Technicolor – PostWorks New York recently completed final postproduction work on the independent drama Wish You Well. Directed by Darnell Martin, the film is based on the best-selling novel by David Baldacci, who also wrote the screenplay. Set in the 1940s, it is the story of a young girl, Lou Cardinal, who goes to live with her great-grandmother in Virginia after her writer father is killed in a car accident. The film stars Josh Lucas, Mackenzie Foy and Academy Award-winner Ellen Burstyn.
Technicolor – PostWorks’ Martin Zeichner applied the final grade using a Baselight system. Zeichner, whose credits range from The Devil Wears Prada to Boardwalk Empire, worked in concert with cinematographer Frank Prinzi, ASC to accentuate the film’s time period and mood. “This film is very much about how the environment shapes the personalities of the characters,” said Zeichner. “I took that as my cue to emphasize the beauty of the backgrounds in the photography. Frank and I worked together to bring out the beauty of the land.”
Prinzi said that Zeichner is detail-oriented and knew exactly what he wanted from each scene in the film. Locations were spread across Virginia’s Giles County and Prinzi shot each one to bring out its individual personality and place in the film’s narrative. Zeichner worked to enhance those qualities in the grade.
“The film moves through various towns, some wealthy, some poorer,” explained Zeichner. “In the story, mining companies have begun to move into the area to strip mine the mountains, and they have created mining towns that feel desolate. We desaturated those places, made them cooler, and less attractive than other towns that were thriving and bustling.”
The heart of the film’s story involves Lou’s struggle to find herself in the wake of losing her parents (her mother is left traumatized and catatonic from the same accident that killed her father) by becoming a writer herself. A scene with Lou working on a submission to a writing contest sponsored by the Saturday Evening Post was also given specialized color treatment.
“I applied a combination of soft focus and sharpening to shape the frame the way Frank wanted,” Zeichner noted. “It gives the scene a very intimate look.”