If you’ve ever watched IFC, then you’ve seen their signature quirky-cool ad campaign. But did you know that it was designed and created by Oregon-based company Feel Good Anyway? Or that the 40-plus special effects in the NBC movie A Walk in My Shoes were done by Portland’s visual effects company Hive-FX? Or if you’ve been to Canada lately and seen Koodo Mobile’s adorable spokesman El Tabador, that he was produced by Bent Image Labs, based in—you guessed it—Oregon?
Thanks in large part to TV shows such as Leverage and Portlandia shooting in Portland (as well as the recently announced Grimm), Oregon’s profile in the film industry has been rapidly rising over the last few years. Perhaps lesser known, though, is Oregon’s amazing animation and VFX industry. Three of these companies are the subjects of featured Case Studies on the recently launched Oregon Animation blog.
Last year, NBC shot the feel-good family drama A Walk in My Shoes entirely in and around Portland. Post-production work stayed local, too, as Hive-FX was hired to do all the visual effects for the film. Hive-FX brought top-of-the-line efficiency and professionalism to the project, as well as a Hollywood-level of quality. The film’s director, John Kent Harrison, praised the company’s work and is eager to collaborate with them again. The crew at Hive-FX has also lent their talents to ad campaigns for major companies like Quaker and Intel.
If “IFC” sounds familiar, it’s probably because they’re the people responsible for the hit show Portlandia. But they’ve also brought their business to Oregon in the form of an über-hip and amusing rebranding campaign handled by local company Feel Good Anyway. Feel Good Anyway won two different awards at the Brand New Awards for their work on more than 50 promos and IDs for IFC, in addition to a new logo and other brand amenities. In fact, IFC was so happy with Feel Good Anyway’s work that they’ll be keeping the company on for inspiration and additional creative partnering.
With the theme of Oregon companies winning awards for creative branding, Bent Image Labs helped earn Canada’s Koodo Mobile the 2010 Brand of the Year award from Strategy magazine. Bent designed the four-inch-tall Lucha Libre Mexican wrestler El Tabador to be the company’s spokesman and he’s been a runaway success. Bent used their experience with stop-motion sets and VFX miniatures to save time and money in scouting locations in Mexico for authenticity. Collaborating with Canadian agency Taxi 2, Bent designed El Tabador from initial sketch to final computer render.
Oregon companies pride themselves on creativity and innovation. Nowhere is this better seen than in the animation/VFX industry. With the spotlight on the actual filming process, it’s great to see these homegrown, behind-the-scenes companies doing so much in the industry. It’s not just familiar locations we should be looking for when we turn on our TVs or go to the movies, but for the local companies behind the magic.
To learn more about Oregon’s animation and VFX industry, go to www.oregonanimation.com.
Lindsay Harrop is a summer intern with the Oregon Governor’s Office of Film & Television. She grew up in the Willamette Valley but now attends Ithaca College in New York, where she studies screenwriting. Says Lindsay, “There are so many fresh, exciting things going on in Oregon’s film industry right now that it’s an awesome place to spend the summer. I’m looking forward to writing about more of these cinematic endeavors over the course of the summer!”