Guy Maddin's Keyhole: A Post Production Diary

A collection of thoughts (and plot points) found along the way toward finishing Guy Maddin's latest feature film, Keyhole.

TIFF (site suckage) update

For those who have been following my links, perusing the TIFF site, or - god forbid - buying tickets, it seems the consensus is in: the TIFF website is terrible. It crashes. It’s bloated. Links change without warning, thus making previous hyperlinks go nowhere. I’ve heard people say that - at the point they had chosen tickets and were ready to pay - the site crashed them out. Not pretty.

Just saying.

Keyhole on Torontoist's Top 11 @ TIFF '11 Picks

Torontoist logo

2 years ago - 1 -

Keyhole: More TIFF! More Press!

TIFF Logo  The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) has released its screening schedule (printable version here). They have also added more information to their entry for Keyhole, in particular a thoughtful programmer’s note (“It may be Maddin’s boldest film yet” is not hyperbole).

Also of note, two writers for the Globe & Mail, Liam Lacey and Guy Dixon, have individually selected Keyhole as one to watch at the festival.

The stars are aligned!

Kehole/TIFF Press

That ringing in your ears? That’s buzz. Keyhole buzz!

A big shout-out from The Guardian, who picks Keyhole as one of the films to see at TIFF ‘11!

StudioDaily blogger Beth Marchant talks about Keyhole as well as this very diary (how meta can it get?). Thanks, Beth!

Keep it coming, websters!

oooswampwitch said: i'm sorry i didn't find this tumblr sooner! very excited. good job to those who worked on the film; it already looks incredible!

Thanks for the comment - I should note that I will let everyone know when Keyhole gets video distribution (seeing as not everyone lives in a big city with a film festival).

Keyhole: Hello, TIFF!

It’s official: Keyhole shall make its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival this September!

For details, please check TIFF’s website for screening times. There is a Keyhole summary page on their site also.

It is always a joy to have a film I’ve worked on appear at a festival venue such as Toronto, Cannes, or Berlin. Keyhole will mark my fifth at TIFF. It makes the hard work worthwhile, and exposes that work to a wide (and widely discerning) audience.

Toronto, if not a filmmaker’s city, is without doubt a film lover’s city, which makes Keyhole's presentation that much more satisfying, particularly considering the film marks a departure for Guy. As far as I'm concerned, Keyhole has a more compelling emotional core; the Maddin tropes and quirks that you would expect are there, but under the surface there is something that engages the audience beyond the wild flights of cine-erotic fantasy. There is, indeed, something dark and wounded, and I feel deserving of reflection.

If any other Keyhole-related news comes up, I’ll let you know.

Jason Patric as Ulysses Pick

Jason Patric as Ulysses Pick

David Evans as Nate

David Evans as Nate

Anonymous said: do you know when we'll see a trailer?

I can tell you that a trailer is being worked on. The rest is up to our Canadian distributor, Entertainment One. I will try to let it be known on the blog when this happens

Keyhole: Getting there + a warning (to most)

The answer print screening went well. A couple of small fixes to be made. Jody, the producer, went back to the digital edit suite @ Technicolor and tweaked the brightness on a couple of shots in reel #2 - Tech will go ahead and shoot this to film and then we should be done on the film side of things.

After the film part is taken care of, the video masters must follow (and the nagging inclusion of closed captioning - it’s obviously a good thing…heck, it’s mandatory in this country, but a p.i.t.a. to seamlessly complete so that you’re not sitting around, waiting for the closed caption file to be completed by the supplier while your post schedule is being held up). We are all hoping that Keyhole will show at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) - I am confident in this. The hardest part of post is keeping the engine running and not getting distracted by sub-deadlines (like film festivals), though paradoxically you need them for so many reasons (publicity, new distribution sales, etc..).

Now, a warning (to most): the schedule that Keyhole has operated under would break, batter, and perhaps kill 99% of the semi-professionally made feature films out there. I’ve been rather upfront about what we have been able to achieve given the short amount of time for colour correction, sound design, and especially sound mixing. We are blessed by several things:

  1. A great fucking crew. Seriously. You can’t pull that out of your ass - it takes time to build such a thing, and so it would be dangerous for anyone to assume that this was only a small part of Keyhole's successful execution. In particular, I worry about any producers out there thinking that all of this was just a matter of money management and not picking and choosing the people who grace (yes) the project with their talent and hard work.
  2. Planning. I’ve worked with Guy before, but Jody Shapiro and Jean de Toit have worked with Guy on nearly everything he’s done since 2000. They understand how Guy shoots - even when the format is changed, as it was on Keyhole - and understand what to allow for in each and every category of production. As regards post, they consulted extensively with all the post houses to see whether they could achieve the end result we have now.
  3. Great post production talent: the folks at Technicolor (from colourist to coordinators), Tattersall (sound design/mixing), composer Jason Staczek, and particularly the efforts of picture editor John Gurdebeke. His initial sound design (and colour correction) saved the production a tonne of time and expense.

In other words, you could take the same camera, the same post schedule, the same list of deliverables, but you could not replicate that which is Keyhole. I say this as a tribute to those who contributed so much to the project.

David Wontner as Manners

David Wontner as Manners

Keyhole: Update

A whirlwind of a week, I tell you!

  1. Last fixes/additions to tail credits completed. And thus the last reel of the show is complete and shot to film!
  2. The mix went swimmingly well. Guy flew into town for playback (this is when the show is presented with the final mix) and there were very few go-backs. The mix is complete!
  3. We have a screening for the kind folks at TIFF next week, so we’re racing to have a video master completed, and…
  4. We hope to screen the first answer print next Tuesday: this is a film-based positive print of the show, screened complete with the final mix printed to (digital) optical audio.

We are in the home stretch, folks.

[Keyhole] is crazier than a Turin horse.

Isabella Rossellini opining on the film. The Turin horse reference is obscure, but it would seem it relates to a seminal event in the mental breakdown of Friedrich Nietzsche. This may also be a prescient reference to the new Hungarian film, The Turin Horse, by Béla Tarr and Ágnes Hranitzky.