Atlanta, GA, April 24, 2014 – PushPush has wrapped photography on a sneak preview, promotional pilot for its new episodic series GRFX (“graphics”). On April 6, 2014, PushPush and POPfilms in Atlanta, along with New York’s BrandCinema, ended five days of filming to result in a sneak preview pilot, a trailer and a promo for the full series. The project is completing its two-year development phase supported in part by an NEA New Media grant.
Over 200 people participated in the filming, which included in its background a live arts festival co-produced by PushPush. The new Snake Nation Arts Fest aims to be an annual staple of the Castleberry Hill Arts District.
GRFX is a live action drama that takes place inside Dresher’s, a small, global graphic novel/comics publishing company. Office interiors were shot at POPfilms’ studios in Atlanta (Finding Carter, Drumline 2). The exteriors and live arts festival were shot in the courtyard outside the famed Besharat Gallery in Atlanta’s historic Castleberry Hill.
For the filming, Key Illustrator Christoph Heuer created new iterations of Schnippi Dog, the company mascot, that line the walls of Dresher’s. The show will feature some animation amidst the a live action, and Animation Supervisor Byron Speight is assembling illustrators, animators, riggers and modelers from around the world. Actor/Comics Creator Chris Miskiewicz lent his skills to pilot, playing the role of Dresher’s illustrator “James.” Real-life illustrator Simon Fraser‘s drawings can be seen throughout the Dresher’s offices as well.
In addition to these artists, the pilot features dancers, musicians,performers, visual artists and local galleries, representing a variety of artistic disciplines. The first full season of GRFX will highlight an increasing number of working artists to underscore the show’s central tension between creative and commercial demands.
GRFX is being developed in conjunction with Executive Producers Jennifer Warren and Nicholas Levis of BrandCinema, along with Executive Producer Alexander A. Motlagh, who’s been involved with the project since producing the PushPush-incubated Sundance darling, The Signal. Sub-Genre’s Brian Newman serves as Strategic Consulting Partner. Sunny Lee was Cinematographer, and William Wedig is the Director for the Pilot.
This summer, the producing partners will engage in a campaign for the production of season one: a “mini” season of 13, six-minute episodes BrandCinema is packaging the show for original, digital network distribution and numerous sponsorship opportunities. The first 13 episodes will also be developed as a feature film. The series is aimed at a season of long-form episodes for digital networks.
As a producer of live shows, PushPush has also woven immersive and participatory experiences into the project’s scope, and will submit a live transmedia experience of GRFX to the Sundance Frontier Lab this fall. Tim Habeger, Series Creator, has also been invited to submit the GRFX script to the new Sundance Episodic Story Lab this September. All of which will bolster efforts toward wide and diverse viewership and participation, locally and abroad.
GRFX follows the struggle between creativity and commercial demands at a small, global publishing company. Loosely based on artistic challenges within Atlanta’s underground arts incubator, PushPush Film & Theater (The Signal, Dailies Filmmakers), the series tells a modern and evolving story about the fight for artistic sustainability. The GRFX project will help advance the discussion.
“Just about everyone knows the story of balancing creative desires with paying the bills. It’s hard, and people feel passionate about it. So passionate they sometimes throw expensive equipment out the window. Ha. Truth be told, there are viable points to each side of the argument. PushPush has lived it, here and abroad. Myself, our team, our entire network – we all deal with it daily. And then you add family issues into the mix? It’s going to be fun to watch it unfold.” Says producer Nicholas Levis.
Season one begins the death of Grandpa Dresher and follows a power-grab between his grandson heirs: Cale, a young businessman at heart, concerned more with commerce, and Paul, the idealist, focused on the integrity of art more than adjusting to the fiscal demands of a modern company. Moments of animation that add perspective will help drive the arc of the drama.
While the sneak preview pilot will introduce the story and build interest in the concept, the full series will dive deep into the chaotic world of Dresher’s, as one family-owned, international paper-and-ink publishing company faces obsolescence and an arduous transition into the 21st century.