Sponsor Profile: Nick Iannelli | Deluxe Toronto

By CFC Staff March 05, 2018 00:00

Our ongoing series profiles the movers and shakers in the Canadian and international screen-based industries. For this month's spotlight on Deluxe Toronto, the CFC reached out to Nick Iannelli, Senior Vice President of Postproduction to discover what it takes to collaborate with Academy Award winning director Guillermo Del Toro.

Nick Iannelli - Senior Vice President of Postproduction at Deluxe Toronto

CFC: Guillermo Del Toro’s film, The Shape of Water, has been a huge success resulting in an Academy Award for Best Picture and Director, along with multiple nominations, including one for Christian Cooke and Brad Zoern, sound-mixers and members of the Deluxe team. How did Deluxe Toronto help to bring such an unique story to life?
Nick Iannelli (NI): We’ve enjoyed a long-standing relationship with Guillermo going back more than 10 years when we worked with him on Pan’s Labyrinth. At that time, Guillermo spent a lot of time in our facility working closely with our team, but most of his time was spent colour correcting the film with our Senior Colourist Chris Wallace. We were ecstatic when Pan's Labyrinth went on to receive many accolades, including the Academy Award for Best Cinematography, allowing us to boast a little, and I stress - very little, as that was the part of the film we handled from a mastering standpoint. After establishing that formidable creative relationship, we then worked with Guillermo on his pilot for The Strain and his feature film Crimson Peak, which lead to [working together on] The Shape of Water.

Early on the film was always referred to as 'the fish movie.' We knew it was a very personal film for Guillermo, so we knew we had to be involved. Bringing Chris Wallace back into the fold for colour made a lot of sense, given the breadth of his experience and shorthand working relationship; and then pushing to bring on our sound mixing team was the next step. Chris and Brad have worked closely on numerous productions with the Sound Supervisor and editorial team of Nathan Robitaille and Nelson Ferreira. All together, we knew that we could deliver on the level of expectation and creative execution Guillermo was looking for. We worked closely with Miles Dale [producer, The Shape of Water] and Doug Wilkinson [postproduction supervisor, The Shape of Water] to find a way to make it happen and, with the blessing of Fox Searchlight, we were able to help with the film.

CFC: Why do you think Deluxe has so many high-profile productions using your services?
NI: We have an amazing team here in Toronto, from our creative talents in sound mixing and colourists, to our client services team and support staff. They all genuinely enjoy working together to make great things happen on the big or small screen. I believe that our clients notice the difference and that in turn allows us to attract high-profile projects like The Shape of Water and The Handmaid’s Tale, but we are not just about the perceived big-name projects. For all of the projects we work on we provide the same level of creative, quality and service. Whether we’re working with CFC alumni like Ingrid Veninger on her past five features or with Mark Montefiore on Letterkenny or Bad Blood, we do not distinguish – we tailor solutions that fit the needs of the show. We continuously work on ensuring that we provide a great working experience to everyone we work with.

CFC: How do you foresee Deluxe’s services growing in the next five years?
NI: The post and visual effects scene is exciting right now in Toronto. The post community is finally getting recognized for the talents that exist in this city. It’s no longer just about completing projects because it’s more cost effective in Toronto. It’s all about the incredible quality of the work that’s being produced here – end-to-end. When you consider the list of award nominations for Toronto creatives in the areas of editing, visual effects, mixing and sound design, it is truly remarkable, which I believe is making the world take notice of postproduction in Toronto. For us at Deluxe, we want to continue to raise the bar, provide great work that competes at a world-class level, and provide our talent and services for Canadian film and television creators so that we can showcase our collective work to the world.

On a more specific level, the area of visual effects is of great interest as we just launched a VFX team in town to support many of the projects we post. One of our worst kept secrets is that in addition to our 62,000 sq. ft. post facility, we have a 50,000 sq. ft. facility that currently houses Deluxe Animation and our Stereo D team, with the capacity for 500 seats. They are currently animating a series and converting the 2D to 3D on many of the Hollywood tent-pole features that come out throughout the year.

The Deluxe vision for Toronto is providing a full-service creative post experience - animation, visual effects, conversion and picture and sound finishing - delivering at the highest calibre.

CFC: How would you describe Deluxe Toronto’s relationship to the CFC?
NI: Our connection with the CFC goes all the way back to the inception of the CFC. Our Past President and CEO at the time, Cyril Drabinsky, formed a lasting relationship with Norman Jewison [CFC’s founder]. We’ve been fortunate to continue that relationship as we hold the CFC near and dear to our hearts and love everything that they do. The talent that the CFC has nurtured over the years is remarkable; it rivals some of the best film programs in the world. We want to continue to support that success and the CFC as much as possible.

CFC: What advice would you give filmmakers going into the post-production process with limited budgets?
NI: Just simply come talk to us. We want to establish lasting relationships from the start. We will lay out solutions and workflows that work with the schedule and budgets available. For us, it’s a partnership. We want to support and foster filmmakers with the quality and level of expertise we know. Why not establish a high-quality bar within any budget? There is nothing more satisfying than having a client reach out after a production and say, “Wow! That was a great experience.”