Sunday, December 21, 2008


From Inside will be screening at the 2009 edition of the Gerardmer Fantastic Film Festival in France. The festival takes place January 28 - February 1, 2009.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Great review of From Inside from one of my favorite sites:

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Couple shots from the From Inside screening at the St Louis International Film Festival, Nov 23. Thanks to everyone who came, thanks to the fest for programming us.

Next screening is scheduled in January (Future Film in Italy)... details to follow.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Had a great time at the Waterloo Festival for Animated Cinema. Inspired programming, rabid animation fans and Grave of the Fireflies on a big screen. What more could you ask for? Snow? They had that, too. Thanks to everyone from the fest for making my visit awesome.

Seeing Grave of the Fireflies on a big screen was like seeing it for the first time -- lots of detail I've completely missed all these years (Setsuko is playing rock/paper/scissors with her reflection... not teasing fish!). Panel discussion afterwards was great -- learned lots about one of my favorite films (never knew it was based on a book by Akiyuki Nosaka).


Evangelion is the giant robot movie and I'm a dope for not knowing this already.


Go here to explode your head. I did. It was nice.

UPDATE 11/19
Couple of links to coverage of the festival:
Midnight Madness Screenings (FPS Magazine)
Grave of the Fireflies (FPS Magazine)
First Animated Feature (FPS Magazine)
Prince Achmed (FPS Magazine)
Cinema Verdict
Cord Weekly

Thursday, November 13, 2008


One more imminent screening to note:

From Inside will be screening at the St. Louis International Film Festival.

The festival runs from Nov 13-23. From Inside will be screening Sunday, Nov. 23, 3:30pm at the Tivoli Theatre 3. Details here.

I will not be at the screening, but my totally 100% capable stand-in, Dustin Blegstad, will be there. Dusty, as you know -- if you are no stranger to this blog -- puts the "From" in From Inside. I don't know what I meant by that, but I will say he is responsible for every sound you hear in From Inside... and that photo above is all I could find when I googled "Dusty." Sorry.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


From Inside will be screening at LEEDS this weekend.

Showing 1: 14 Nov 18:45, The Carriageworks: Studio, £4.50/£3.50
Showing 2: 15 Nov 13:00, The Carriageworks: Studio, £4.50/£3.50

Full details here.

Also screening this weekend at the Waterloo Festival for Animated Cinema... and I'll be there.

23:30, Saturday November 15, 2008. Details here.

Monday, November 3, 2008


From Inside has won the Grand Prix of the Utopiales 2008.

Thank you very much to the festival and Jury!

Great films were programmed for the Utopiales International Competition -- Before the Fall, The Signal, Senki, Bruise 52, Three Minutes. I am very happy to have been a part of it.

Read more about the fest, the jury, and Nantes.

Monday, October 27, 2008


The Waterloo Festival for Animated Cinema web site is now live.

LINK to WFAC for the complete schedule. I'll be there to present From Inside. Hope to see you there, too.

Highlights of the festival for me will be getting a chance to see Grave of the Fireflies on the big screen. It's been a few years since I last saw the film, and (coincidentally) I've been thinking about it lately. Grave of the Fireflies is the only Studio Ghibli film my two kids haven't seen yet. They are huge Miyazaki fans, so I feel as though I've been depriving them... but I wanted to wait until they were old enough to feel the beautifully heavy weight of this story. It's finally time!

I'm also looking forward to Quirino Cristiani: the Mystery of the First Animated Movies, Nocturna, We Are The Strange, Genius Party, and Rebuild of Evangelion 1.0: You Are (Not) Alone

From Inside screens Saturday, November 15 at 11:30pm at the Gig Theater.


The UTOPIALES web site is now live.
Looks like an awesome film festival.
If you are in Nantes, check it out. If not, visit the site.


