Meet The Local Team Behind SXSW's Favorite Film Titles This Year.
Kaleidoscopes of colors drift in mid-air while blades of grass slowly come into focus. Warm and vibrant shades create a dream-like illusion where fantasy eclipses reality. Then the words “A film by Norry Niven” glide across the screen.
Suddenly, you realize that this gorgeous collection of shots isn't just some random collection of visuals, but the opening credits to a movie.
That movie, Chasing Shakespeare, is the feature film debut of Dallas-bred director Norry Niven, which debuted in Austin last week as part of the film-focused arm of South by Southwest. But it's the aforementioned opening sequence, created by Dallas production studio FatBaby, that's really turning heads. This past weekend, those opening credits snagged the Audience Award for Excellence in Title Design at the SXSW Film Design Awards.
“It felt great to know that we created something that made people feel something,” says Sai Selvarajan, who along with husband-and-wife directing team Marc and Melanie Chartrand of Fatbaby's Lucky 21, collaborated on the opening credits of the film.
Selvarajan, a Sri Lanka-born and Dallas-bred editor working at Fatbaby's Lucky Post, and Marc Chartrand met while attending the University of Texas at Arlington, where they studied film and graphic design together, and bonded over a mutual love for title sequences.
“They appeared to be the perfect marriage of film, graphic design, photography and music, which were all things we were studying,” Selvarajan says.
Through their combined efforts, the team created an opening sequence that not only captivated SXSW audiences and the judges of the fourth annual SXSW Film Design Awards, but a montage that perfectly sets the tone for the film — an ethereal love story between a Native American woman and an African American man with a shared passion for the same literary hero.
Their titles were up against some fierce competition, too, going head-to-head with such as the major studio-produced films as Skyfall, 21 Jump Street, The Avengers and Paranorman.
“Marc and I have been studying title design for over 10 years,” Selvarajan says. “So it was great to actually go out and make one and have it be well-received.”
All in all, not a bad week for Dallas film, huh? Speaking of Dallas film: Local audiences can see the Dallas-filmed, Danny Glover-starring Chasing Shakespeare next month when it screens as part of the Dallas International Film Festival.
Check out the opening titles for Chasing Shakespeare below, followed by the film's trailer.
The opening titles: