Wes Bentley and Ana Seradilla (Photo: Christopher Chomyn)
Hidden Moon is Chris Chomyn’s second feature with director-writer-producer Jose “Pepe” Bojorquez. The two previously collaborated on Sea of Dreams in 2006.
“Our collaboration begins early in the project,” says Chomyn. “Often, I am privileged to read several early drafts of the script, and to discuss the themes and characters with Pepe as he is polishing the details. This affords me the opportunity to begin thinking in visual terms very early in the process. By the time we are ready to officially begin pre-production, we have established a working shorthand, and an understanding of the material as well as of the subtext.”
Hidden Moon is a romantic mystery starring Wes Bentley, Ana Serradilla, Johnathon Schaech, Osvaldo de Leon, and Linda Gray, among others.
“Photographically, we wanted to create a world that was grounded in reality, but not the negative reality that is so often and so easily portrayed on screen,” explains Chomyn. “We sought to create a world that is beautiful, rich in texture, color and mystery – a world in which the choices presented are difficult because the options appear to offer desirable possibilities, yet the consequences of making the wrong choice are irrevocable.”
Production took place over 44 days on locations in Mexico City, Guanajuato and Veracruz, Mexico, as well as in Los Angeles, California.
Hidden Moon was shot on 35mm three-perf Super 1.85 on an ARRICAM Lite, with some shots captured on the ARRI 435ES. “We primarily used 40mm and 75mm focal lengths,” says Chomyn. “Our film begins in Los Angeles, where we used the Angenieux 17-80mm as well as the 24-290mm zooms. When our story takes us to Mexico, we switched to Cooke S4 Prime lenses. The only exception to this practice was when we were in Mexico and needed the longer length that our zoom allowed.”
Cinematographer Christopher Chomyn (Photo: Tanya Reihill)
Chomyn used a variety of Kodak film stocks to capture the wide variety of locations. “Our story is rich with emotion; it takes place in a world filled with color, contrast and texture,” says Chomyn. “Our characters live in a real world of expansive landscapes as well as intimate interiors. There is a big fire scene as well as other more intimate scenes that feature the details visible within a candle flame. We used textured interiors with views out to the sunlit ocean. We have night exteriors at the beach under various degrees of moonlight. In each of these settings, it is vital that the audience connects with our characters. Film remains the best medium to make that connection.”
Chomyn shot tests of all the Kodak stocks before selecting KODAK VISION3 200T Color Negative Film 5213 for day exteriors and interiors, and KODAK VISION3 500T Color Negative Film 5219 for all night scenes. “The Kodak color negative stocks have extraordinary exposure latitude, and reproduce an expansive color space that presents subtle color nuances like no other,” notes Chomyn. “We were able to shoot under conditions of extreme contrast, featuring vibrant colors with the confidence that the world we were creating would translate on screen. The Kodak stocks gave me the confidence to shoot clean, without filtration to soften or degrade the image. I was able to render exactly the images I wanted.”
Within Hidden Moon, there is a classic black-and-white film. The filmmakers discussed whether to shoot color stock and desaturate or shoot on black-and-white negative. “We liked the contrast and grain of the EASTMAN DOUBLE-X Camera Film 5222, and felt that it would help to make our black-and-white film look more like it was indeed a classic from the forties. Shooting on 5222 film was the easiest and most direct solution to create the specific look and feel that we wanted.”
Hidden Moon was processed at Deluxe in Hollywood. The telecine was done at Burbank’s Modern VideoFilm to standard definition for editing on an Avid. The locked picture negative cut list went to Modern so that the negative can be re-scanned at 2K resolution for conforming. A digital intermediate will also be done at Modern and output to 35mm negative to strike release prints.
Hidden Moon is scheduled to premiere in 2012.