CHICAGOâ€” Filmworkers and its affiliates, Vitamin and Chicago Recording Company, had an opportunity to explore a sad, but very funny, chapter in Chicago history in providing post production services for Phunny Business: A Black Comedy. The feature length documentary, which made its world premier this month at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, tells the story of improbable rise and fall of All Jokes Aside, a comedy club, located on the cityâ€™s Southside, that in the 1990s served as the launching pad for many of todayâ€™s top comedians, including Jamie Foxx, Dave Chappelle, Moâ€™Nique, Bernie Mac, Steve Harvey, D.L. Hughley and Mike Epps. Filmworkersâ€™ Reid Brody is one of the executive producers of the film.
Filmworkers performed final post work for the film in its recently built digital intermediate grading theater. DI colorist Ryan Emerson had the challenging task of applying a consistent look to the more than 3000 clips that make up film and which included an amazing array of archival footage of performances at the club, some dating back more than 20 years.
â€œThe archival footage was sourced from different elements: VHS. DVD, Beta, 3/4,â€? recalls Emerson. â€œIt was really compressed and soft. I had to sharpen a lot of things, and cool them off to make it all appear to be part of the same world.â€?
Vitamin created the filmâ€™s main title sequence as well as graphic elements used to introduce speakers and indentify time and place. â€œThe graphics mirror an old school comedy look that was popular in the â€˜90s,â€? recalls Vitamin creative director Danny Delpurgatorio. â€œBut they are executed with restraint. The film tells such a good story and we didnâ€™t want to distract from it. The animation and layouts are very simple to keep the focus on the content.â€?
Re-recording mixer Danny Karabaic of Chicago Recording Company faced a challenge similar to Emerson in preparing the filmâ€™s soundtrack. The audio from some of the older clips was in poor condition and required special attention. Karabaic wanted to be sure that the audio was clear to ensure that the comediansâ€™ jokes could be understood, but he also wanted to preserve the smoky atmosphere of the club.
â€œWe were limited to the tracks that were available, but overall the elements were well done,â€? Karabaic observes. â€œBrian Kallies (the filmâ€™s editor) was very well organized and had done his work at such a high level, that it made it much easier to deal with.â€?
Phunny Business: A Black Comedy was directed by John Davies, written by Davies and Raymond C. Lambert and produced by Davies, Lambert and Reid Brody. Brian Kallies served as director of photography, editor and co-producer, and Laura Szymber was associate producer. The film features original music by Kelly G. Phunny Business: A Black Comedy is a 2DS Productions and an All Jokes Productions presentation of a Davies/Brody film.
Filmworkers is located at 232 E. Ohio St. Penthouse, Chicago, IL 60611. For more information, call (312) 664-9333 or visit www.filmworkers.com.