Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Spreading The News ......

In Movies Briefs
Wisconsin preps for new "Nephilim" film
Director Danny Wilson's brings his crew to Wisconsin this September to film "Nephilim," a sci-fi thriller based on his comic bok series.
By Julie Lawrence RSS Feed
OnMilwaukee.com Staff Writer

E-mail author | Author bio
More articles by Julie Lawrence

Published July 21, 2008 at 11:02 a.m.
Tags: nephilim, danny wilson, film tax incentives, film wisconsin, public enemies, pulse studios

If you notice Nephilim giants, purple robed gargantuans and a litany of interesting characters looming about the state this September, that just means the system works.

Thanks to Wisconsin's newly implemented film tax incentives -- which helped bring Johnny Depp and the "Public Enemies" crew here for filming earlier this year -- creator / director Danny Wilson chose to work with the Green Bay-based Pulse Studios for his 2009 sci-fi action thriller "Nephilim."

Wilson and producer Susan Moses, a Wisconsin native, had been scouring Eastern Europe for the perfect film location and had settled on Bulgaria before the US dollar fell and costs rose.

Seeking other options, they flew into Green Bay and Milwaukee with director of photography Bern Heinl, who was the cinematographer on 2003's Wisconsin-shot "Milwaukee, Minnesota," and decided that the "beautiful old structures and wonderful river system" supported the film's look, says Heinl.

The team is opening its production offices in Green Bay this week and hopes to start filming by September.

According to Wilson, "Nephilim" is part of a trilogy and began as a comic book series he created before graduating from film school. The film will utilize local crews, talent and the state's film and production infrastructure.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Nephilim's Angel Gabriel in China

Those Angels do get around ...... next stop - Milwaukee!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Nephilim DP Arrives in Green Bay

Bernd Heinl returned to Wisconsin on Friday to prepare for his 2nd film in neighborhoods which are very familiar to him. He was the DP on Milwaukee Minnesota which was done in 2003 with director Allan Mindel. Today he is walking new locations for the action film Nephilim.

Heinl began his long career behind the camera in Munich Germany where he some of his early credits include The Outsider and Maiden’s War. Although he keeps a residence in Santa Monica, CA, Bernd Heinl has traveled the world with producers and directors working on features and television shows.

Nephilim is the 3rd film Heinl will be doing with Producer, Susan Moses, and the 1st with director, Danny Wilson. The trio have considered dozens of locations and have spent months working on storyboards, production planning and location scouting.

As Heinl stepped off the plane in Green Bay, he said, “Now we are counting down the days until the cameras role.” Don’t be surprised to see Mr. Heinl standing across from a tall building or in a park studying the sun and shadows as he makes his final notes for lighting and camera angles.

Friday, August 8, 2008

While Danny Wilson spent 4 days in LA this week meeting with the LA cast, (David Charvet, Danny Nucci, Hayley Marie Norman, John Savage, Noah Blake, G Anthony Joseph and Ryan “Rhino” Michaels), costume designer (Swinda Reichelt) , CGI/VFX company “Pixomondo”, SFX and Make up Department Head (Danielle Saunders and DRAC Studios), DP (Bernd Heinl) and Producer (Susan Moses) things moved ahead all full speed at the base camp production office in Green Bay.

All departments are currently hiring.

Local casting will begin within a week.

Locations are being locked.

Sets are being developed and prepped.

Stunt Coordinator, Gary Morgan and Fight Choreographer, James Lew are planning to audition stunt team members within a few weeks.

Comic book fans have saved August 22nd for the Nephilim Comic Book and Movie promotional party in Green Bay and the phones are ringing off the hook with inquiries and information requests.

Who said that Wisconsin only produces cheese? Mid-west movie magic is happening every day.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Director’s Journey From Home Movies to Multi-Million Dollar Budget

Filmmakers share many things in common, but none more so than the passion for bringing their stories to the screen. Danny Wilson discovered his passion when he was given the assignment to write a daily journal in middle school. For him the tedium of what could have been another boring task transcended into a foundation for storytelling.

In high school, armed with a consumer video camera, his obsession turned to the capturing of family vacations and poignant moments with his friends. In due course, he was directing short scenes with his school mates who were often unwittingly cast in the roles he created. Writing, filming and directing provided eventually moved him to editing of necessity. Within a few years his home movies and shorts became more elaborate incorporating clever camera tricks and homegrown special effects. His friends and family tagged him “Dawson” after the aspiring director character in Dawson’s Creek.

His love for reading short stories and novels inspired his fantasies and his early characters. For Danny, there was not enough time in the day to satisfy his appetite for books. Conversely, and to his parent’s horror, he made no secret of his complete distaste for math. He was frequently busted for using math class as his time to read science fiction/action adventure novels. He accomplished this by placing his novel within the math book. Unfortunately that ploy only worked for a short time. When called on to participate in the class discussion, he rarely knew the question and was clueless about the answer. More books than he can recall were tossed into the large pile which also included confiscated remote controls, watches and rubber bouncy balls behind the teacher’s desk.

