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‘Hashtag’ Anibrain Visual Effects Featurette Released

‘Hashtag’ Anibrain Visual Effects Featurette Released

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

A chance meeting between director Ben Alpi and Anibrain, Los Angeles’ Executive Producer Mark de Sousa has led to some beautiful imagery for Runic Films’ short science fiction film Hashtag.

 

“Mark and I met on a plane, [laughs]” says Ben Alpi, the director and co-writer of Hashtag, a science fiction short film about “X”, played by Gigi Edgley, a celebrity in the darkening future of social media. The film also stars Ethan Arkin, and Juliet Landau. “I was traveling to Montreal and just happened to sit next to two eminent visual effects artists; one of them was Mark.”

 

Mark de Sousa is the Los Angeles-based Executive Producer for Anibrain, an award winning visual effects and creative studio specializing in creating stunning visuals for Film, TV, and Mobile.

 

Mark adds, “What Ben didn’t know was that the flight was filled with attendees for a Visual Effects and Animation conference. [laughs] He told me about Hashtag, which had just finished physical production, and I was immediately drawn to the story. And he said it was full of futuristic visuals so I wanted to see how Anibrain might get involved.”

 

When they returned to the U.S., the two met with visual effects supervisor Deke Kincaid. “When Ben introduced me to Deke,” says Mark, “we immediately felt a connection and quickly formed a clear understanding about the needs of the film. I was thrilled that Ben had envisioned such a key role for visual effects and that he did not limit himself in order to bring his vision to life.”

 

Ben adds, “We were impressed with the work Anibrain was doing in feature films and we were hoping they might be interested in tackling one of the more complex sequences in the film.”

 

Specializing in everything from animals to environmental effects like digital fire, Anibrain was up to the challenge. In less than a decade, the studio has gathered visual effects credits in over 100 international blockbusters, ranging from North American to Asian cinema. Founded in 2006 by leading VFX Supervisor Jesh Krishna Murthy, Anibrain has become a leading destination for high-end global VFX in India.

 

Jesh, Anibrain’s founder, recalls, “When Mark and I reviewed the various sequences in Hashtag, one sequence popped out as particularly interesting and different where floating robots spray clothing and jewelry onto X. We worked with Ben to flesh out the look of the robots and the effects of all the elements building out.”

 

And the spectacular results speak for themselves. Check out this visual effects demo put together by Anibrain and Runic Films.

 

 

“We could not be happier that Ben invited us to collaborate and help realize his vision for Hashtag,” notes Mark. “He has a great artistic sense and clearly explains his directions. We are looking forward to working with him for many years to come.”

 

“Anibrain did amazing, detailed work,” Ben says. “These effects help make this film something special for our Kickstarter Backers and viewers around the world. I’m really glad Mark and I sat next to each other. I definitely recommend Anibrain to anyone in need of sophisticated, photo-realistic visual effects.”

 

A co-production of Runic Films and Little Empire Productions, Hashtag is an ambitious vision of the future and is currently in post-production. For more about the project, visit https://runicfilms.com//hashtag.

 

 

ABOUT RUNIC FILMS
Runic Films is a Los Angeles-based film production and entertainment company developing original properties for film and television. Runic was founded in 2001 to return visual storytelling to its roots and uphold the traditions of myth and legend. Today, Runic Films harnesses cutting-edge technology and visual effects to create amazing worlds for dramatic tales grounded in humanity.
https://runicfilms.com/
@runicfilms
https://www.facebook.com/runicfilms

 

ABOUT LITTLE EMPIRE PRODUCTIONS
Little Empire Productions is the creative partnership of Gigi and Jake Edgley to create and promote music, comic books, and films that enlighten, intrigue, and rock your world. Spanning the Pacific between Australia and Los Angeles, Calif., Little Empire Productions’ mission is to create great art straight from the heart and soul.

 

ABOUT ANIBRAIN
Anibrain is an award winning visual and creative studio specializing in creating stunning visuals for Film, TV, Apps, VR, AR and Mobile. No matter how complex the work, we get it done! With credits in over 100 international blockbusters, we are passionate about telling your story through breathtaking visuals that dazzle audiences the world over.
http://anibrain.com/
@anibrainVFX

 

Contact:
Robert Alpi
Runic Films
email
Ph: 810-771-8065

 

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Hashtag Visual Effects Competition Winners Announced

The Foundry has announced the winners of their first NUKE Non-Commercial competition! Many thanks to all who participated. Congratulations to the winners Salvatore Parigi, Ilan Fremder, Miguel Guerrero, Andi Novianto, and Madhuka Gunasekera! It has been a fantastic show of creativity and ingenuity. Contestants were tasked with creating a graphical interface for “X”, played by Gigi Edgley, of Runic Films’ forthcoming short science fiction film Hashtag. An exercise in using NUKE Non-Commercial, The Foundry released a non-commercial learning edition of their awarding winning NUKE software in April 2015. (Read our announcement back in July HERE.)

