January 31, 2023


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Selena Gomez and more break down their craft for the diverse FYC Fest

7 min read

Variety’s second annual FYC Fest: The Shortlist kicks off Oscar voting this Thursday, January 12. The virtual event features 13 panels with top contending filmmakers and technicians from Academy Documentary Film, International Film, Music, Hair and Makeup, Animated Short, Live-Action Short Film and Visual Effects categories including “Wakanda Forever,” “Avatar: The Way of Makers of Water,” “Spirited” and more.

Below, we’ve collected all the conversations with the shortlisters for your consideration.

Original Song: ‘My Mind and Me’ Selena Gomez (co-writer)

Selena Gomez knew she wanted to create an original song to complement her Apple TV+ documentary “My Mind and Me,” choosing to share her journals with a close-knit group of collaborators to bring the song to life. “We didn’t even have a name for the documentary… The song is definitely where everything came from,” Gomez commented. In the title track, Gomez felt that much of her personal success was tied to reality and vulnerability derived from difficult times in her life, hoping that this The lyrics connect and resonate with others: “I find more joy in being vulnerable.”

Original Song and Score: ‘Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio,’ Alexandre Desplat (composer)

Composer Alexandre Desplat discusses working with Guillermo del Toro and bringing his vision to life through music, when both worked at DreamWorks Animation. When creating the song “Kiao Papa”, composer Desplat collaborated with Del Toro and Robben Katz to create lyrics where the audience could relate to both Pinocchio and the puppeteer Geppetto. “You’re about to discover a new world that’s simultaneously apprehensive and exhilarating. But at the same time, you’re leaving the people you love and a home,” Desplat commented. “And it’s the same for parents. They are happy that the child goes away and becomes an adult. But at the same time, [there is] Fear that danger is going on.”

Makeup and Hairstyling, Visual Effects, Original Score, Original Music and Sound: ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,’ Ludwig Goransson (composer), TBC and Steve Boedecker (sound), Geoffrey Baumann (VFX), Camille Friend (hair)

“Wakanda Forever” creators Ludwig Göransson, Steve Boedeker, Geoffrey Baumann and Camille Freund all returned to work on the “Black Panther” sequel in an effort to honor late franchise star Chadwick Boseman. Part of that tribute included Goranson and Boedeker’s efforts to evolve the sounds of the Wakandans with new innovations, while also infusing Talokanil with sounds that drew heavily from Mayan culture. Friend and Bauman discussed the teamwork involved in practical and visual effects to create a seamless transition on screen with director Ryan Coogler’s guidance and close collaboration overseeing the entire operation.

Original Song: ‘Clap’ from ‘Tell It Like A Woman’, Diane Warren (lyricist) Sophia Carson (performer)

How did songwriters Diane Warren and Sophia Carson find each other to collaborate on “Tell It Like a Woman”? In DM! “As a woman, as a musician, as an artist, my heart and soul is to use my voice to lift women up, to play my part in that. And when I read the lyrics [“Applause”]they inspired me so deeply, and I’m so grateful that he thought of me for this,” Carson commented. Friends and collaborators discussed working together and bringing Warren’s uplifting lyrics to life through Carson’s performance.

Original Score: ‘Bhakti,’ Chanda Dancy (Composer)

“We basically cried together over Zoom, the connection was so immediate and we saw eye to eye so quickly,” composer Chanda Dancy said of meeting director JD Dillard to score the biographical war film “Bhakti.” Dancy commented on the unique process of being hired to score the film before production began, and discussed how the score took shape during the film’s shooting, often exchanging text messages with Dillard while he was on set. He felt that it was necessary to best honor the real-life military aviators depicted in the film with a score centered on grand orchestral sound.

Original Song: ‘Good Afternoon’ from ‘Spirited’ Sukari Jones, Benj Pasek & Justin Paul (lyricist)

“Oliver!” Drawing inspiration from Broadway hits like “Mary Poppins,” songwriters Benj Pasek, Justin Paul and Sukari Jones created “Good Afternoon,” a soulful number from the “spirited” film. “It feels like we’re starting to spread the culture, at least in the most mischievous kind of way,” says Paul, who doubled as an executive producer on the holiday feature with Passek. “I literally had a parent come up to me at my kid’s school and be like… ‘My kid is telling me good afternoon. How do I deal with this?’” An on-screen cameo during the track by English actress Judi Dench also became a fan favorite moment among viewers, which Jones revealed she pitched.

