The Man behind Spike Lee’s “Red Hook Summer” Ad Campaign
It’s a part of the process of marketing a film that most movie goers don’t think of, but long after they see a movie it’s the most memorable image of it that remains. “A movie poster lasts longer than the film,” says Art Sims. Sims, the CEO and founder of 11:24 Design in Los Angeles, is the man responsible for creating the poster for Spike Lee’s new film Red Hook Summer. The poster itself actually looks like a sketch, but it started out as an actual picture. “That was a shot that Spike did when he shot the film of the preacher and the two kids praying on the sidewalk. He really wanted to use it. I told him if I do it, it should be a drawing. The picture looked too plain to me. I thought we needed to make it more stylish. I wanted it to have an illustrated look. The idea was for it to resemble a stained glass window in a church.”
In the past, Sims has worked with Lee to create movie posters for several of his films including Bamboozled and Malcolm X. Once he caught word of Red Hook Summer, he was ready to work with Spike again. However, before things progressed the film director had to make one thing clear. “When I first heard about the movie, people were talking on Twitter that it was a remake of Do the Right Thing. They were saying it’s the return of Mookie. So, I came up with an idea for it. Spike rejected it. He was really clear that it wasn’t. However, Spike told me that I was going to work on it and told me to hang tight. During that time, I began the process of doing the work on the film. He then sent me a hard drive with all the images of the film that were taken by the unit photography. I went from there.” The unit photography is the collection of the pictures taken during the actual filming of a movie.
Sims, who has seen the movie, says it’s one of Spike’s classic Brooklyn stories. “I think it’s a great film. I love it especially the kid from Atlanta and his backstory and the conflict that surrounds him. Particularly, the best part of the story I felt is the story of the two kids. The kid that lives in Brooklyn and the one that comes from Atlanta. It really speaks to the idea of how kids think now a days. That’s one of the most fascinating parts of the film.”
Moving forward, Sims hopes in the future to be a film director. “I think the next step for me is directing. I create pictures for a living. Now, I’m ready to make them move.” In the meantime, he’s focused on his firm’s dedication to what Sims calls “urbanization”. “When I first started out in the business, I used a lot of great white photographers, some of the best in the world. While working with Spike he told me, ‘you know Art you should try to help people of color’. Not to be racist, but in a means of reaching out to other blacks and offering an opportunity they may not get elsewhere. I thought he’s right about that. Often times, we don’t reach back to help others in our communities. So, I started looking for people like Anthony Barbosa, Todd Gray and a number of great black photographers. I saw the importance of it, and then I started to see that most of the films I was working on were primarily about African-Americans in theme and thought. I want my posters to look like paintings not posters. I thought African-American artists have so many great things to say and do. Why not bring that to a great podium like a movie poster?”
It maybe the actual consideration Sims has taken with whom he chooses to work with that has kept him in the business for more than two decades. Sims doesn’t deny that, but gives most of the credit to a higher power. “My company is 11:24 Design. It’s a Bible verse. Mark 11:24. “Whatever things you desire when you pray, believe you receive them and you will have it.” I named the company after that. I believe the reason has to do with spirituality. The Lord kept me in business to create ideas.” Creating seems like something Sims was born to do. “I love art. My actual name is Art. I was born destined to create. I always try to do something highly creative and different. “
Red Hook Summer opens in New York on August 10th. Check out the trailer.
For more from writer Nicole Allen follow her on Twitter @AllenNicoleM