Thursday, February 17, 2011

Halo: Faith Not Just Another You Tube Fan Film

When I, Kristine Orlob-Radford, was asked to cover the film production Halo: Faith the Movie I had know idea what an immense world I was walking into. This will be the first of many articles I will be writing for this amazing film project Halo: Faith. My intentions are to explore all aspects involved with this production. It is even eluded to having a possible 3D release!

Jared Pelletier

I have chosen to begin this journey by talking with the Director/Writer/Producer, Jared Pelletier, who you might recognize from a previous article titled “Who to be Watching Behind the Camera: Jared Pelletier”. Jared Pelletier and the whole team working on Halo: Faith, are not just making a fan film for the huge gaming franchise of Halo. Rather they are putting it all on the line to make a YouTube short that will not only expand the fan base but gain them enough recognition to turn Halo: Faith into a full length feature film.

With Jared Pelletier at the helm and the amazing team that surrounds him, I have no doubt they will more than rise to the occasion and push the boundaries of what is considered possible by the Independent and Major Studio Film communities.

Would you briefly describe for us what the Halo world is like and how is Majic Pictures production going to embrace this world while setting it self-apart for Halo: Faith to stand-alone?

The world of Halo is a fully realized universe, and one of the most elaborate in video game history. There is an incredible amount of information available which we are using to our full advantage in staying true to the game. The game itself is set about 500 years in the future, as will be the case with Halo: Faith, in a war between humans and aliens (the Covenant). Despite many similarities between the games and our film, I have a distinct vision for the universe. While the games were often flashy and comedic, I envision a very dark and realistic world. I want to portray this universe as would be if it existed, not as an adaptation.

Jared how did you come to Direct Halo: Faith, keeping in mind that Halo is a huge gaming franchise?

This all began back in April 2010 when I was being considered for a fan film based on James Cameron's "Avatar". The film was set to be a prequel to the highly successful blockbuster. Unfortunately production was cancelled in June, and my focus shifted to my WWII piece "In the Hearts of Men". Nearing completion of that project, my cinematographer, Erik Tallek, and I were considering our next project. We wanted to make something that would attract a large, mainstream audience. We immediately knew a fan film for YouTube was the option. After going through other potential materials, we decided on "Halo".

Were you personally a Halo game fan before starting Halo: Faith? What kinds of research have/are you doing in getting to know the Halo world? Keeping in mind the fan base from the franchise alone will be closely watching.

I played the games back when I was about 11 years old. At that time, my dream was to make a movie, and I had written a 30 page screenplay at 12. Of course, this is a rather ambitious endeavor for someone of that age - even now really. In terms of research, I have used "Halopedia" as my primary resource, along with spending time watching YouTube videos from the game to re-immerse myself in the world and once again understand why this story is so appealing. Co-writer and actor Jake Commons has a great wealth of knowledge in the games and books, along with actor Ryan Memarzadeh. They have really been the driving forces in keeping the screenplay as true to the games and fans as possible.

Anthony Ingruber

I recognize some names from your previous projects like Erik Tallek who is Director of Photography on “In the Hearts of Men” due out this fall, and is also your DP for Halo: Faith, as well as talent, Voice Over and Actor, Anthony Ingruber from a short film “Last Minute”. Is it helpful to you as the Director of Halo: Faith to be working with familiar faces?

I'm thrilled to be working with so many familiar names on "Halo: Faith". This is my second collaboration with Erik Tallek, my second with actor Jake Commons, third with Ryan Memarzadeh, and my third as well with Anthony Ingruber. It feels like a homecoming of sorts, bringing so many people I've worked with, frequently on separate projects, together on this film. I'm extremely lucky to work with such dedicated and talented individuals.

Machinima, and Pete Mander are just a few of the new faces that are part of the production of Halo: Faith. How does it feel personally and as a Director to be working with such a variants of talent?

The team on this film is almost overwhelming. As you mentioned, Pete Mander is really the anchor. Without him, this film doesn't get made - period. We have an absolutely incredible visual effects team, with artists who have worked on films such as "Avatar", "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe", and many more. It's an absolute dream as a director to work with these people, who all bring such incredible elements - and quite frankly, all make me look far better than I am!

Was it difficult to get those you know as well as the others to come on board with Halo: Faith?

Surprisingly, it was quite simple. I think that speaks volumes for the content we're dealing with. "Halo" is the most popular video game of all time. It has a massive fan base, many of these fans being a part of our team. Consider this, the most recent Halo video game ("Halo: Reach") made $200 million in opening day sales.

Ryan Memarzadeh

Would you tell us about the cast as it is so far? Jake Commons is listed as a writer along with cast. Is there a lot of overlapping in rolls through out this production?

We have an extremely talented cast. As you mention, Jake Commons who I've worked with previously. Ryan Memarzadeh, Johan Van Hawk, and Anthony Ingruber round out the cast. They are all very familiar with the games, and I strongly believe they will all bring great life to their characters and very true performances. With Memarzadeh, Commons, and Ingruber all being in films of mine which have gone on to be selected as festivals, I really consider this an all-star cast. There is certainly some overlap with roles, as is the nature of independent projects like these. However, we ensure that everyone is completely focused on their primary role.

Music is just as integral to the telling of a story in film, as is every aspect of production from beginning to end. Who did you chose to score Halo: Faith, and why?

Daniel Ciurlizza, also an Associate Producer, will be scoring the picture. He is extremely versatile, and has an incredible sense of mood and atmosphere. Very early in production we went through some early tests for the score, which absolutely blew me away. He is able to write music which is so very true to the content, but so unique as well. Daniel's style is a perfect fit for the film.

Given all of the factors a Director must consider, how has your budget impacted your goals in the telling of Halo: Faith?

Fortunately, we have an absolutely amazing team of individuals who are all dedicated to bringing this story to life. Therefore, our budget has been hardly affected despite the wealth of talent constantly being added to the team. The goal of this project is to set an entirely new standard in its class, something nobody has seen before at this level and budget. I want to put out a product that is revolutionary. I firmly believe that this will be the case.

How far along in the production of Halo: Faith are you and when do you expect the actual release date to be?

We're currently in month six of Pre-Production, set to shoot in March 2011. At this point, I can't reveal specific release information. Look to Fall 2011.

I have to ask because the format is so popular right now, is there any talk of a 3D release of Halo: Faith?

The idea of converting to Stereoscopic 3D has been discussed in very preliminary talks. At this time, my focus is to release the regular version of the film, and there is no definitive time frame when or if we will seriously explore this format. That being said, I always set the bar extremely high, and I'm a huge fan of Mr. Cameron.

Jared Pelletier
Jared Pelletier, Jared’s many gifts behind the camera include directing, writing, and production just to name a few.  He grew up in Aurora, Ontario, Canada and attended Toronto Film College 2010. He will begin correspondence through UCLA with a focus on Business and Entertainment Management. He is currently living in Toronto, Canada.

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