Original music, original score, original sound and visual effects: ‘Avatar: The Way of Water,’ Simon Franglen (composer), Joe Letteri (VFX) and Julian Howarth (sound)

Artists Simon Franglen, Joe Letteri and Julian Howarth were instrumental in creating the musical and visual foundation for the box office smash “Avatar: The Way of Water.” Franglen recalled his close collaboration with director James Cameron, who had the composer read film scripts to better understand the narrative purpose his score would serve, in addition to highlighting the various challenges of creating a soundscape around water. Letteri and Howarth discuss how they employed all the tools at their disposal to evoke the best performances from the cast to ensure they could shine through the VFX imaging as well.

International Film: ‘Argentina, 1985,’ Santiago Miter (Director, Writer, Producer)

An intimate conversation with “Argentina, 1985” director, writer and producer Santiago Mitra revealed that the project was a lifetime in the making. Heavily influenced by his mother’s work in criminal justice, Miter said diversity At a young age he “realized the relevance of rebuilding democracy in Argentina” after the junta trials. Miter also emphasized how the publication of the feature prompted a reevaluation of political systems around the world: “Every country has a wound in its history that needs to be healed through justice in order to build a better country, a better democracy and a better place for people. Live there and who will come.”

International film: ‘All Quiet on the Western Front,’ Edward Berger (director, writer, producer)

Director-writer Edward Berger didn’t want to sentimentalize the war in “All Quiet on the Western Front.” Instead, he sought a balance between this experience with Paul Baumer (Felix Kammer) while still being objective about the events of World War II. “In Germany, that part of history is nothing to be proud of,” Berger explained. “There’s just shame and guilt and a sense of responsibility, and to share that now with an international audience, it means a lot to me.” He added, “Germany is not the victim of this story – other countries are.”

International film: ‘The Quiet Girl,’ Colm Baird (director and writer)

When writer-director Colm Baird finished reading “Foster,” the short story on which “The Quiet Girl” is based, he couldn’t help but burst into “hot, baby-like tears.” Hoping audiences would feel the same way, Bayrad adapted the story to the screen, emphasizing casting and location to immerse the audience in the perspective of the film’s 9-year-old protagonist. Minimalistic scoring – and, at times, silence – was also used to draw attention to the actors’ performances: “Even the temp score we used was really low. We always knew we didn’t want the film to lead the audience too emotionally.”

International film: ‘Bardo,’ Alejandro G. Iñárritu (director, writer, producer)

Writer, director and producer Alejandro Inarritu looks inward while determining the universal themes that will guide audiences through his latest feature epic, “Bardo, the False Chronicle of a Handful of Truth,” reflecting on his own life experiences as well as ideas of love, death, art, success. and fatherhood. “Some things you put on the page, but then when you’re suddenly faced with how to bring them out, how to make some abstract dreams and emotions and feelings come true, that’s a challenge,” Iñárritu said. diversity. The first cut’s runtime exceeded four hours, during which Iñárritu was tasked with consolidating his passion project while maintaining the dreamlike uncertainty of the narrative.

Animated Short: ‘The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse,’ Charlie Mackasey (writer, co-director)

To Charlie Mackey, author of “The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse,” his book is “a long conversation between characters.” “It doesn’t really happen to a large extent, but I think what does happen is largely internal and contentious,” he said diversity. “They discover things about each other and themselves and existence.” In adapting the beloved picture book into an animated short film, MacKasey and co-director Peter Benton had to “go deeper with the characters and discover a real narrative and a purpose for their journey.” Another important element for the brief: mimicking the book’s illustration style. “Our journey was really creating the ink and watercolor drawings in an animated form, and keeping the spirit of the book and the messages within it alive,” said McKessy.

Visual Effects: “Thirteen Lives,” Jason Billington (VFX Supervisor)

For VFX supervisor Jason Billington, the visual effects in Ron Howard’s “Thirteen Lives” needed to be subtle enough that it “didn’t distract the audience from the emotional story.” “When it comes to visual effects, it’s always been, we hide,” he said diversity. Billington explained that the underwater sequences were filmed on practical sets rather than relying heavily on VFX. “The biggest thing we had to do — which was probably most of the work in the whole film — was to make them feel like they weren’t walking through a set.” He explained. “All the underwater scenes where the divers are drifting to get to the guys or drifting out of the cave… they all have to fight. [or against] present… and we had to show that visually.”

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