10 Days In A Madhouse, which opened to a wildly successful premiere at the Cannes Film Festival back in May, is an important women’s rights film that insiders are saying is on a track to garner nominations from both The Academy Awards and The Golden Globes.
The movie follows the true story of Nellie Bly, the world’s first undercover reporter, as she feigns insanity in order to infiltrate Blackwell’s Island Insane Asylum for women. Not only does she pave the way for investigative journalism, but her heroic efforts saved many lives and brought gender equality issues to light.
The film stars newcomer Caroline Barry, whos uncanny performance as Bly is leading the Awards talk. Also delivering a performance being called some of the best moments of his career is Christopher Lambert (Highlander, Mortal Kombat), as the head of the institution and Kelly Le Brock (Weird Science) as a sadistic nurse. It opens in US theaters on November 20th.
The producers of 10 Days In A Madhouse are grateful to have worked with such an accomplished digital colorist as Marc Wielage. Digital coloring is often an under-appreciated job, but it is hugely important. If the coloring is off, audiences immediately feel disconnected—even if they don’t realize why. Colorists are instrumental to the consistency and overall look, tone and feel of a movie. Often times, the color itself tells a story.
The digital colorist has the job of sparking life into what might otherwise feel like an ordinary image. For period piece 10 Days In A Madhouse, the coloring helps to convey the era, as well as the film’s emotional layers. Director Timothy Hines calls Wielage’s work “masterful”, saying without him “the film wouldn’t be as effective.”
Wielage describes working on 10 Days in a Madhouse as a challenge, saying that “the goal was to create a very realistic, organic feel for the production. Something that provided the authentic flavor of 1880’s New York while still being visually interesting for a contemporary audience. We eventually came up with an overall pallet to help make the film feel as real and gritty as possible. The story starts out with a brighter and cheerful day look, then we gradually got darker and more bleak as the story progressed, showing Nellie Bly’s descent into the depths as she learns all the secrets of the institution. We used different techniques to push the scenes into a dark, emotional and sometimes almost nightmarish direction. Tim’s passion for the project and his eye for detail helped us determine how far we could push the image, making sure our work stayed true to the story.”
Wielage goes on to compliment actress Caroline Barry, who stars as Nellie Bly, saying “she looked beautiful and it was tough making her look more haggard and frightened.”
Wielage had the opportunity to work with Christopher Lambert, who stars as the main antagonist in the film, for the Highlander movies back in the 1990s. “I’m very aware of his work and his amazing screen presence. I thought he came across perfectly as the head doctor. We went out of our way to make his eyes more visible, adding light and sharpness when possible to subtly pull attention in the frame. We also made him look more menacing when he needed to be.”
Making sure each scene hit the right emotional chord involved a grueling schedule of up to 15 hours a day for weeks. Wielage enjoyed the opportunity to work with Hines, who he described as passionate, determined, and the hardest-working person on the film each and every day.
Wielage has lended his talents to many post-production houses over the years, including Complete Post and Technicolor. He has worked on numerous sit-coms, documentaries, commercials, animated series and feature films. Most notably, he worked on the 2010 film The Kids Are All Right starring Julianne Moore, Annette Benning, Mark Ruffalo, Mia Wasikowska and Josh Hutcherson.
The movie was nominated for four Academy Awards including Best Picture. He also worked on the coloring of the 2002 hit Drumline starring Nick Cannon and Zoe Saldana, and Blades of Glory starring Will Ferrell, Jon Heder, Will Arnett, Amy Poehler and Jenna Fischer. His television credits include many popular shows such as Lost, Big Bang Theory, My Wife and Kids, That 70’s Show, Xena: Warrior Princess, Miami Vice, Garfield & Friends, The Smurfs and The Twilight Zone.
Wielage also had the opportunity to work for 20th Century Fox and MGM on classic films. As a film history buff, he loved this. He color corrected the home video versions of Die Hard, Planet of the Apes, Brazil and Dances With Wolves.
He also worked alongside George Lucas on the HD home video and D-Cinema versions of the original Star Wars and Return of the Jedi.
Wielage remembers Lucas as “very precise” and “extremely technically knowledgeable,” saying he “gained a new respect for him seeing how a filmmaker could have so much enthusiasm and energy for a project done decades ago.”
10 Days in a Madhouse is gaining much praise for its look when screened at Geen Davis’ Bentonville FIlm Festival and when it played at Cannes.
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