 

Check out the winning entries below and congratulate the winners in The Community forum.

 

Salvatore Parigi

Best Sequence 
The Foundry: Salvatore’s unique design and interaction between X and the HUD elements as well as the creative workflow and problem solving in the project scripts really impressed the judges. Salvatore took a different approach to the challenge and the result is a beautiful piece. Well done!

 

 

Ilan Fremder

Best Shot 
The Foundry: The judges felt that this shot was a very complete project demonstrating strong NUKE and compositing skill. Ilan’s project had one of the best organised node graphs and lots of great gizmos. Congratulations!

 

 

Miguel Guerrero

Best Sequence Runner-Up 
The Foundry: The beautiful color palette and thoughtful design made this sequence stand out. Miguel’s entry shows off his compositing skill as well as unique design aesthetic. Great work!

 

 

Andi Novianto

Best Shot Runner-Up 
The Foundry: Andi went above and beyond the brief, creating a range of animated HUD elements. The judges loved the surprise headgear in this shot. Good job!

 

 

Madhuka Gunasekera

Judges Pick 
The Foundry: This sequence wowed the judges who all loved the beautiful lighting and strong compositing, making this the clear choice for judges pick!

 

 

To see all of the great entries head over to The Foundry’s The Community forum.

 

Juliet Landau Joins the Cast of ‘Hashtag’

Juliet Landau Joins the Cast of ‘Hashtag’

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

LOS ANGELES, Calif.,  Runic Films and Little Empire Productions are very happy to announce that Juliet Landau has joined the cast of their forthcoming science fiction short film Hashtag. Juliet will be the voice of “T’ea”, the omnipresent computer system in the Hashtag world. A superlative actress on screen, on stage, and in animation, video games, and audio dramas, Juliet has appeared in some of the biggest films, series, and franchises.

 

“Juliet is a truly fantastic addition or our already excellent cast. A few years ago, I saw Juliet in a staged reading of A Streetcar Named Desire and was struck by her Blanche”, says Ben Alpi, director and co-writer of the film. “Fate would have it that I was listening to her voice-over demo reel one day and introducing her to Hashtag the next. Itss quite incredible!”

 

Juliet is known for many roles including “Drusilla” in Joss Whedon’s Emmy and Saturn award-winning series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, and “Loretta” in Tim Burton’s Oscar winning Ed Wood. She has also supplied the voices for numerous animated films including several in the DC Comics universe, and TV series including Ben 10, Justice League, Green Lantern: The Animated Series and more. Juliet also voiced several memorable video game characters including the “Little Sisters” from the award-winning Bioshock series. Doctor Who and audio drama fans will also know Juliet as “Romana” from Big Finish’s The Companion Chronicles and Gallifrey ranges.

 

Juliet shares, “I am very excited about working with Ben and joining the Hashtag universe. The film is a wonderful comment on our times and the use of social media. T’ea should be a lot of fun to voice!”

 

 

As a director and producer, Miss Landau has been working on a duo of feature documentaries about vampires, A Place Among the Undead and A Place Among the Dead. She is currently gearing up an IndieGoGo campaign for Undead, a “first of its kind” gathering the Who’s Who of the genre. With an impressive list of interviewees never seen together in one film, you can sign up to be notified about the campaign at http://www.aplaceamongtheundead.com/.

 

Ben remarks, “Juliet has a unique voice and builds such indelible characters. I can’t wait to hear her breathe life into T’ea!”

 

Neither can I enthuses Juliet.

 

Juliet joins Hashtag stars Gigi Edgley, Erryn Arkin, and Simone Alex in The Twilight Zone-like short film about a future dominated by social media and technology. Hashtag, from co-writer/director Ben Alpi, producer Jyotika Virmani and co-writer Kevin Rubio, was successfully funded on Kickstarter.com in December 2014 and is currently in post-production. Hashtag is a co-production of Runic Films and Little Empire Productions.

