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#SwissTalentLA: Meet Raffael Dickreuter, Angeleno-Swiss Special Effects Genius – Congratulations Raffael, You Made(it)in.LA+!

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What is your background?
I am originally from Switzerland and grew up there but have been living in LA for 6 years now mostly doing previs and vfx work.

How did you get involved on this project?
Pixel Liberation Front got hired early on in the process in pre production to help flesh out the large amount of visual effects sequences with previs, at the time no actors were cast yet and the look of the film was being developed. a team of artists under the supervision of Kyle Robinson moved to New Orleans where filming was happening and worked on location to plan lots of the action sequences. eventually production moved back to LA after half a year of filming and post production began at Warner Bros. the team deliverde large amount of Postvis shots to help edit the film and those shots then were sent of the vfx vendors such as Sony Imageworks and many others who would deliver the final shots for the film. I ended up animating shots as a previs designer as well as using the virtual camera system that I developed which would help the director, 2nd unit director and production designer scout sets. I also helped record action sequences using motion capture with stunt performers.

How was the collaboration with director Martin Campbell?
A veteran filmmaker with a great sense of humor made it a pleasure to work with Martin Campbell, he is married to a swiss woman and it was interesting to not just talk about movies but also Switzerland with him.

Did you received storyboards from the production or did you start from scratch?
Both cases happen. You often start with storyboards but some sequences you might start out with just some info or scribbles on paper and then get refined as the process moves on.

Can you explain the creation of a previs shot step by step?
Previs is meant to help plan action sequences before they are shot. at this time no set might exist or a real world location has to be worked into the process. You start with modeling some assets such as characters, spaceships and location and then you go on animating shots, composite in effects and they get edited together. Since it’s a much faster process than final shots which large companies will do with tons of departments and a slow way of delivering, the director can come by look at the edit and look over your shoulder and give straight feedback. So previs has a much faster turnaround which helps the creative planning. Previs is also based on real world measurements so the shots are not just to look at but also to measure distances, determine the costs of shots, which elements are practical, which are digital and also to simply try out sequences that might not get shot.

What was the most complex sequence to design and animate?
GREEN LANTERN was a very ambitious project with alien characters, artificial worlds which were all challenging, but the creation of Parallax was definitely a challenge as it was a difficult creature to handle. Artists Michael Grawert and Diana Velasquez did a great job tackling all the hard shots with that creature. The Ferris Party scene also went through many iterations which was a challenge to get it right in a short amount of time. We were able to go on set and see the helicopter crash and hundreds of extras run away, that was a great experience.

Did you use motion capture for your animations?
For the training platform between Hal Jordan and Kilowog and Sinestro we captued the performers and used that for previs. Most previs is still being done using keyframe animation.

You were on the set, can you explain how was one of your typical day?
The visits on set means usually a lot of waiting as the real sets needs tons of planning coordinating many people. Being able to see explosions going off or extras run around in masses is an experience but it can mean long waits. Working with stunt performers I found very interesting doing the fights as you see what effort goes into actually doing these kinds of actions.

When you look at the final result, is there a big difference between your previs and final shots?
It’s actually amazing how close the final film looks to the previs for most of the action sequences. It was such a technically challenging complex film which can serve as a good example how previs can help you plan sequences and save cost.

What was the biggest challenge on this film? How did you achieve it?
We faced many challenges such as the mentioned Parallax but also the insane number of shots that we had to do. For me personally was the development of the virtual camera system which I didn’t know if I could make it work in time. Knowing there was expectation to use it very soon was stressful but it worked out luckily.

Was there a shot or a sequence that prevented you from sleep?
hahah. there were some months were we had to work 7 days a week, at that point all you can dream of is sleep actually.

What do you keep from this experience?
It was great to see real set explosions and seeing my camera system being used by other artists on the movie. Seeing the final result on film is always a thrill. What is amazing tough sometimes is that you will see the result of something on screen that you might have worked a year or more before that and how long it takes a film to make of this size.

How long have you worked on this film?
I think it was about 14 months while 8 of them being on locaiton in new orleans.

What was the size of the team at Pixel Liberation Front?
The team changes in size, it usually goes from 4 up to maybe 10 or 12 depending on the production need.

What is your next project?
I just spent 7 months on the new Superman movie MAN OF STEEL, what’s next we will see.

What are the four films that gave you the passion of cinema?

A big thanks for your time.


Pixel Liberation Front: Official website of Pixel Liberation Front.
Raffael Dickreuter: Official website of Raffael Dickreuter.