After losing a myriad of books, he decided to try another approach. He was a student at a Catholic High School and thought the last thing they would take away from him was a Bible. He had already discovered how many films and novels where based on biblical characters and narrative. His instincts were correct, and for the balance of his high school years not one Bible was snatched from him by a math teacher. The book of Revelation became the foundation for his vision of the Nephilim trilogy.

He could not think about anything other than developing short stories, and characters, to construct his interpretation of the weird universe he imagined as a result of his biblical inspiration. Eventually, he made his decision to dedicate every waking minute to not only telling this story all the way through but to do so in the medium of film. Thus began the long journey to directing Nephilim.

His first challenge became raising money to produce his “test” film, Darkest Days. Under the guidance of his father and other family members, he completed a crash course on funding an LLC, pitching investors and writing a business plan. He disappeared from the outside world for three months while he finished creating the documents he needed to raise the money. Another challenge was the time frame he had to shoot the film. He planned to shoot in Virginia, but state showed little faith in his shooting schedule and ability to complete the project within the state’s guidelines. He heard the word “impossible” from them so often he considered changing the title of the film. Key crew turned him down, cast declined to work on the film, and no one seemed to share his vision and level of passion for the project. After hundreds of rejections and hearing “impossible”, his solution was to train the cast on the equipment before he rolled camera. When they were not on the screen, they worked as crew. Any job an actor could not do, Wilson did himself. He was DP, Audio, Director, Producer, Writer, and Editor on the film. Many nights provided him less than two hours of sleep, but he was determined to not succumb to the word “impossible”.

In addition to performing multiple roles on the production, he also found it necessary to improvise his equipment. He took a trip to a local hardware supply store, with crude drawings, and within a short time he and his younger brother were welding parts for a dolly, crane, steady cam, and tracks. He also improvised the filming of scenes with camera special angles. He wanted shoot a scene through a car windshield but had no way to rig the camera. Finally, necessity was the mother of invention. Using rock climber’s gear, he strapped himself to the front of the car. On a freezing cold Virginia day, he got the impossible shots. This is not recommended for anyone else by Wilson.

After completing Darkest Days, his decision to create a trilogy was an easy one because the story he had in his head naturally played out in three parts.

Wilson completed Darkest Days and set out to enter festivals in search of distribution. Winning prizes at festivals proved to be much easier than capturing the attention of legitimate distributors. Darkest Days has not made many major sales, and the film is still in the red, but for Wilson the process proved to be a solid foundation for the Nephilim trilogy.

After nearly three years of working with producer, Susan Moses, the project has grown from notes and conversations to fully developed franchise project which has attracted award winning Hollywood talent, Warner Bros post production, high profile Special Effects, Visual Effects and CGI companies and dozens of extremely talented and experienced crew and production team members.

According to Wilson, “I can’t imagine doing anything else.” Filmmaking is his passion and his calling. He can live without a regular pay check, but could never live without the pressures, tension, challenges and rewards of making movies.

Prepare Yourself

Friday, August 1, 2008

Who Is Semyaza?

Austrian born ingĂ©nue, Ina-Alice Kopp, learned of Nephilim through her European agent. Her curiosity was peeked when she researched the story and characters on the film’s website where she learned that the producer and director were searching for the perfect, Semyaza.

Ina holds degrees in Economics & Sinology , is fluent in Chinese, is a classically trained pianist and avid equestrian. Hard work and research are familiar to her. After several days of scouring the Internet and making phones calls across the Atlantic she was convinced that if she could meet the director, he would see, what she knew in her soul, that she was the perfect Semyaza.

Through European connections to a manager in Los Angeles who was quite familiar with Nephilim Ina found a link to the project. The manager contacted the producer, to inquire about a possible meeting between Ina and the director. With the meeting arranged at a Beverly Hills bistro, Ina boarded a plane in Austria determined to convince everyone that she was right for the role.

Between the second cup of coffee and dessert, it was very clear to everyone that Ina’s hunch held great prospect. She made it through the 1st meeting and the director agreed to hear her audition the following day.

“I could see the passion in her eyes immediately. It was clear that she wanted the role. She had a great look, and excellent training. But what convinced me of her complete passion for the project and the role, was the extent of her research into the Nephilim, my background, the YouTube interviews about the project.”, according to Danny Wilson.

The polyglot did a screen test, demonstrated her athletic prowess and discussed her experience with hanging from wires in a stunt harness. Within a week of arriving in Los Angeles on her speculative venture, she had secured the role and an American manager.

After a short time in the US, and armed with Nephilim comic books, character breakdowns and notes from the director, she headed back to Austria, her television series and a previous commitment in another feature film. But she promised that her focus would not leave Nephilim or her preparations for the challenges of playing Semyaza.

Ina will return to the US on September 2nd, when she will join the rest of the cast for the beginning of an amazing adventure.

Ina-Alice Kopp is Semyaza.

Nephilim Composer Nominated for Israeli Oscar

The Israeli Oscar (Ophir)
is the prize given by the Israeli Academy of Motion Pictures to recognize excellence of professionals in the film industry.
This year, Misha Segal has been nominated for Best Score to Weekend in Tel-Aviv.