 

For more information visit:
https://runicfilms.com/
http://www.gigiedgley.com

 

ABOUT RUNIC FILMS
Runic Films is a Los Angeles-based film production and entertainment company developing original properties for film and television. Runic was founded in 2001 and is dedicated to upholding the traditions of mythic storytelling. Runic Films harnesses cutting-edge technology and visual effects to create amazing worlds for dramatic tales grounded in humanity.

 

ABOUT LITTLE EMPIRE PRODUCTIONS
Gigi and Jake Edgley are the co-founders of Little Empire Productions. They have been certain every step of the way to create music, comic books and films that enlighten, intrigue and rock your world. They are internationally based as Jake is currently located in Australia and Gigi resides in Los Angeles. Little Empire Productions mission is to devise creations straight from the heart and soul.

 

Contact:
Robert Alpi
Runic Films
email
Ph: 810-771-8065

 

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Runic Films Teams Up with The Foundry for VFX Competition

Runic Films has teamed up with award-winning visual effects software company The Foundry in their NUKE Non-Commercial Summer Competition 2015. With over $40,000 in prizes, the competition challenges visual effects artists from around the world to use The Foundry’s new non-commercial version of their award-winning NUKE software to create the visual effects for a sequence of raw footage from Runic Films’ and Little Empire Production’s science fiction thriller Hashtag.

 

Hashtag stars Gigi Edgley (Farscape, Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge) as “X”, the ultimate social media maven. In the film, X uses a new kind of computer interface. What kind you ask? That’s what the artists must create! “I have a defined concept of how X’s interface will work, but it will be great to see what other artists come up with,” says Ben Alpi, the director of the much anticipated short film. Ben added, “We’re thrilled to be a part of this contest.? NUKE is a fantastic product and we’re really happy to support the free version so more artists can learn it. Prizes in the competition include hardware, software, and subscriptions from The Foundry, Wacom, NVIDIA fxphd, and the Production COLLECTIVE for the winning sequence and/or shot.

 


Hashtag - The Foundry Team Up
 

As Hashtag moves to the visual effects stage of post production, part of their visual effects pipeline will include The Foundry’s NUKE, the world’s leading compositing software. NUKE, like many of The Foundry’s products, has been used in numerous feature films, television series, music videos, and commercials. Some major examples include Pacific Rim, Star Trek, The Hobbit trilogy and Oscar winners Lincoln, Gravity and Life of Pi. Further, every film since 2008 that’s been nominated for a Best Visual Effects Oscar has used The Foundry’s software, particularly NUKE. In television, examples include Once Upon A Time, Falling Skies, and Emmy winning series Boardwalk Empire and Game of Thrones.

 

But what is compositing? “Compositing is cutting out and putting together two or more images to make a single image,” says Deke Kincaid, the Visual Effects Supervisor of Hashtag. “Placing a hand painted matte painting of a deep canyon under “Luke” in Star Wars, or a digital dinosaur into a scene in Jurassic Park, that’s compositing.” Deke is also Media and Entertainment OEM Development Manager for The Foundry. “When they told me they were looking for footage to use as the basis for the NUKE non-commercial competition, I knew Hashtag would be a perfect fit.”

 

Hashtag was funded by a successful Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign in December 2014 with the film quickly going into production the following February. The Backers of the project got news of the contest, and of the release of several seconds of raw Hashtag footage, on the day it launched. Backers enjoyed getting a first glimpse although one Backer @Ulathar Tweeted, “Teasing us with a 10 seconds clip has me convinced that @JyovianStorm [producer Jyotika Virmani] is evil and enjoys torturing backers.” Jyotika replies, “Our Backers are great, and obviously funny! I know the Backers are waiting for more, but I was super excited to be able to share even this. It shows the Backers a rare insight into the complex movie-making process.”

 

“Deke reports that 500 contestants downloaded the content for the contest on the first day. That’s great!” added Ben. “We hope there are many more.” Runic Films will not use competition submissions directly in the final film, the footage from Hashtag is only intended as the foundation of the contest.

 

The NUKE Non-Commercial Summer Competition 2015 is going on now and with a deadline of 15 September 2015 at 11:59 PM (PDT). Entries will be judged by an expert team with winners for the best sequence and best shot. To take part in the competition, artists enter here: https://www.thefoundry.co.uk/products/nuke/non-commercial/nuke-non-commercial-competition-2015/

[Edit: NVIDIA joined the competition bringing the prize total increased from $34,000 to over $40,000.]

