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The Unlikely Making of “Gigantomachia”

June 17, 2011 | By | Add a Comment

Amanda Brinton

“The weight of the world bears down on a small family of refugees as their deportation and death loom on the increasingly surreal horizon.”

Shooting for 22-year-old director Mason Thorne’s three-part independent short, Gigantomachia, just wrapped.  From the decaying Damen Silos to the Resolution greenscreen studio, the ten-day shoot brought the volunteer crew all over Chicago.  Post-production has begun and Thorne’s production company, The Wild Blue Yonder LLC, intends to have the thirty-minute film completed by September.

Thorne, a recent graduate of Columbia College’s Film and Video program, wrote the screenplay for Gigantomachia in December after combining a pile of unusable story ideas from a screenwriting class and adapting them into one cohesive script.  One month later, at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, Thorne and co-founder of Wild Blue Yonder LLC, Benton Africano, decided to make the script into a movie.  Shortly after, Harrison Ciancuillo and Brian Henderson joined the project as producer and director of photography, respectively.

Columbia College agreed to let Gigantomachia use its facilities and equipment as an independent graduate film, therefore cutting The Wild Blue Yonder’s budget for the film significantly.  After the festival, the crew returned to Chicago to begin pre-production.  Actors were cast and the script was on its final revisions when, in early May, Columbia informed producer Ciancuillo that it was pulling its support from Gigantomachia.

Thorne and his crew were stunned.  However, this far in to pre-production, Ciancuillo knew it was too late to postpone or cancel Gigantomachia.  Even though the production was no longer officially tied to Columbia College, nearly all of the crew were current students or alumni.  Columbia provided no definitive reason for its withdrawal.  Ciancuillo and Thorne began seeking investments through family, friends, and the Internet.  As producer Ciancuillo affirmed, “It’s all just empty plans until you get money.” Thorne created a fundraising campaign on indiegogo.com, an online funding platform.  Unlike kickstarter.com, indiegogo.com allows its users to keep the funds even if the goal is not met.  They set the funding goal at $5,000, but were only able to collect $750.  Discounts from local companies like Fletcher Camera and Lenses and Resolution Studios made production possible after Columbia’s withdrawal.

Director Mason Thorne on set

Gigantomachia editor, Benton Africano, began working on the assembly cut during production, bringing his desktop computer to set and editing footage as it was shot.  Within two and a half weeks after shooting he will have Part I and II ready to send to the special effects crew as well as the composers, Flights AV, a Chicago-based music and design duo.

Thorne will release Part I of Gigantomachia online on August 3.  He and Ciancuillo intend to attract the attention of bloggers and viewers before Part II is released in mid-August.  The Wild Blue Yonder is one of many filmmaking companies that utilizes the Internet as an affordable way to distribute its productions.  By September, they are hoping to have a following that will attend the live screening of all the film’s three parts as one.  The screening party will also include a live performance from Flights AV.  The public is welcome and encouraged to attend.  Details on the online and live release to come later this summer.

After its debut screening, the trailer will take the place of the first two parts on the web.  The Wild Blue Yonder will then send Gigantomachia in its entirety to several international festivals such as Sundance, Toronto, and Chicago International.

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