...and, again, I have to note how brilliant the babelfish translator is. Everything I write needs to go through this filter. Here is the Utopiales From Inside write-up translated from French to English:


"The atomic apocalypse left behind it a burned Ground, strewn with turned russet corpses, crashed to pieces bricks and ploughed up buildings. Only survivors of this pathetic humanity, passengers of a vapor express train, which advances without precise goal, inlassablement, in the middle of the famine and of devastation. Where do they go? Nowhere, and without round trip ticket. Only one certainty: The EEC, one of embarked, carries a child who will be perhaps the last. Only, it tests costs which costs to cling to this chimerical hope… Adapted of his graphic novel éponyme, John Bergin delivers here a powerful meditation on the rather illusory perenniality of our companies, as much as a wild parabola against the myth of progress at all costs. Price of best cartoon film in Sitges in October 2008."


That is now the official From Inside synopsis.

Russet corpses:

Thursday, October 16, 2008


From Inside will be screening at the 11th edition of Future Film Festival in Italy.

Check out the link above. Awesome film festival.


Kind of a travelogue-y thing to do, but here are a few shots from Sitges. Strange that almost every photo I took in Sitges is empty of people. That was not intentional. There were a lot of people there. Well... maybe it's not that strange, actually. If you need someone to turn a major resort location in Spain into a ghost town, that would be me.

Monday, October 13, 2008


From Inside wins Best Animated Film at SITGES 08.

Complete list of winners:

Thanks to everyone at Sitges. I had a great time at the festival. In a place so full of bright colors, sunlight, gracious people and good food, it was nice to find such a deep appreciation for all things dark, depressing and disturbing.

Friday, October 10, 2008


Here's a review of the From Inside screening at the 2008 Dead Channels festival in SF. The rain is perfect:


My schedule for October 11:

10:00 : Sita Sings The Blues. Looking forward to this one. Nina is a fellow sufferer (Animartyr), who, when she says "I made this film by myself." means it. You'll see maybe 3 or 4 names in the credits. What? No Render Wranglers? No Character Designers? No Colorists?
11:45 : Anamorph
17:15 : Holy shit I will be seeing Miyazaki's Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea
19:45 or 22:45 or City of Ember or Religulous


My schedule for October 10.
12:45 : Dead Space
16:30 : The Burrowers
18:30 : Idiots and Angels
22:45 : Let The Right One In

Couple of From Inside reviews on-line (via always-accurate Babelfish translation):

"John Bergin spent to lengths years in front of his computer..."

"John Bergin shapes the trip with impressive images..."


UPDATE October 10:

The Burrowers:
Any time a genre film is set in the 1800's I'm there. Great performances, great photography, perfect color grading. Watch for Doug Hutchison's performance the first time his authority is undermined. Love it when actors take you someplace unexpected.

Idiots and Angels: First time I've seen Bill Plympton's work on a big screen. The size and the light did great justice to his quick, scribbly lines. Felt like watching an animated film on a huge 20' X 50' piece of paper. Lots of hallmark Plympton visual puns.

Let The Right One In: Another film that's as great as you've heard. Tomas Alfredson introduced the film saying it was made at great expense of time... love... and silence. The silence was the best part of the film. If I were releasing the soundtrack to Let The Right One In it would just be 74 minutes of the sound of snow falling -- with occasional boots crunching over ice.

Wandered around Barcelona a little. Easy city. They need better street signs, but the ornamentation found everywhere more than makes up for it. A nice change of pace from the bluntness of home; "You Are Here!" (Americans show up to a knife fight with a gun, Spaniards show up to a knife fight with a bejeweled sword, satin pants, suede boots, and great food. It would be a draw).

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Holy shit, does Sitges loves science fiction and horror. Amazing festival. It's been an honor to bring my depressing little film to a place with such an intense love for all things dark. Two From Inside screenings were held at Cine El Retiro, a 600 seat theater located in the center of Sitges by the sea. El Retiro has a great, relaxed traditional feel with awesome projection and sound quality. From Inside never looked so great.