 

‘Hashtag’ Moves into Post Production

‘Hashtag’ Moves into Post Production

(Originally posted to our Kickstarter here.)

 

Hello friends!

 

Director Ben here with an update on Hashtag. Good gosh golly have we been busy!

 

Pre-production… DONE!
Principle Photography… DONE!
Rough Cut… DONE!
Editing… UNDERWAY!

 

Thanks to a wonderful cast, an awesome crew, and the the support of our intrepid Backers, we completed Hashtag principle photography on March 12th! Filming took place on two fabulous stages, IllusionLuka Studios in Burbank, and Gnomon School of Visual Effects in Hollywood. Our first four days at IllusionLuka were February 19-22 and then at Gnomon March 12th. Gigi Edgley, Erryn Arkin, and Simone Alex were joined by Todd Tucker, Michael Anthony, and Lucas Bessey for cameo appearances. We also had some awesome background actors including our composer Joe Terrana and his wife Linae.

 

Hashtag Backers On Set

 

It was also great to meet our Invite Level Backers on the set! They met the crew and cast of Hashtag, had lunch with Gigi, Jyotika and myself, and saw the filmmaking process first hand.

 

And now, the long road ahead! We have completed a rough cut of the film and are now working to refine it. Once the edit is complete, it’s onward to visual effects, motion graphics, ADR/looping, sound design and editing, music, and color correction. I must note that this process will take time! We want to make the best film possible and this is a complex science fiction project with several layers and elements. That means the coordination of many parts and people to harmonize into a most excellent chorus. Be steadfast! Once we’ve completed the film, there are several more processes to complete including converting the film to different formats, authoring the DVD and Blu-ray, editing the special features, and creating all the remaining Backer rewards of awesome!

 

Thank you very much again to our cast, crew, Backers, and supporters! Off we go!

 

Sincerely,
Ben
Director, Hashtag

 

Hashtag Day 4 Selfie
One more on-set selfie: Deke Kincaid, Ben Alpi, Jyotika Virmani, and Gigi Edgley
“Hashtag” Filming Begins, Simone Alex Joins Cast

“Hashtag” Filming Begins, Simone Alex Joins Cast

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

LOS ANGELES, Calif., Filming has begun! At an undisclosed location deep in the heart of Hollywood, Runic Films and Little Empire Production’s Hashtag science fiction short film has started filming. The film is being directed and was co-written by Ben Alpi, produced by Jyotika Virmani, and stars Gigi Edgley.

 

“Many thanks to the amazing team there who are working with us to make this happen. Hashtag is beginning to take shape!” says Jyotika Virmani, the producer of Hashtag.

 

Simone AlexThe cast and crew comprise of over 35 individuals including stars Gigi Edgley and Erryn Arkin as well as a new addition. Joining the cast of Hashtag is the lovely and talented Simone Alex. Find out more about Simone on her website, http://www.simonealex.com.

 

“Everything is going very well so far. Everyone is prepped and ready. I’m really excited to finally see all the pieces coming together,” added Ben Alpi, director.

 

All hands on deck! Joining Ben on set will be production designer Meg Savage, cinematographer David Berry, visual effects supervisor Deke Kincaid, art director Steve Karman, editor Jeff Handy, composer Joe Terrana, and line producer Erik “Gooch” Goodrich.

 

Jyotika said, “We’ll also have three of our ‘Invite Level’ Kickstarter Backers join us on Saturday to check out movie-making in action!”

 

Hashtag was successfully funded on Kickstarter.com in December 2014 and begins principle photography later this month. The film is a though-provoking science fiction short starring Gigi Edgley from co-writer/director Ben Alpi, producer Jyotika Virmani and co-writer Kevin Rubio. Hashtag is a co-production of Runic Films and Little Empire Productions.

 

For more information visit:
https://runicfilms.com/
http://www.gigiedgley.com

 

ABOUT RUNIC FILMS
Runic Films is a Los Angeles-based film production and entertainment company developing original properties for film and television. Runic was founded in 2001 and is dedicated to upholding the traditions of mythic storytelling. Runic Films harnesses cutting-edge technology and visual effects to create amazing worlds for dramatic tales grounded in humanity.

 

ABOUT LITTLE EMPIRE PRODUCTIONS
Gigi and Jake Edgley are the co-founders of Little Empire Productions. They have been certain every step of the way to create music, comic books and films that enlighten, intrigue and rock your world. They are internationally based as Jake is currently located in Australia and Gigi resides in Los Angeles. Little Empire Productions mission is to devise creations straight from the heart and soul.

