the technical challenges faced on doing a project of this nature – shooting on the road over a 6 week period with no crew.
In the scanning suite colorist Phil Vigeant performed a number of creative special effects. These included scanning photos that Kurt Markus shot of Mellencamp that were re-photographed on Super 8 film. This allowed the ability to add movement and interest. This technique permitted the film to stay true to the “shot entirely on Super 8” mantra. Some of the digital film back up shot by Ian Markus in the recording studio was also re-photographed on Super 8 film, which punctuated cinematic interest.

The choice of modern Super 8 film was perfect to achieve the “vintage look” that the filmmaker was going for, but with all the latitude that Kodak Vision 3 stocks offer. The grain structure held up amazingly well on the big screen, and the filmmakers were able to achieve their creative vision.

It’s About You is scheduled to play on SHOWTIME at these times, and “On Demand” It will also be available on DVD through Amazon.
Thu, May 17 7:30 PM             SHOWTIME
Fri, May 18 10:00 PM             SHO 2
Sat, May 19 8:30 PM            SHOWTIME SHOWCASE
Sun, May 20 12:00 PM           SHOWTIME
Tue, May 22 5:55 PM             SHOWTIME SHOWCASE
Wed, May 23 5:35 PM            SHO 2
Fri, May 25 5:00 PM              SHOWTIME
Sat, May 26 10:55 AM            SHO 2
Tue, May 29 5:30 PM         SHOWTIME
Wed, May 30 4:45 AM            SHOWTIME
Wed, May 30 5:00 PM            SHOWTIME SHOWCASE
Thu, May 31 6:30 PM            SHO 2
Sun, Jun 03 4:30 AM             SHOWTIME
Thu, Jun 07 4:00 AM             SHOWTIME

Kurt Markus’ photography has appeared in such leading publications as Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, GQ and The New York Times Magazine, and he has shot cutting-edge ad campaigns for BMW, Armani, Nike and other companies. His unique vision has been brought to bear on It's About You, which was shot on Super 8 and whose vintage Americana look is the cinematic equivalent of a well-worn pair of jeans.
RT: 80 Minutes
Rated: NR

1 comment: said...

This is a very cool project. I remember reading about it a while back and had wondered how it turned out. I love that some of the digital was re-photographed onto cool is that!

Can't wait to see it. Good job all around.

A lot of films are touted as "indie" but this one sounds like the real thing.

Sean J. Kenny
Director: Burning Folk: A Road Movie