Traverse City Record-Eagle

2012 Traverse City Film Festival

July 27, 2012

Film Fest poster took infinite time

TRAVERSE CITY — That big blue film strip in the shape of an "8" you've been seeing on buses and banners and windows around town lately?

It stands for "just (infinitely) great movies" and the eighth year of the Traverse City Film Festival, and it's the work of volunteer art director Gabe Augustine.

"Michael Moore had some initial ideas including the idea of the infinity of great films," said Augustine, a Traverse City illustrator and graphic designer who came up with this year's film festival poster design. "The design is an 8 and an infinity symbol at the same time, overlayed with a film strip made up of some of the film festival's past favorite movies."

Look closely and you can spot frames depicting "Once," "Viva Zapatero!" "Singing in the Rain," and "Little Miss Sunshine," all screened during the first seven festivals. Augustine, 37, said he spent nearly 200 hours working on hand and computer illustrations for the design, the basis for everything from the festival guide and festival merchandise to festival signage, including buttons and bathroom signs.

"I really love film and I really love the idea of the festival and what they're doing," said the artist, a native of Fort Worth, Texas, and a graduate of the University of North Texas with a communications design degree. "I'm lucky they let me do this. It's kind of an honor."

Festival Executive Director Deb Lake said this year's guide, which Augustine also designed, is the best ever, thanks to the artist's "extra special" skills.

"He's a great writer and he's great at manipulating images. He has this amazing range of skills," she said. "He's so professional and so sweet and we're so lucky to have him."

Lake said Augustine and full-time festival graphic design interns Chelsea Benson and Marisa Taphouse — both art and design school students — are saving the festival tens of thousands of dollars through their hundreds of hours of volunteer work.

"We have a big budget but we use that to bring in filmmakers," Lake said. "To make the festival look good we rely on volunteers."

Besides doing "tons of work" for the festival — he's also creating a banner from the State Theatre Colorbook, a project that had community members coloring stills from iconic movies for a festival trailer — Augustine heads up Augustino Creative design studio. Clients include Dancin' Dogg Golf, makers of infrared golf simulators, and the marketing firm Idea Stream, for which he creates a series of popular designs for the Grand Traverse Ophthalmology Clinic benefit trunk show.

"We take the eight doctors, now nine, and we put them in crazy costumes and I spend weeks Photoshopping them in their crazy settings," said Augustine, who also designed the 2011 Traverse City Comedy Arts Festival poster. "We've done pirates and a Mexican fiesta."

The 2012 Traverse City Film Festival runs Tuesday, July 31, through Sunday, Aug. 5, and features more than 100 films. Augustine and his wife, Gretchen, a medical student at Michigan State University, plan to spend a rare week together taking in as many as they can.

"I try to go to almost every outdoor film and we usually see about five other films. That's what time allows for," said the artist, whose office window overlooks festival venue Lars Hockstad Auditorium. "We're hoping to see 'Jiro Dreams of Sushi' and have a sushi party. We're going to eat sushi and then go see the film."

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