Special thanks to the Swiss Visual Effects Association “Swiss Made VFX”
© Vincent Frei – The Art of VFX – 2011

Written by M:)

October 6, 2011 at 9:32 am

Angeleno-Swiss Carlos Leal inviting you to “Short Films, Long Nights”, this Saturday, Sep 24 @ Alliance Francaise/Theatre Raymond Kabbaz

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My dear LALALand friends,

I’d like to invite you next Saturday to the event “Shortfilms, Long night” organized by the Swiss consulate and the Theatre Raymond Kabbaz (Theatre Francophone de Los Angeles).

I will present 6 shortfilms in which I am.
Snacks and drinks for everybody.

My selection will be screened between 8pm and 9pm, but the ceremony starts at 5pm and the event will end at 10pm.
Attached the flyer + a little sample.

We’ll have fun!

“Shortfilms, Long Night” (PDF program)
Saturday, September 24, 5-10pm
Theatre “Raymond Kabbaz”
10361 West Pico Bvd
90064 L.A.

Carlos Leal

Written by M:)

September 22, 2011 at 12:51 pm

Congratulations Christian Poltera – You Made(it)in.LA+!

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Hollywood Bowl
Thursday, September 15th 2011

Handel and Fireworks

with Swiss cellist Christian Poltera

Born in Zurich, cellist CHRISTIAN POLTÉRA was a pupil of Nancy Chumachenco and Boris Pergamenschikov before studying with Heinrich Schiff in Salzburg and Vienna. Since replacing Yo-Yo Ma performing the Elgar concerto with the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich under David Zinman at the age of 17, Mr. Poltéra has steadily established himself as one of the most prominent cellists of his generation.

As soloist he has worked with eminent orchestras including the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, NDR Hamburg Orchestra, Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, Vienna and Bamberg Symphonies, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Orchestra Santa Cecilia in Rome, Orchestre de Paris, Orchestre National de Lyon, BBC Philharmonic, BBC Scottish Symphony, Camerata Salzburg, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen and Chamber Orchestra of Europe under such conductors as Bernard Haitink, Riccardo Chailly, Christoph von Dohnanyi, Leonard Slatkin, Sir Andrew Davis, Paavo Järvi, Donald Runnicles, as well as the leading conductors of the younger generation, such as James Gaffigan, Robin Ticciati, and Andris Nelsons. Mr. Poltéra made his solo debut in the US in 2006 with the American Symphony Orchestra at Avery Fisher Hall in New York.

Upcoming highlights include performances of the Brahms Double concerto with violinists Karen Gomyo (New Japan Philharmonic and its music director Christian Arming) and Thomas Zehetmair (on tour of Europe with Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique under Sir John Eliot Gardiner), as well as a return visit to the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra conducted by Dmitrij Kitajenko.

Mr. Poltéra also devotes himslef intensively to chamber music, working with such musicians as Gidon Kremer, Christian Tetzlaff, Leonidas Kavakos, Martin Fröst, Kathryn Stott, Lars Vogt, and Leif Ove Andsnes, as well as the Auryn, Belcea, and Zehetmair Quartets. In 2008 he joined Mitsuko Uchida in performances of Messiaen’s “Quartet for the End of Time”, at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall and the Kimmell Center in Philadelphia. Together with violinist Frank Peter Zimmermann and violist Antoine Tamestit, Christian Poltéra has formed a regular string trio that performs at the most prestigious concert venues in Paris, London, Amsterdam, Vienna, Cologne, Brussels, and Milan, as well as at the Salzburg and Edinburgh Festivals.

In 2004 he received the Borletti-Buitoni Award and was selected as a BBC New Generation Artist. In 2006-07 he was a ‘Rising Star’ of the European Concert Hall Organization. He is a regular guest at renowned festivals (such as Salzburg, Lucerne, Berlin, and Vienna) and made his BBC Proms debut with the BBC Symphony Orchestra in 2007.

Christian Poltéra’s discography reflects his wide range of repertoire that includes the cello concertos by Dvorak, Schoeck, Honegger, Martin, and Toch, as well as chamber music by Prokofiev, Fauré, Mozart, Saint-Saens and Schubert, on the labels BIS Records, Deutsche Grammophon, EMI, and Chandos. These recordings have won acclaim from the international press, and have been honored with the Diapason d’or, Gramophone Magazine’s “Editor’s Choice”, Strad Magazine’s “Strad Selection”, and BBC Music Magazine’s “Choice”. Now recording regularly for BIS, Mr. Poltéra’s latest CD, featuring the cello concertos by Dutilleux and Lutoslawski, has been released in 2009.

Written by M:)

September 14, 2011 at 10:12 am

Posted in LA+Events, Made(it)in.LA+!

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Congratulations and Augurissimi to Angelena-Ticinese Claudia Laffranchi, Winner of LA Press Club’s 53rd Journalism Award!

