Lost In The World - The Print Campaign

A brief overview of the print campaign designed for the short film "Lost In The World".

I recently produced a short film entitled "Lost In The World" with director Xolelwa Ollie Nhlabatsi, and we opted to fund the film through Indiegogo. I took it upon myself to come up with some treatments for the poster campaign for the film, something that you would expect to see hanging at the local cineplex, but with enough of a contemporary punch to grab enough attention for our little short film. The first poster only went through two variations, this final piece being the second, and not a lot changed to be honest. Starting off from something very much inspired by a mash-up between Irwin Allen and a pulp magazine cover, our protagonist, Whitney, is portrayed in stark monochromatic threshold, literally getting lost in her surroundings. The aesthetic shifted into something more clean and crisp, with the red blood spatter being the final element to be added over the gray-scale design, signifying the ultimate tonal nature of the film. Originally it was just a happy little accident that occurred while trying to do something constructive with the negative space on top. I threw in a tagline as a play on words for the title.
While experimenting with the colour and contrast boundries of the first poster, I couldn't resist creating a landscape banner as well, some of the shots taken for our original funding pitch were too good to go unnoticed. This one didn't undergo too many changes at all, it came down to minor composition tweaks in the end. The tag used on this one was a line from the movie, something I felt created a sense of forbodding, that our protagonist did what she had to do and now you are about to see it, but it had to have a sinister undertone to it. It would lead the viewer in, framed on left, scan across the city being watched over by Whitney. The contrast between her and the Johannesburg skyline was a very particular thing for me; again, I wanted to emphasise that she was becoming part of the scenery, getting lost in the world, but at the same time, I didn't want to lose too much detail in that amalgamation.
Ollie [the director] and I worked quite extensively on creating a fresh angle on hyping up the crowdfunding campaign. We settled on the idea that within the plot of the film, our hero (spoilers) goes on the run. So our campaign to get the attention we wanted was based on missing posters, in a desperate attempt to find Whitney. The flyer above was created from some character head-shots that were done by our fellow producer Mzu Nhlabati and the entire layout was based on stock missing persons flyers that were on the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department website and on various South African websites. It was a very somber moment designing this piece, as no disrespect was intended, but I wanted to preserve a great degree of believable authenticity. The degradation was all designed into the flyer, I felt that it needed to have a look of desperation about it, that whoever had made these had created generations of photocopied duplicates from master copies that had seen better days. It also had to appear simple enough for someone to have created in a program such as MS Word. Ollie went on to photograph literally hundreds of people (friends, family, celebrities) holding this flyer with the caption "Have you seen her?" - These were used throughout the Indiegogo and Facebook campaigns to generate hype.
Once the film was completed and it began it's festival run, I was asked to create this final poster that would 'sweeten the deal', as it were. This poster has now been marked as the designated face of Lost In The World wherever it goes around the globe. Dubbed 'The Festival Poster', the core image is again one of the old head-shots of our wonderful star, Honey Makwakwa, but this time it was a lot more of a different experience in that this was the first poster I designed after the completion of the film. Seeing as though I now had a complete visual and tonal frame of reference to work on, I took the colour palette that I designed when I graded the film and applied it here, to create a more connected sense of family. The film features themes of corrective rape that set in motion the violence and revenge portrayed on screen, so it was very important for me to 'deface' Whitney's character here, make it loud and clear that this film said a lot about violence and abuse against women and how easy it is for us as a society to look over it, so the strike-out acted as a perfect balance between design and statement. Keeping the final tag, and fleshing out a now complete credit block, the real kick of the image for me was the collage I designed over our heroin's face using all of the images from the "Have you seen her?" campaign mentioned above. If you look really closely, you can see each individual head-shot of the good people who helped us advertise this film and get the word out, they make up the texture of the poster itself. I got this idea because I wanted to give a simultaneous thank-you to everyone who had helped us get this far, but it was ambiguous with the title of the film - that our protagonist had gone missing, and she was now completely invisible. Completely Lost in the World. Have you seen her?
- Brendan C. Campbell
   Producer / Designer / Editor / Visual Effects Supervisor

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