We have been following the progress of movie poster documentary Twenty-Four by Thirty-Six by filmmaker Kevin Burke with keen interest here at Cult Collective. As avid fans of alternative and illustrated movie posters, we just can’t wait to see the movie!
Twenty-Four by Thirty-Six, which was funded through a very successful Kickstarter campaign, features a whole host of top talent from the industry, from artists to filmmakers including Ghoulish Gary Pullin, Jason Edmiston, Phantom City Creative, Andrea Alvin, Joshua Budich, Justin Ishmael of Mondo, Paul Ainsworth, Matt Ryan Tobin and many, many more.
Director Kevin Burke recently got in touch to share with us a brand new trailer for the movie, produced by Post No Joes, that we are excited to share with you!
The trailer is a great taste of what we have to look forward to with Twenty-Four by Thirty-Six and features some legends of the industry.
A little while ago Kevin also very kindly took some time out of his schedule to answer a few of our questions about the movie, the Kickstarter project and his passion for movie posters.
First of all, let me congratulate you on the ‘Twenty-four by Thirty-six’ Kickstarter campaign. The Kickstarter obviously has had a lot of thought and care put into it and clearly has been a labour of love.
Thanks James. It really has been. As fans and collectors of this art ourselves we really wanted to ensure that we delivered to poster art fans a Kickstarter Campaign that we felt adequately reflected our goals, not only as poster art fans, but as movie-lovers in general. Because that’s what this whole thing is about ultimately. Outside of our film and our campaign, the entire screen printed film art movement, from artists, to galleries, to collectors, is all about a love of movies.
‘Twenty-four by Thirty-six’ is a unique movie dedicated to movie poster art, it’s creators and collectors. What personally drove you to want to make this film?
Beyond being a huge fan of movie poster art of all kinds, I really feel like it’s a topic that needs to be and deserves to be explored on film. Not only the modern screen printed work, which is of course a huge focus of ours, but the past few decades of official, studio released one-sheets and key art as well. The past couple of decades have been a tumultuous time for fans of illustrated posters, with studios moving away from traditional art, and I think, though some will contend otherwise – and we’ll find out when we speak with them, that the rise in popularity of alternative movie poster art is closely tied to a kind of longing, or sense of nostalgia, from movie lovers who really miss seeing illustrated art accompany films.
So, would you have described yourself as a movie poster collector prior to making ‘Twenty-four by Thirty-Six’?
Absolutely, though I guess there are different degrees of that depending on who you speak with. I know some guys on Expresso Beans would probably laugh at my little collection of under 50 screen prints, ha, but I’ve been collecting for the past 4 years. My fiancee and co-producer, Andrea, got me an Olly Moss “There Will be Blood” print from one of Mondo’s Rolling Roadshow series. I haven’t looked back since. But again, I feel like it was more than just how amazing screen prints are, which they are – they’re beautifully designed, printed on high quality paper, quality inks – very different from a one-sheet obviously. But it was more than that. I feel like getting that print, it made me remember something I had been missing. If that makes sense. Like something reminded me; “Yes. That’s right. Movie posters used to be something that people got excited about.” And then I remember how much I used to love collecting one-sheets as kid, getting on a waiting list at my local movie theatre or video store and going to pick a cool poster up when it came down from a display. And now I’m back to that – trying to find all those cool one-sheets I loved and snatching up great screenprints too.
Over recent years movie studios have moved away from traditional movie poster art in favour of screen captures or photo-shoots of the the lead actors or bigger marquee names. Do you feel that this has lead to the increased popularity in alternative and underground movie posters?
Without a doubt. And again, this is just my opinion and a lot of people may see it differently, but I can say from experience that for a lot of us fans and collectors alternative movie posters fill a void left by the shift in Hollywood movie marketing trends in the 90s. And that’s of course something we’ll be exploring. As much as we place a huge focus on screen printed works we’re also exploring official film marketing art, key art. We’ve been fortunate enough to lock down interviews with some incredible personalities like Tony Seiniger, a film marketing legend. Tony was the art director for the original “Jaws” marketing campaign that spawned that incredible, iconic poster by Roger Kastel and he’s still working today. He’s a goldmine of film marketing knowledge and we can’t wait to speak with him. We’re also very excited to be speaking with Andrea Alvin, the wife of the late John Alvin, who created some of the most memorable movie posters of all time, and Andrea’s a fantastic artist in her own right with decades of film marketing experience. So there’s a lot we’re excited about.