El Retiro from outside and from inside:

Have seen many great films worth recommending. Absolutely loved The Good, The Bad, The Weird. Incredible cinematography -- my favorite shots being those from a camera mounted to the side of gatling gun blasting away... puts all other shakey-cam shots to shame. This one also bears out my theory re: Trains = Failsafe Cinematography. Riot of a story, too. Why it took so long for someone to blend a spaghetti western with Road Warrior is beyond me -- a match made in heaven (or in the desert). Also: kick-ass score. Think it was picked up by Sony, so maybe it will be widely available. If not, seek it out.

Also greatly enjoyed JCVD (it's as great, if not better, than you've heard). I only speak a few words of French. Despite understanding only 1/2 the dialog of Van Damme's levitating soliloquy, it was still deeply moving.

Dante 01. I have always loved the production design of French science fiction. It has a sense of grabbing whatever is at-hand from a hardware store or toy store, and somehow assembling the plain every-day parts into something otherworldly. I think the French were DV rebels from the time before there was even DV. The rocket-launcher employed by Bruce Willis in The Fifth Element was just a model rocket from a toy store. And it was awesome. Dante 01 is worth watching for set-design alone. Loved the switches, knobs, walls and costumes... and nice puke as well. Clear puke. Best kind.

Monday, September 29, 2008


There are few things that look great on film no matter how they're shot. Trains are one of those things. Color, black & white, HD, SD, from above, from below, old, new, moving or idling. Doesn't matter. Point a camera at a train and you win.

Trains also never fail in paintings. If you're in the Kansas City area, check out this exhibit.

Another thing that looks great on film no matter what: Garbage Trucks. Anyone know of an Art In The Age of Trash exhibit?

Sunday, September 21, 2008


From Inside will be screening at the 22nd Leeds International Film Festival, November 4-16, 2008.

From Leeds:
"Leeds International Film Festival is your portal to the unseen world of cinema. Leeds is an immense and intense experience that reveals the incredible wonder of global filmmaking that you can’t see on your local screen or at home. Over thirteen days Leeds presents more than 200 screenings and events in a dozen venues to thousands of filmgoers eager to discover what is really happening in contemporary cinema."

Leeds Official Site


From Inside will be screening at Utopiales 2008 in Nantes, France, October 29 - November 2, 2008.

From Utopiales:
"Originally founded in 1998, the Nantes International Science-Fiction Festival is a multimedia festival featuring whole sections devoted to literature, comics, science, video games and, of course, film.

With over 200 international guests in 2002, the festival is now the most important SF cultural event in Europe and one of the biggest SF writers’ conventions in the world.

The film section at Utopiales organizes yearly international feature and short film competitions as well as retrospectives and special programs. The event is France’s best place to discover the most recent and exciting productions in the science-fiction field."

Utopiales Official Site

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


From Inside will be screening October 31 in Winnipeg.

"In honour of World Animation Day, The Cinematheque and the National Film Board of Canada present PLASTIC PAPER: Winnipeg's Animation Festival, featuring the GET ANIMATED! program of new NFB work. Come and discover animation in all its forms with regional premieres of new independent animated features, a showcase of classic NFB vignettes, local animators, international shorts, and even something for the kids."

FROM INSIDE: Friday. Oct. 31 – 9:00PM

Complete Schedule

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Hey everyone, I'll be attending SITGES this year with my little movie. I will be there OCT 7-12. When I have my schedule I'll post & update it here.

I'll be blogging the event so be sure to check here from time to time.

I'll also be twittering, so subscribe to my twitter account if you are interested in more inane blow-by-blow updates: JBXX

Monday, September 1, 2008


From Inside will be screening at SITGES International Film Festival of Catalonia, the number one fantasy film festival in the world! From Inside will be a part of the Anima'T program.

