Matt Pizzolo and Ben Templesmith’s ‘Black Sky’

13 12 2010

BLACK SKY: The Illustrated Film, coming soon from creator/illustrator Ben Templesmith (’30 Days of Night’) & director Matt Pizzolo (‘Godkiller’). Set in the future, a band of soldiers face a ‘strange, new enemy’, which possibly draws inspiration from the work of H.P. Lovecraft. I’m particularly impressed with the use of lighting effects in ‘Black Sky’, which add an extra sense of vitality and depth to Templesmith’s illustrated artwork. The addition of a Nine Inch Nails soundtrack adds to the general sense of impending doom.

The following excerpt from states Pizzolo’s aims for the project

“Also planned to be released as a comic book, Black Sky is a project that Pizzolo hopes will define the difference between existing drawings ported to the “motion comic” format and original, specially made “illustrated films.””

Pizzolo is certainly pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved with static illustrated artwork, and the scope of what he and Templesmith are trying to accomplish, in terms of long format filmmaking, must be applauded.

Additional links:

Black Sky Teaser from Halo-8 Entertainment on Vimeo.


The Illustrated film vs the motion comic – Is there a difference?

30 07 2010


I was intrigued by the comments of the creatives behind the distopian nightmare of ‘Godkiller’ and the upcoming ‘Black Sky’ illustrated film on the MTV website.

Matt Pizzolo quote:

Though similar in some ways to motion comics, ill-films are a
new format of cinema whereas motion comics are a new format of cartoons.

On first glance, ill-films and motion comics look very similar…
and people might say ‘it’s moving comics on a screen,
that’s motion comics’ to which I say ‘just because Seinfeld is moving
people captured on 35mm film doesn’t make it the same thing as Full Metal Jacket.”

I have some doubts about the relevance of Pizzolo’s statement. Motion comics and illustrated film share a commonality that cannot be ignored, despite an effort to elevate the term ‘illustrated film’ above the motion comic. That shared commonality is of course the static comic book or illustrated image, which has been imbued with movement (either by camera movement, ‘puppet’ style animation techniques, motion graphics and lighting and spatial effects) Certainly some motion comics can be compared in various ways to the classic saturday morning kids cartoons, however that ignores or conveniently dismisses some of the more avant garde forms of motion comic adaptations such as ‘Batman Black and White: Perpetual Mourning’, or Crush Inc’s ‘Death of the Channel Three News Team‘. It’s also important to note that the pacing of the illustrated film or motion comic is heavily influenced by sound elements, such as dialogue and soundtrack. My interviews with several animation directors (such as Gary Thomas) have revealed the influence of dialogue on the pacing of a scene.

In summary, the illustrated film, like the motion comic, is capable of conveying almost any kind of narrative or genre; from romance, action, horror or thriller. It is up to the individual animation director to ensure that each motion comic, or illustrated film has an appropriate visual animation style to accompany the static artwork, story and narrative.

I wish Pizzolo all the success that Godkiller and Black Sky certainly merit. Godkiller features the voice talents of Lance Henrikson and certainly looks like an accomplished piece of creative film-making/animation. I also commend the fact that Godkiller is available to view online, buy as a DVD or download to own. Each format and delivery option has a specific cost (e.g. cheaper to watch streaming than download or buy on DVD).