 

Contact:
Robert Alpi
Runic Films
email
Ph: 810-771-8065

 

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Actor Erryn Arkin Joins ‘Hashtag’

Actor Erryn Arkin Joins ‘Hashtag’

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Erryn ArkinLOS ANGELES, Calif., Runic Films and Little Empire Productions are thrilled to announce that actor Erryn Arkin will join Gigi Edgley on the cast of Hashtag. A short science fiction drama, Hashtag explores the future of humanity and celebrity in a world dominated by social media and technology.

 

“We’re really excited to have Erryn join the cast. He’s a superior guy and a very nuanced actor,” says Ben Alpi, director and co-writer of the short science fiction film going into production soon. “I can’t wait to work with Erryn, he has a unique job ahead and it will be great to see him bring his character to life.”

 

Erryn has appeared in a number of television series, including Home and Away (in Australia) and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (in the US). Erryn got bit by the acting bug performing Shakespeare in local stage plays. He went on to graduate from the University of New South Wales and continued his training at the National Institute of Dramatic Art. Also catch Erryn in the upcoming ABC Sci-Fi drama series Stitchers (2015).

 

Erryn adds, “When I first heard about the concept behind Hashtag, it sounded like something I’d really like to dig into. It’s a great opportunity to work with Ben, Gigi and the rest of this awesome team. I’m glad to be a part of bringing this incredibly layered script to life.”

 

Hashtag was successfully funded on Kickstarter.com in December 2014 and begins principle photography later this month. The film is a though-provoking science fiction short starring Gigi Edgley from co-writer/director Ben Alpi, producer Jyotika Virmani and co-writer Kevin Rubio. Hashtag a co-production of Runic Films and Little Empire Productions.

 

For more information visit:
https://runicfilms.com/
http://www.errynarkin.com
http://www.gigiedgley.com

 

ABOUT RUNIC FILMS
Runic Films is a Los Angeles-based film production and entertainment company developing original properties for film and television. Runic was founded in 2001 and is dedicated to upholding the traditions of mythic storytelling. Runic Films harnesses cutting-edge technology and visual effects to create amazing worlds for dramatic tales grounded in humanity.

 

ABOUT LITTLE EMPIRE PRODUCTIONS
Gigi and Jake Edgley are the co-founders of Little Empire Productions. They have been certain every step of the way to create music, comic books and films that enlighten, intrigue and rock your world. They are internationally based as Jake is currently located in Australia and Gigi resides in Los Angeles. Little Empire Productions mission is to devise creations straight from the heart and soul.

 

Contact:
Robert Alpi
Runic Films
email
Ph: 810-771-8065

 

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Thank you Backers! Hashtag is a GO!

Thank you Backers! Hashtag is a GO!

Dear Backers and supporters,

 

On behalf of the entire Hashtag cast and crew, we would like to thank you for all the love and support you’ve sent our way over the past 30+ days. To help express our gratitude, here are a pair of thank you messages– one from myself and Jyotika and one from Gigi (who is on top of the world– literally!). You guys are the greatest!

 

Sincerely,
Ben Alpi & Jyotika Virmani
director/co-writer & producer

 


 

 

Thank you Backers!

 

Starburst Magazine Interview: Gigi Edgley, Ben Alpi & Jyotika Virmani

Starburst Magazine Interview: Gigi Edgley, Ben Alpi & Jyotika Virmani

The iconic Starburst Magazine interviews star Gigi Edgley, Director/Co-Writer Ben Alpi, and Producer Jyotika Virmani about  “Hashtag”, our Kickstarter. (now in its final days!)

 

Read the interview here:
http://www.starburstmagazine.com/features/interviews/10427-gigi-edgley-hashtag

Warped Space SciFi Club Sends Up ‘Hashtag’ Kickstarter

Warped Space SciFi Club Sends Up ‘Hashtag’ Kickstarter

The Warped Space SciFi Club writes (very nicely!) about our Hashtag KickstarterHashtag will star Gigi Edgley and will be Directed by Co-Writer Ben Alpi and Produced by Jyotika Virmani.

Check it out here!
http://www.warpedspacescifi.com/#!Hashtag-SciFi-Kickstarter/c1twa/E5E9E283-CE8A-49AB-A28E-04A64DF1846D