Suicide is not supposed to be funny. Yet My Suicide—A Self-Inflicted Comedy, directed by David Lee Miller, has been a hit at numerous film festivals. Edited in association with Digital Jungle, My Suicide is the visually stunning story of Archie Williams, who plans to commit suicide on camera for a school project. Everyone begins to get involved in Archie’s life, for right and wrong reasons, creating an independent gem on screen.
Production on the film began three years ago, but the editing process has been a lengthy task, due to footage being shot in multiple formats. It might have taken the editors a long time to finally complete the project, but it’s certainly one that was worth the wait. My Suicide won the Crystal Bear at the Berlin Film Festival and was named Best Picture at the GenArt Film Festival. Here, Dennis Ho, president of Digital Jungle Post, shares the process behind the project.
MovieMaker (MM): What made this project unique?
Dennis Ho (DH): My Suicide is revolutionary from both sides of the camera lens. Its controversial subject matter—focusing on teen suicide, which speaks to the youth demographic without speaking down to them—required us to be as creative in our technical handling of the project as the director had to be when shooting it.
The film’s story follows a high school boy documenting his life leading up to an announced public suicide through both objective and subjective cameras. This required traditional third person footage shot in HD in addition to a wide variety of video and film formats that became a wonderful opportunity to expand the creative side of color grading beyond what is traditionally done for theatrical releases. The goal was to merge these different formats into a seamless whole that will flow with the narrative. The differences in resolution and format actually become a part of the story, rather than just being cobbled together.
MM: What was the biggest DI challenge?
DH: There were five formats of video and film, including surveillance cameras, ’80s VHS, DVC Pro, 1080p. Each format had to be given its own look and feel for the film. The objective camera was a constant, while the subjective camera took on many forms as the story was told, ostensibly shot by the main character himself.
Much of the film also had animation running through it, which had a very unique style. The animator did a brilliant job at bringing Archie’s subconscious to the screen and fulfilling his every fantasy while the reality played at the root of his wild inventions. And it, too, had to take on its own feel with regard to color… the mind of Archie.
MM: How early in the production process did you get involved?
DH: Digital Jungle’s DI colorist, John Scheer, was brought into the edit room of My Suicide to sit with the director, editor and star. This took place on several occasions over the two years prior to the final edit. Said Scheer, “Because of my background of working on larger studio films, they were interested in my opinions and notes on early edits and story flow. We also discussed color schemes and how it too would tell a story. When I saw the first edit close to two years ago, I was amazed at the wonderful story David Miller had told and the talent range of Gabriel Sunday (actor and editor). I knew once I saw the final edit, and we had begun color correction, that My Suicide was going to be a big success! I’m really pleased that they included me in their project. It’s a wonderful film.”
For more information, visit http://www.mysuicide.net.