In your own opinion, what defines a great movie poster?
Care. That and a clear love of the film that the poster is being created for that shines through in the art, at least in the case of an alternative poster, since most are based on established films that people know and love. Take Jessica Deahl’s Carrie for instance – one of my favourite screenprints of this year for one of my favourite films of all time. This may be a little unfair because I think that Jessica’s style naturally lends itself really well to horror, but beyond that she captures the essence of the film perfectly. Rather than taking the easy way out and focus entirely on the iconic prom scene she takes the meat of that, the blood-dreched prom queen, and focuses her over her home, where the most important parts of the character’s arc and emotional evolution take place. Beautiful print.
The likes of Mondo and Skuzzles have really helped pioneer the world of alternative movie poster art. Each month studios are licensing more of their films, including Disney, for these guys to produce official alternative movie posters. What do you think has made these studios stand up and take notice?
The growing popularity, and knowing that fans spend big bucks. This is fan driven, man. Even the artists are fans. Especially the artists, they have to be. The guys who run Mondo, Skuzzles, Hero Complex, Bottleneck. All fans. And they’re great at what they do and know what other fans want. A market study isn’t going to tell you that. 50 strangers in a room aren’t going to answer a 12 question survey and come up with the best Avengers poster for fans – they’ll come up with the best Avengers poster that 50 people who don’t know a comic book from Family Circus can create, the one that sells tickets supposedly. But fans are going to buy what’s created directly with them in mind and the studios aren’t blind to it. They know that Mondo or Skuzzles are approaching them about a property because they love it, and they know who to get to create it, because they are their own target audience – same with most of the amazing artists who create independently. And fans can’t ask for a better deal than that.
Most alternative movie posters are highly collectable and can fetch extremely high aftermarket prices. What do you think has been the defining aspect in alternative movie poster popularity?
That’s tough. There are a number of them. Filling that void left by one-sheet trends is one of them, in my opinion, like I mentioned before. The insane amount of talent from the artists, of course. Some these artists are creating alternative art that tops the original stuff by far. Again, as mentioned, the art directors and companies behind a lot of this work have done a hell of a job continuing to focus on what’s most important – their fans. And that has certainly gone a long way. But it’s also the physical nature of a screen print. It’s really like nothing else. The process to create them is otherworldly and takes so much care and attention to detail to get right. And collectors appreciate that.
It’s clear that alternative movie poster collecting has stemmed to some degree by a love for classic movie poster art. Do you ever think we will return to the gold old days of movie poster art?
I hope so, man. I really hope so. It’s starting to happen in baby steps. A lot of Blu-Ray re-releases with feature illustrated art, which is great for those of us who are also Blu-Ray collectors. Independent studios will reach out to artists for work. Gary Pullin did some cool stuff for IFCs Grabbers this year, for instance. A lot of times they’ll have a modern screen print artist create a teaser poster that’s still part of their official campaign then revert to the standard Hollywood one-sheet once something is closer to release. The Godzilla poster that Justin Erickson of Phantom City Creative created is a good example of that. He won a Silver Key Art Award for that too. And Matt Ferguson created all of the artwork for the Marvel Universe Boxed Set. A lot of artists are being approached by studios for different things. So they’re paying attention. I think they just need to be convinced that someone is gonna see the next Leonardo DiCaprio movie whether his face is is illustrated on the poster or not, and having a photograph is not a necessity, so you may as well add some artistic credibility to your flick with some cool art.
As part of the Kickstarter you have commissioned two fantastic movie posters in the underground style. One by Paul Ainsworth and the other by Matt Tobin Ryan, both look equally as great on the t-shirts. What was the brief that you gave to both artists for the posters?
Honestly, I just explained to them that this film is about them and artists like them. About their process and their relationship to their art. Paul Ainsworth decided to focus on the artist as a creator and Matt Ryan Tobin took the route of the artist as a fan. Both essential components to this world that we’re exploring and I think that they really compliment each other. It couldn’t have worked out better in my opinion, but these guys are just incredible. I didn’t want to go sticking my un-artistic nose into their awesome process. Both Paul and Matt are really incredible and I really encourage anyone reading to go and check out the rest of their stuff because you’ll love it.
You have been filming ‘Twenty-Four by Thirty-Six’ for a little while now. What has been the most exciting part of the process so far, for you?
