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Behind the Scenes: The Art and Craft of Cinema with Title Designer Kyle Cooper

January 26, 2013 - January 26, 2013



Text over a neutral background was the conventional opening for a film. Perhaps a specialized font or ornamental graphic might enliven the film’s title, only to be followed closely by additional cards listing the cast and crew. These opening credits were passive announcements of what was to come, but they did little to stimulate an audience response or establish the impending narrative. All that was to change in the mid-fifties with the introduction of the title sequence, a sophisticated minimontage of dynamic images and mobile text pioneered by such designers as Saul Bass and, later, Maurice Binder. A direct successor to those frothy founders, Kyle Cooper entered the field in the mid-nineties and literally shook things up. His startling title sequence for David Fincher’s Se7en, with its jittery text lingering over suspect details of some imminent horror, influenced countless designers. His 150 openers, for such films as Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, and Iron Man II, seductively engage the viewer in the tempo and tenor of the unfolding film. A heavyweight designer, Kyle Cooper holds the titles.

Steve Seid, Video Curator

Saturday, January 26, 2013
8:00 p.m. Behind the Scenes: Kyle Cooper on Title Design, followed by Se7en
UPDATE: KYLE COOPER IS UNABLE TO APPEAR DUE TO ILLNESS. SE7EN WILL SCREEN AT 9 PM. Kyle Cooper focuses on the kinetic mastery of the opening sequence as he takes us behind-the-scenes of title design with an illustrated talk followed by a Q&A with the audience. A complete screening of Se7en, starring Brad Pitt, Kevin Spacey, and Morgan Freeman, follows.

Behind the Scenes is a collaboration between BAM/PFA and the San Francisco Film Society. Major support is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts. The program is also made possible in part by the continued contributions of the BAM/PFA Trustees.