Cinéster is my senior thesis film.
Based on a true robbery, the film follows the story of an overworked theater usher as he tries to take back his fair share during the height of the Midnight Ghost Shows of the Great Depression.
The Midnight Ghost Shows were a gimmick used by movie palaces in order to entertain the populace, as entertainment was the one of the American people's only outlet during this time. These shows involved techniques of mixed media such projections, stage performances, and bioluminescent paint to name a few. The highlight of these shows featured a blackout section, in which the power in the whole building would be shut off in order to get perfect darkness. There's been reports of someone utilizing the blackout section as a chance to rob the theater, however not much is known about this particular scheme. The interesting thing about these shows is that, without time travel, many of us will just never know what exactly it was like to witness these events. The film itself is a tribute to dead artforms, which is why it is animated almost entirely on paper, cells, and features music with expired copyrights.
The art of the film was one of the most fun aspects of making it.
Following a faux UPA style, the film acts as a vehicle of tributes to mostly dead or forgotten art forms.
Almost all of the animation is done on paper first, and then inked, shot digitally and then colored and layered over digitally painted backgrounds.
The blackout sequence of the film is done entirely on clear plastic celluloid sheets, recreating an analog animation style prevalent in the time period the film is set in.
The backgrounds were painted by English illustrator, Katherine Cassidy, and all were designed to resemble the quality of backgrounds from animated features and specials of the twentieth century.
Old film techniques and references were made as well in order to make the atmosphere and the tone feel just right.
The color grading is meant to emulate two strip technicolor, an archaic method of colorizing features before color film became mainstay.
Overall, the film has a healthy balance of traditional and digital techniques to be the best it possibly can be