Beyond the thrill of seeing the outstanding amount of support pouring in from the art community over this project, meeting and hanging out with some of my favourite artists tops the list for sure. I’m a huge fan of this art and I still get nervous sometimes even when I’m behind the camera, thinking “Holy shit. I just got this guy’s poster custom framed to hang on my wall and we’re just hanging out, having a chat – for my flick about the art I love.” It’s surreal. But everyone’s just been so cool and encouraging, you know. I definitely have to give a special thanks to the Toronto artists – Gary Pullin, Justin Erickson and Paige Reynolds of Phantom City Creative, and Jason Edmiston. These guys have been so supportive of the film from day one that I can honestly say that it would never have even gotten to this point without them. They’re just a really great bunch of people, and they’re art, of course, is mind-blowing.
When “Twenty-four by Thirty-Six” is released, what thoughts do you hope fans of movie poster collecting take away with them that will make you think “yep, I’ve nailed it”?
I hope they come away feeling that I’ve adequately represented, above all things, the communal love of movies that drives all of us as fans, collectors, artists, and gallery owners to really care about the way our favourite movies are represented through poster art. That’s the core of this story to me. A love of film shared by everyone from pizza delivery guys to bankers, being satisfied by people who share that love of film enough to use their immense talent to bring it to us to hang on our walls.
Do you currently have any plans for any cinema or festival screenings for “Twenty-Four by Thirty-Six” that you can share for once it’s finished?
Absolutely. We’re submitting it everywhere. Hot Docs here in Toronto, Sundance, Telluride, International Doc Fest, SXSW of course. If a festival accepts documentary submissions, we’re going to be sending it. We want the world to see this film, and to see the community that’s been built around this incredible art.
You have mentioned that if the Kickstarter is successful in reaching its target that you would love to come across to the UK to interview some guys over here. There have been a few Brits who have made great contributions in growing the popularity of alternative movie posters, is there anyone left that you would love to interview?
I can tell you who we’ve lined interviews up with in the UK if our Kickstarter meets its goal, and I’m really excited about it because a number of them I was just able to reach recently. We’ve secured interviews with Tom “The Dude Designs” Hodge, Jock, Matt Ferguson, Rich Davies, Doaly, Mat Weller, Silver Ferox, Patrick Connan and the legendary Graham Humphreys. And we’ve reached out to a couple more who we hope to be in touch with. So if we can meet this goal we’ve got a lot of amazing stuff in store for fans.
What do you think the future holds for the alternative movie poster world?
I think it’s going to continue to grow for the foreseeable future. Current fans are still clamouring for new art, and there are fans out there now who don’t even know they’re fans yet because they still haven’t been exposed to these great works. There are more and more incredible artists that keep popping up every day, which I know can feel troublesome for established artists, but I really do expect that with the popularity the opportunity for work will grow as well. I think we’ll see more galleries, companies commissioning work, etc. Ultimately, I think it’s going to continue to be an incredible time for fans of poster art.
Finally, two fun questions , I’m sure you personally have a favourite movie poster, what would you say it was and what film would you love to see given the alternative movie poster treatment?
It’s funny, because I always make sure to ask these same two questions to every artist I interview for the film. There are so many incredible artists creating incredible works that it’s really tough to zone in on an all-time favourite. I can tell you that my favourite print of this year is Tracie Ching’s recent Dr. Strangelove print. I absolutely love it. And it happens to be my favourite film of all time. As far as what I’d love to see made – I can give you three: I’d really love to see someone create a “Where the Wild Things Are” print. I’d also love to see Ken Taylor create a George Carlin portrait. It’s not for a film, but I’m a huge stand-up comedy fan and I own both Taylor’s Richard Pryor and Bill Hicks prints and Carlin seems like he’d fit into that series perfectly. Finally, I’d love to see someone commission Gary Pullin to do an officially licensed print for “The Changeling”, the 80s horror flick, because I know he’d love to do it and that he’d really do a hell of a job.
Thanks again for your time Kevin. We are certainly looking forward to seeing “Twenty-Four by Thirty-Six” and can’t wait to see your Kickstarter get fully funded!
Thanks James. Your support, and the support from the poster art community has been great so far, and we really look forward to reaching our goal and creating a really insightful, cool, and fun film for fans.
So there you have it. What an awesome guy! Make sure you follow the progress of Twenty-Four by Thirty-Six’s by following Post No Joe’s, Twitter as well as Facebook page! You can also find out more about the project by taking a gander at their fully funded Kickstarter page.