Locally produced independent movie Yellow Day will be making its premiere at the Mobile Civic Center Theater Sept. 16 boasting a 30 foot long yellow carpet designed to transport guests into a fairytale world. The civic center itself will be converted into a magical land with special activities, and even a chance to be interviewed after the movie. A one-time event for the Mobile community, the premiere is an opportunity to celebrate a major accomplishment by area residents.
“We produced animatics and storyboards in-house, using the script as the basis,” writer, executive producer, and director of animation G. P. Galle Jr. explained.
This initial work was taken to Magnetic Dreams, a renowned Nashville company boasting experience with high profile clients including Sesame Street, Marvel Comics, and Dell computers. The appeal of their work is related to a mind-blowing blend of live action and animation.
“I think animation is the perfect tool, because it takes something that can be very uncomfortable to watch on screen and communicates a point that needs to be made in a little bit more tame way that everyone can access,” Don Culwell, animation producer and vice president and partner of Magnetic Dreams Animation Studio, suggested.
Yellow Day is a hybrid film that employs animations in three key manners. As a framework device, the entire movie exists within a storybook, complete with page turns. The hero of the story finds himself within an animated world while having a spiritual experience. The alternate reality is meant to depict how God perceives a human soul. The animated sequences also serve to create background stories for key characters alongside specially designed musical scores.
“Our character’s experience is internal, implicit, and spiritual. When people have a spiritual encounter, it is often as familiar as it is unfamiliar, and our protagonist responds accordingly,” Galle Jr. described.
Claiming influences such as The Wizard of Oz, C. S. Lewis, and traditional Disney animation, the team behind the film chose to build upon prior traditions rather than replicate them. Techniques used to achieve the desired result include green screen, rotoscope, and full 3D animation. In the animated world, the main protagonist expresses a sense of wonder with simple questions and an overall acceptance of the supernatural world around him.
“For us, Yellow Day is just the first step towards what we hope to be a new type of entertainment culture, one in which creative minds can flourish without compromise, people of all ages can enjoy, and quality entertainment is created to combine captivating stories with messages of faith,” Producer Blake Hester said.
The creators wished to present a simple premise with deep symbolism and meaning bubbling within the subtext. While the blend of live action and animation aided creative goals, maintaining a PG rating was a challenge when describing hard truths to viewers.
“The adults watching can see the adult themes at work, but the children can also experience this world without the intensity of a live action scene,” Galle Jr. assured.
The movie was filmed in its entirety within the Azalea city. Viewers may recognize locales such as downtown Mobile, St. Joseph’s Chapel, Spring Hill College, and Camp Grace. While principle actors were cast in Los Angeles, many extras were selected from hundreds of people within the Mobile community such as Melissa Whatley, Camp Director at Camp Grace.
“Our lead actors, Drew Seeley, Lindsey Shaw and Ashley Boettcher did a phenomenal job. We feel like they really captured the emotions of the film and delivered some of the best performances, if not the best, for a film in the faith-based genre,” Hester said.
The stories within the film highlight many real life difficulties, such as betrayal, death of loved ones, and tragedies beyond our control. The film attempts to send the message that by facing these hardships with faith, hope, and love, people can improve and become who they are meant to be.
“Yellow Day is a faith movie, but a very different kind of faith movie … we have experienced broad appeal, an appeal not particular to a denomination. Of course there is an appeal to Christians, but also to people with other faith backgrounds. We worked hard to blend what we call story and message,” Galle Jr. explained.
The original concept of Yellow Day has grown and evolved since its inception in 2010. The creative team was able to achieve funding for their vision from community business leaders. Without the support of area citizens, the project may not have been possible.
“Yellow Day has been quite the journey. There have been countless hours of hard work put into this film by so many people. To finally see it in the finished form is honestly a miracle. We really just have to thank God everyday for giving us this opportunity and continue to let Him lead us into our future projects,” Hester said.