SITGES Official Site

From the SITGES site: "Anima’t offers the most recent animated film productions, feature and short films. Some films screened in this section in recent years: Nocturna (by Víctor Maldonado i Adrià García), Tales from Earthsea (by Goro Miyazaki), The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (by Mamoru Hosoda), Paprika (by Satoshi Kon), Steamboy (by Katsuhiro Otomo), Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children (by Tetsuya Nomura & Takeshi Nozue)


From Inside will be screening at DEAD CHANNELS: THE SAN FRANCISCO FESTIVAL OF FANTASTIC FILM, October 2 - 9, 2008. Dead Channels is Northern California’s premier celebration of independent and international fantastic filmmaking, bringing audiences in the Bay Area entertaining and intelligent science-fiction, fantasy, horror, action, exploitation and a few weird unclassifiable cinematic gems.

Complete Schedule


FROM INSIDE will be screening at this year's St. Louis International Film Festival. The 17th Annual SLIFF will be held Nov. 13-23, 2008. The festival annually features the St. Louis premieres of more than 200 films.

St. Louis International Film Festival Official Site

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Fantasia has announced the winners of First Feature competition. From Inside takes the Bronze.


Wednesday, July 16, 2008


A couple reviews for the From Inside world premiere at Fantasia:

Click here to read a review at Twitch

Click here to read a review at the Montreal Gazette
(...and let me make a correction for this review: the From Inside score is by Jeff Rona and David Edwards).

Thursday, June 26, 2008


From Inside will have its World Premiere at Fantasia - an awesome festival in Montreal. From Inside is part of the Animated Auteur Visions program. The other films selected for the series are Genius Party by Studio 4°C, Bill Plympton's Idiots and Angels, and the awesome anthology Fear(s) of the Dark. Wow, fantastic company!

Fantasia 2008 Official Site

Variety says this about Fantasia.


From Inside is an official selection of the 12th Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival in Korea.

PIFAN Official Site

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Sunday, June 15, 2008


Nothing to show lately as final audio mix is under way. I've already posted a screenshot of what a pro-tools edit window looks like, so here's something more pleasant to look at.

This is the cover for our Lolo album, "Bad Idea," which Lakeshore Records will be releasing in september. You can hear Lolo clips on Lo's MySpace or right here and here.

Also, listen for a Lolo track in the upcoming film, Midnight Meat Train (Aug 16).

Lolo is: Lori DeManche, Dedric Moore, Delaney Moore, and myself. Check out our album in september...

A From Inside connection to this post: Lo did the temp vocals for From Inside. She must have recorded them a dozen times over the course of a few years as I polished the dialog. Doing voice-over for The Most Depressing Film Ever is grueling work. Here's proof; listen to these out-takes as Lori struggles through a scene where Cee emotionally recalls a toy horse she had as a child... a toy horse named Doody. (Lori will probably kill me for posting this, so until I get a take-down notice....).

Friday, May 9, 2008


Here is the second in a series of prints featuring artwork from the film.

Visit Twitch before May 20 and enter to win a free print!

Available as a 12" x 17" fine art giclee print at the official From Inside web site (just click into the store).

Monday, April 21, 2008


From Inside key art. Available as an 18"x24" giclee print via the store at the official From Inside web site.

Over the next few months I'll be releasing a series of prints featuring artwork from the film. Most of the prints will be 18x24, limited edition, signed & numbered.


Here are a few sketches of other concepts for the key art.

Here's the sketch that led to the final design:


Some of these sketches have tag lines. This was before I decided that a tag line wasn't necessary. I love a good tag line, though. They're like pure marketing that, when done right, perfectly tap into the zeitgeist of the day.

Someone's eyeballs pass over your movie poster, you have three seconds to deliver the style and content of your story. Three seconds to say everything. What do you say?

Rules for a good tag line:

1). The great ones are four words or fewer.

From the Best Movie Posters of 2007:

Their War. Our World.
Don't Get Chumpatized.
Innocence Is Priceless
It's Not Your Imagination.
The Hit Goes Down.
Never Forget. Never Forgive.

