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SPOTLIGHT: Ain't No Party Like a MR. X Party

Share your views on the state of the Animation Industry.

SPOTLIGHT: Ain't No Party Like a MR. X Party

Postby EAllen » Sun Sep 19, 2010 9:40 pm

Mr. X needs no introduction.

mr. x1.JPG
mr. x1.JPG (11.6 KiB) Viewed 286 times

Arguably The Mill didn't need any either (and, indeed, I didn't bother writing much of one), but volume vs. quality here Mr. X is all about the latter even as they accumulate more of the former.

Before founding Mr. X and partnering with Topix, Toronto-native Dennis Berardi built Toybox into a leading effects and imaging house (getting work on lower-budgeted films like Bride of Chucky), but had an epiphany: Toybox was pursuing one angle as he was pursuing another in the post-industry. Toybox had grand goals, but Berardi had even grander ones, and as Mr. X he was able to see some of them to fruition.

Mr. X went into service January 2001 and shortly thereafter completed their first big project, Century Hotel, an ensemble Canadian historical mystery/romance film, budgeted under $1 million, that spans several decades of the 20th Century--in one hotel room. Shot Count: 20.

Their next project, a Canadian Christmas film named Blizzard. Shot Count: 300!

Lust, Caution Ipoh, Malaysia location--BEFORE
mr. x2.JPG

Lust, Caution Ipoh, Malaysia location--AFTER vfx added
mr. x3.JPG

Though certainly, among their most daunting challenges has to be Whiteout where they were tasked with having to deliver 415 shots (out of 900) for the mid-budgeted production. Mostly dealing with set extensions and arctic weather elements like a blizzard and gusty conditions, Mr. X eventually zeroed in on a task that had them rig up an entire CG character, post-mortem.
mr. x4.JPG

One of their most recent projects, 120 shots for Hot Tub Time Machine saw them dealing with fluid simulation and solvers--oh, and a vortex entirely composed of water, swirling into the sky along with the four male main characters. Crazy. Mr. X got that done with Houdini, RealFlow and ultimately Nuke for compositing.
mr. x5.JPG

And they did a ton more movies that you can read about on their News & Events section of their site, which provides access to PDF files containing tremendous detail about all the work that passed through their quarters through their ten years in the VFX biz, more detail than I've included here (or ever will) and certainly material for future posts (especially their work on Resident Evil: Afterlife) in this SPOTLIGHT topic.
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Re: SPOTLIGHT: Ain't No Party Like a MR. X Party

Postby EAllen » Mon Sep 20, 2010 8:40 am

Dennis Berardi even managed to get a producer credit on a film, based on a screenplay he got ahold of (from James DeMonaco, Todd Harthan and
James Roday--thanks Wikipedia); after what seemed like an eternity, it came together with fellow producer Robert Kulzer and effects wiz Stan Winston attached. It was Skinwalkers.



Unfortunately, it didn't set the box office afire and it became a ratings debacle when it became mandated that the film had to be delivered with a PG-13 (I think Lionsgate lost some faith in it at this point). Material clearly R-rated had to be delivered as PG-13--yyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyeah, okay. Naturally, this film became an 80-minute long borderline unintentional comedy. Not what Berardi had in mind, to be sure.

Still, the goal remains for Mr. X to become a self-sufficient post-house, a production entity working on its own films, and producing effects for them in-house.
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Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2010 1:30 pm
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