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Image: copyright KERSTIN ALM

Swiss Journalist Claudia Laffranchi accepting the 53rd Southern California Journalism Awards, honoring the best in broadcast, print and online media, in the category International – Entertainment News or Feature

We congratulate and celebrate along with Claudia Laffranchi, Winner of LA Press Club’s 53rd Journalism Awards, honoring the best in broadcast, print and online media, in the category International – Entertainment News or Feature, with the article “Time to Give”, about stars and charity, published in the winter 2010 edition of Swiss Made Magazine. You can read it [PDF link] at http://www.claudialaffranchi.com.

Claudia was among many honorees of the evening, including 60 MINUTES’ Correspondent Lesley Stahl, NBC News Senior Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel and KTTV’s John Schwada were honored at the Awards Gala, Sunday June 26 in the legendary Crystal Ballroom at the historic Biltmore Hotel in downtown LA.

Claudia Laffranchi is a Swiss media personality with extensive experience in print, television and radio.  She is the host of the Piazza Grande screenings at the Locarno Film Festival, Switzerland, http://www.pardo.ch, as well as the Festival’s Los Angeles correspondent. Currently she is the West Coast correspondent, specializing in cinema, for several Swiss and Italian media outlets.

CONGRATULATIONS, Claudia, you Made(it)in.LA+!

Written by M:)

June 30, 2011 at 3:50 pm

Special Screening of “An African Election” with Swiss Director Jarreth Merz

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The Paley Center for Media is proud to present a special screening of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival World Documentary official selection, An African Election (IMDB).

Thursday, April 21, 2011 7:00 pm

In a world plagued by stolen elections, secret government agendas, and a renewed interest in the exploitation of African natural resources, what value does democracy offer, particularly in the tumultuous region of West Africa? For Ghana, a nation that has been Africa’s barometer of political stability, democracy may mean the difference between peace and prosperity—and murderous chaos under military coup.

An African Election is a remarkable documentary that grants viewers unprecedented access to the anatomy of Ghana’s 2008 presidential elections. Capturing the intrigue of electioneering, the intensity of the vote-counting process, and the mood of the countrymen whose fate lies precariously in the balance, director Jarreth Merz’s coverage unfolds with all the tension of a political thriller, revealing the emotions, passions, and ethical decisions that both threaten—and maintain—the integrity of the democratic process. An African Election illuminates a beacon of hope for Africa and for the value and vitality of democracy today.

The screening will be followed by an after-party! Dance to the sounds of a live DJ spinning Africa themed music plus a live band while enjoying cocktails and appetizers.

Admission is free, but RSVPs are required. RSVP at paleycenter.org.
Get the event and screening flyer PDF here

465 N. Beverly Dr. • Beverly Hills, CA 90210 310.786.1000 | paleycenter.org

Congratulations, Jarreth Merz, You Made(it)in.LA+!

Written by M:)

April 14, 2011 at 1:34 am

CalTech, Alliance & Sunset Screening Room: Up Close and Personal with Swiss Actor Gilles Tschudi in LA!

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Presented by the Consul General of Switzerland

Swiss actor Gilles Tschudi (IMDB, official) is a rarity of its kind – one of the very few actors who are not only 100% bilingual but also perform perfectly in both French and German language. Growing up in Basel with a French speaking mother and a Swiss German speaking father, Gilles Tschudi got immersed from early not only in two languages but also in two cultures.

After getting his training at the Schauspiel-Akademie Zürich, Gilles Tschudi performed on various theatre stages in the major cities of German and French speaking Switzerland. Among other roles he got fame with the Swiss public as the bad guy and scheming financer Michael Frick in the Swiss Chocolate Soap Opera “Lüthi & Blanc”, which has been a very popular show on prime time Swiss TV between 1999 – 2006. The Blockbuster Grounding – the Last Days of Swissair” (IMDB, YouTube, YouTube), was another highlight in his film acting career. Tschudi, personifies the two-fisted Swiss Banker Marcel Ospel with an amazing alikeness not just because of some common features with the true persona, but also because his admiring ability to immerse himself completely in a role.

Tschudi regularly performs in German and French speaking productions in theatre and over 26 film roles. His roles vary. So far he has often played “the Bad Guy”. Playing in bigger and smaller roles, Gilles Tschudi is a very busy actor, always searching for new challenges also outside the Bad Guy spectrum.

In 2011 Gilles Tschudi is appearing in three theatre productions; at the Theater am Neumarkt Zürich he plays Rickard in the production “Ein Loch in meinem Herzen” by Lukas Moodysson. In “Katharina” by Heinrich Böll/Jerôme Richer, at the Comédie Genève, he is Commissaire Beitzmenne, and at the Klosterspiele Wettingen, he portrays Foulon in “Der Franzose im Aargau”.