2). If the tag line is pivotal dialog, a common saying or lyrics from a song, it can be more than four words.

Houston, We Have A Problem.
All You Need Is Love.
I'm a British Nanny and I'm Dangerous. (it was a character sheet, not key art -- but it's better than the key art tag)

3). The tag line has to be a clever play on words relating to the
story while simultaneously turning the poster design into a visual pun.

Fully Loaded.
You Might Feel A Little Prick.

Nick Naylor doesn't hide the truth, he filters it.
Poison In His Veins. Vengeance In His Heart.


My vote for best tag line of 2007 says it all with two words.
Protect. Destroy.


The art of the tag line has changed a lot over the years. Maybe the earth was spinning slower in the 80s and time moved slower, so people could stand still for 30 seconds and read a movie poster without getting bored to death:


Same tag line today would probably read: "No Pain. No Fear."


Here's a few rejected From Inside tag lines from studio clown/caffeine hook-up/sound designer, Dustin Blegstad:

The Feelbad Hit of the Year.

OMG! Herz teh pregz! LOL!

Sometimes, you have to light a baby on fire.

On a Train, No Woman Can Hear a Baby Scream.

Outdated Transportation Comes Alive.

Im n yer train, mezzin up yer dreemz.

Full on Frontal (of a train)

Sometimes a train is a dick of death.

THIS! IS! A TRAIN! (kick)


spoken word version of this post:
"This is the From Inside movie poster. It does not have a tag line."

Monday, April 14, 2008


From Inside key art is available for viewing exclusively at one of my favorite sites; Twitch.

Can't think of how many awesome & strange little films I would have missed had it not been for Twitch.

Visit Twitch and enter to win a signed giclee print of the poster.

Monday, March 24, 2008


I am very excited to announce that we have a composer for From Inside.

Jeff Rona.

Jeff has worked on numerous films & records, including projects with directors such as Ridley Scott, Steven Spielberg, Wong Kar-wai, Robert Altman, Steven Soderbergh, Mark Pellington, Stephen Hopkins, Jonathan Demme, Frank Darabont and many others. His projects have received numerous awards including Oscar, Peabody & Emmy awards, and countless film festival awards around the world.

Jeff has an amazing talent for drawing straight lines to the emotional core of a scene -- a surgically precise cut to the heart... felt but not seen. The music in From Inside is the soul of the the film. With limited character animation and sparse dialog, the music, in a sense, is acting. In most films music underscores, directs, or accents. Jeff's music in From Inside, however, absolutely lives in the emotional center of the story.

I'm a huge fan of soundtrack music, and have to say again I'm very very excited to have an opportunity to work with Jeff. Can't wait to share his work with you.

A few photos from our spotting session last week:

Jeff (awesome studio):

Jeff's assistant, David Edwards (laughing), and myself (mumbling something funny):

Producer, Brian McNelis:


Sunday, January 27, 2008


I'm in Park City for Sundance this week. It is snowing. A lot.


A few posts back I mentioned that one of the remaining shots was a practical effects shot. Here is a photo of some props for that shot.

bloody bandages.

I've titled this post "meat puppets" because when my wife saw what I was working on she asked, "What are those bacon puppets for?"

Here are the bacon puppets in action:

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


I frequently joke about this being a picture of the From Inside crew:

From left to right, including (and staying on) my thumb: production designer, art director, storyboard artist, technical director, simulation coordinator, lead layout artist, texture painter, lighting artist, render wrangler, supervising animator, character designer, editor... you get the idea.

That's a slight exaggeration.

From the start, I wanted to focus on the visuals as much as possible, so I brought my good friend Dustin Blegstad on-board as sound designer and production assistant.

I've worked with Dusty on a variety of projects over the years and have always admired his direct, no-nonsense approach. Blunt in a good way. From Inside has that same sense of directness, so I knew he'd do great work. I am always amazed by how much Dusty's sounds bring the shots to life -- even the simplest addition of a single sound adds so much life to the work.

