Friday One Sheet: Marketing Approaches of Cannes vs. Sitges

Two of Europe’s prestige festivals, one king of the art-house world and granddaddy of all film festivals, Cannes, and the other king of the genre-festivals, the equally sprawling Sitges festival in Catalunya, recently put out movie style posters.

Above is the Cannes poster, highlighting (original photo by David Seymour) silver screen star Ingrid Bergman. There is also a documentary on the actress “Ingrid Bergman, in Her Own Words” playing at the festival to mark her 100th birthday. The festival which has been as much about celebrity and opulent life-style as it is about the power of cinema, has recently been issuing posters highlighting icons, from Marcello Mastroianni, Juliette Binoche, Paul Newman, Maggie Cheung, Marilyn Monroe and Faye Dunaway.

Meanwhile, in Spain, Sitges has had an ongoing theme as well, highlighting classic genre films that have lifted or added a bit of class to an otherwise exploitative B-film vibe to many of these films. This year (below) they have highlighted David Fincher’s Seven in their poster, which nicely doubles as a metaphor for film festivals in general, but more particularly genre themed festivals; namely “What’s in the Box!?” Previous sitges posters have highlighted The Shining, Rosemary’s Baby, Blue Velvet, King Kong, Alien and Jaws.

Friday One Sheet: Ran

Much like the dearth of quality cinema in the first few months of the year, quality one-sheets are hard to come by. So for the second week in a row, we go back to a classic image, this for Kurosawa’s last big hurrah, the period-war epic, Ran. The movie was in colour, but this quad poster emphasizes the fog, the scale and the motion with high contrast black and white, blood red accents on the flags, banners and pennants, and a canted angle.


There is something to be said about reducing the colour palette to make a striking. (Even if, in a more recent case, it is just a late career action picture with Sean Penn.)

(Hattip to Tederick Tumbles for pointing out this rare-ish Japanese Quad)

Friday One Sheet: Frankenstein Three Sheet

Got a spare $225000 burning a hole in your pocket? This ultra-rare 3-panel (2 meter long, 1 meter wide) “3-Sheet” poster for the Universal Monster classic, 1931s Frankenstein, is up for auction. It is a ultra-large sized variant of the original one-sheeet design which was only printed in small supply for promotion of the film upon its original release, and all were though lost or destroyed until this one was discovered in the 1970s in an abandoned movie house on Long Island. I’m confident that this is the most expensive “floaty head” poster in existence.

The Daily Mail has more.

Friday One Sheet: Dark Places

This French poster for Gilles Paquet-Brenner procedural thriller, Dark Places is so utterly simple one might be tempted to write it off as merely forgettable. But in a time of over-cluttered, floaty-head designs, simplicity (to to be confused with minimal) is often best. Charlize Theron lays down on a black background either at rest a near fetal position, or judging from the orientation of the photo, possibly ready to spring into action. This is for an adaptation of another Gillian Flynn novel (the poster makes note of this by mentioning Gone Girl in the upper corner.

Friday One Sheet: The Blade Runner is Still Running

In light of the strong rumour than Dennis Villeneuve is going to be the director of the long delayed sequel with a returning Harrison Ford, enjoy this handsome poster above. If we are going make another legitamite Blade Runner film (1998s Soldier doesn’t count), I cannot think of a better choice than the director of Enemy and Incendies to give it his best shot.

Here is hoping that he does NOT listen to Ridley’s whispers that Deckard is a Replicant.

Friday One Sheet: Alex of Venice

Continuing what I call the South Korean school poster-art (idiom: a clean, polished picture of a single or pair of characters with a pleasing, but vague background) we have this one for a Mary Elizabeth Winstead starring drama, Alex of Venice. Soft and warm lighting with subtle lens flaring gives off an innocent, glowing impression. And while I’m not absolutely crazy about the dueling fonts in the actual title presentation, I will admit that it does draw the eye and adds a strong visual element to an otherwise simple design. That being said, I like simple.

Friday One Sheet: Welcome To Me

It’s been a good week for Kristen Wiig, an actress who has come a long way to celebrity, and can now comfortably anchor a film on her star power alone. Her latest film gets one of the most handsome pieces of marketing this year, which to me evokes a South Korean style of doing movie posters; lean design elements, precisely spaced and coloured. The credit block is pushed up to the top, which is just the right amount of unusual from typical poster convention. And then there is that boom mike coming in off from the left. Do we need to know more? The tagline on the poster is so white it is nearly invisible, so here is an synopsis excerpt from the 2014 TIFF catalog, where it quietly played last year:

Alice Klieg suffers from borderline personality disorder, and though she manages it — and the accompanying medications and therapeutic care — fairly well, past tumult has left a broken marriage and strained familial relationships in its wake. She finds grounding in her daily routine, which includes memorizing every episode of Oprah and carefully monitoring her wardrobe and protein-laden diet. One can’t help but get the sense that Alice is straining to embrace bigger things, and when her numbers come up in the state lottery, suddenly she gets focused… on eighty million dollars’ worth of possibilities. In quick succession, Alice buys a stretch of hours at a local television company, eschews her medication and therapy, moves into a casino, and creates her own talk show about — what else? — herself. As her show gains an audience (despite some off-the-wall cooking and medical demonstrations), Alice realizes that viewers identify with her re-enactments of past hurts and social slights. What she doesn’t recognize is that her own hunger for fame may just reflect a deeper need to be heard.

Friday One Sheet: The Seventh Fire

When you get Terrence Malick to lend his credibility to your documentary, you make darn sure to put his name on the poster. Jack Pettibone Riccobono directs a documentary on a Minnesota Ojibwe reservation that has a gang problem, but he does it from the point of view of a 5-time incarcerated gang leader and his 17 year old protege.

The classic, minimalist one-sheet emphasizes sun down, and the wide open space of the midwest, but the deep red-orange could equally mean love or violence.

The Seventh Fire opens at the Berlinale Film Festival this week. The gorgeous trailer is also tucked under the seat.

Would you like to know more…?

Friday One Sheet: Foreground [No Way To Live]

I love the idea in this poster, but am nonplussed about the execution. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 percent of movie posters have a gun in them somewhere. OK, I made that stat up, but you get the idea. But do like the idea of having something in the foreground, clearly not in the poster, in front of the poster, but still in the poster. Am I making sense? Look at the gun being brandished. I’m sure someone will be a bit more creative with the idea in the near future. But for now, here is your possible new trend in One Sheet design. Much like putting age/distress into the design (which you will note is also used above) or plastering text over peoples faces, I expect to see designers, riff away on this idea, until it is pounded into a cliche, but for now it feels fresh.