The very likeable and environmentally conscious vegetarian Gilles Tschudi dedicates his time as president of the Swiss Actors Union (SSFV).

Take this unique opportunity to participate at the various events of the the Gilles Tschudi Week, organized by the Consulate General of Switzerland. Get up and close with this great actor and “see him conquer Hollywood”.

Congratulations Gilles Tschudi, You Made(it)in.LA+!

Download a handy reference postcard of all Gilles Tschudi events shown here

Grounding – The Last Days of Swissair (2006) IMDB
APRIL 11, 2011 – 7 pm

Directed by Michael Steiner, starring Hans-Peter Müller-Drossart, Michael Neuenschwander, Gilles Tschudi. Grounding – the Last Days of Swissair is the 6th biggest blockbuster hit from Switzerland. Most Swiss remember those tense days shortly after 9/11- some stuck on foreign airports, most just shocked about the historical grounding of the Swiss Airline, known for its great reputation. This film tells the story of the last days of Swissair and how its destiny was connected to the fate of Swiss top manager Mario A. Corti, the luckless chief of a tradition-rich airline, and the tragic fate of many people who lost almost everything: Job, house and the belief in Switzerland itself.

Join us to see this Swiss Blockbuster and admire the amazing performance of Gilles Tschudi. There will be refreshments prior to the screening and a Q&A will follow afterward. NO RSVPS NEEDED = Film will be shown in its original Swiss-German version, with English subtitles.

Théatre Raymond Kabbaz
10361 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90064

In Celebration of Max Frisch 100th Birthday
APRIL 12, 2011 – 7 pm

Ron Sossi, artistic director of the Odyssey theatre Ensemble will talk about his staging of Frisch’s play “the Arsonists”. Swiss actor Gilles Tschudi will read excerpts from the novel “Homo Faber” in German and English. Snacks and Refreshments will be served. This event is organized in co-operation with the Goethe Institut Los Angeles.

Goethe Institut Los Angeles
5750 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 100
Los Angeles, CA 90036

Grounding – The Last Days of Swissair (2006) IMDB
APRIL 13, 2011 – 7 :30pm

Directed by Michael Steiner, starring Hans-Peter Müller-Drossart, Michael Neuenschwander, Gilles Tschudi. Grounding – the Last Days of Swissair is the 6th biggest blockbuster hit from Switzerland. A Q&A with Gilles Tschudi will follow the screening. This event is organized in partnership with the California Institue of Technology in Pasadena.

Caltech, California Institute of Technology
Campus Baxter Lecture Hall (PDF Campus detail map)
1200 E. California Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91125-3405

►An afternoon dedicated to Jacques Chessex
APRIL 14, 2011 – 12 noon

Professor Jean-Claude Carron (UCLA) will talk about the life and the work of the Swiss author (1934-2009). Actor Gilles Tschudi will read excerpts from the novel “L’Ogre” in French. Snacks and refreshments will be served. This event is organized in co-operation with the Alliance Français Los Angeles.

Alliance Française de Los Angeles
10390 Santa Monica Blvd. Ste. 120
Los Angeles, CA 90025

►Opération Casablanca (2011) (IMDB)
APRIL 14, 2011 – 5 pm

Directed by Laurent Nègre, starring Tarik Bakharri, Elodie Young, Gilles Tschudi and Jean-Luc Bideau. One day, Saadi finally snaps. His boss has mistreated him one time too many. But when the young dishwasher, a North African illegal immigrant dares to protest, he is summarily fired. Leaving the rundown hotel in the outskirts of Geneva, on foot and with all his belongings in a shoulder bag, he becomes entangled in a terrorist group’s attempt to kidnap the Secretary-General of the United Nations and is surrounded by a SWAT team battalion who has mistaken him for one of the Arab criminals. With both the terrorists and the police gunning for him, desperate to keep from going under in this vortex of insanity, Saadi has no choice but to play along with the fundamentalists and try to find his own piece of heaven. This screening is organized in partnership with Bord Cadre Films Geneva.

Sunset Screening Room (free Parking in the “Sunset Towers” office building (Sunset Plaza – NOT to be confused with the Sunset Tower Hotel!)
8730  W Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90069-2245

Written by M:)

April 12, 2011 at 11:15 pm

World-Class Smooth Jazz, made in Ticino!

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Congratulations Fabio Mignola, Smooth Jazz Recording Artist from Minusio/Ticino, for your constant presence on LA’s Smooth Jazz Airwaves!

Fabio’s “Groovy Nights” is featured on iTunes’ “Smooth Jazz Affair” Podcast, Show #76.

Check out Fabio’s latest release on iTunes

Auguri, Fabio! You Made(it)in.LA+!

Written by M:)

April 12, 2011 at 7:00 pm

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