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14 Post • December 2009 Thanks to the shaky economic climate, the past year has been a ver y bumpy ride in Hollywood. Even so, audiences, happy to forget the recession and their financial woes for a couple of hours, headed to the theatres in healthy num- bers, especially to see anything light and escapist. Here, four top di- rectors — Sam Raimi, J.J. Abrams, Shawn Levy and Carlos Saldanha — whose films all connected with audiences everywhere, sounded upbeat for the most par t as they tackled Post's SWOT questions and aired their views about the year ahead in terms of post tech- nology and films. SAM RAIMI Director The Spider-Man trilogy, Drag Me To Hell,The Evil Dead, A Simple Plan, Army of Darkness STRENGTHS: "That I'm able to refine and keep refining the original idea of the screenplay, and it's a process where I can once again be precise about the original intentions of the film. I love the fact that I can keep adding effects in post and keep experimenting with the film, and the fact that the DI gives you such amazing control now over every frame." WEAKNESSES: "It can get ver y expensive and sometimes there are so many possibilities in post that you have to keep a strong vision in your head of where you want to go." OPPORTUNITIES: "Because a filmmaker can still use Final Cut Pro, and it doesn't cost that much, there's a lot of oppor tunity. I don't want to complain about the big professional services. They sure have fine tech- nicians and incredible artistry at a [the big DI houses], so I don't want to complain about the prices because I'm so enamored of the great quality they can pro- duce, but you can do a lot of stuff in post without spending a fortune now." THREATS: "After you've done months of post and have the pic- ture and sound exactly how you want it, it's pretty depressing to see your film screened in a bad theatre with terrible sound. I think that's still the weak link." OUTLOOK 2010: "The big problem in the year ahead is that the studios are going to be making a lot fewer films because of the bad economy, so that in turn means filmmakers are going to have a much harder time finding financing for their projects. But with the right project, audiences will always turn out, so bad as it is, I feel things will turn around. People will always want to forget their worries." J.J. ABRAMS Director/Producer Star Trek, Mission: Impossible III, Lost, Cloverfield STRENGTHS: "Because I look at the whole process as one thing, I almost don't know how to disconnect the post process from the rest of the filmmaking process.The fact that you can kind of do anything now is, on the one hand, great, but like any other aspect of the process, it begs the question, 'But what are you going to do?' So it really is an extension of production now, what you're able to do given the resources. So for me, the strength with writing or shooting, is the ability to best re- alize the story you want to tell." WEAKNESSES: "Exhibition quality sometimes really frustrates me. My wife's from Maine and sometimes I've gone to see films there at cer tain theatres and I just want to kill myself. You just sit there and feel, this is the anti-experience, the worst way to see a movie. But hopefully with digital cinema here now, the base line of what films look and sound like will finally become more consistent." OPPORTUNITIES: "Clearly there are amazing tools available OUTLOOK DIRECTORS Exhibition IS KEY Sam Raimi's Drag Me To Hell. By Iain Blair

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