Here is your guest blogger, Dustin Blegstad:


"So what does that sound like anyway?"

My basic approach to sound design for From Inside was to keep it as simple and as realistic as possible. I don't use a lot of effects. Just basic EQ, a few verbs, some pitch-shifting and simple layering of sounds. I'm not big on typical Hollywood sound design; guns don't sound like huge multi-layered explosions and tires don't burn rubber on dirt. When standing outside a menacing building, it doesn't produce an evil moan. Sharks don't growl and a punch doesn't sound like a 2x4 on a side of beef. Most modern movies exaggerate every little sound and are obnoxiously loud for seemingly no good reason. Louder isn't always better. Dynamics make it breathe. And as far as I'm concerned, thunder comes after lightning, just like in the real world.

Exaggerated sounds have their place, but not in this film. Natural sounds worked best.

I also tried to avoid purchasing sounds whenever possible, though for a few things it was necessary. I can't make a decent explosion without being arrested. And there aren't a lot of running steam engines available to take for a spin on a Saturday afternoon.

Since this is an animated film, when John gives me scenes they are completely silent. No dialog, nothing. It's really cool to start with a blank slate and begin filling it from scratch. It's wide open with possibilities.

I watch each scene a few times and make a list of all the elements I think I'm going to need. Then I add to the list what I think will make those sounds. The list reads like an insane person's to-do list.

Insane grocery list or haiku?

Another one:

After recording the sounds I dump them into Pro Tools and sync-to-scene, making adjustments for panning, effects and fades.

Finally, I deliver the audio files to John and he drops them into the master edit and we go back and forth making adjustments until it's finished. On to the next scene.

Sounds easy enough huh? Sometimes. Sometimes not. Let's just say that I have a swear jar and I started throwing credit cards in after a while. I switched to credit cards after John had me re-do and re-do and re-do the sound of a cigarette smoker exhaling... only to decide later that the scene worked best with Just Music. (!@#%ing Decider!)

This shot has no sound effects and that is a goddamn motherfucking crime:

The best part of the process, for me, is recording the raw sounds. Going to a location or working in the studio to record something specific - it's all fun. And I get to break stuff . A lot.

During one field recording session, I found myself hanging from an overpass thirty feet above the ground with a microphone in my hand while a train sped by overhead. I had a sudden moment where I thought; “What the fuck am I doing? Oh yeah, I'm making a movie.” Maybe John will give me credit for stunt man as well. I wish I had brought a camera that night.

This is a good place to get yourself killed. To be exact; 39° 0'55.46"N, 94°30'56.99"W:

The bridge above was a great source for sound effects. Besides recording trains crossing it, hitting it with a sledgehammer sounded awesome. The bridge also appears in the film.

Here is a shot of the 3D model John built of the bridge:

Also, just for reference, if you hang out in a rail yard at midnight and sneak around with a hand-held electronic device, someone will undoubtedly question your presence. This may or may not result in arrest. It depends on what type of shoes you're wearing. I suggest some type of high quality running shoe.

In another instance, we needed to make the sound of train wheels moving on tracks submerged under water. We decided that the best thing to do would be to flood a garage and drag the blade of a dolly through the water, scraping the concrete floor. Worked great, but I'm not sure how much it helped property value.

Sounds like Hell:

Need sound for a baby being delivered? Get a big chunk of scrap meat from a butcher (I prefer beef tenderloin, pork is better for zombies) and put it in a sink. Place a microphone in front of it and move it around a bit. Gross? Yes, but it sounds cool.


The sound of From Inside is almost finished. I still have to add sound to a couple of pick up shots, but nothing major. I'm going to make another pass on the whole film just to make sure there aren't any glaringly obvious mistakes. If there are, it's John's fault.

Working with John is always a great experience and I'm hoping when this is done we can work together on another film soon.

Here are a couple of screen grabs.

Leviathan. Probably the most fun to do:

Buffalo slaughter, second favorite.