Raymond Edwards

Director/Producer/Writer

Company Director

SHORT BIOGRAPHY:


RAYMOND ANTHONY EDWARDS has worked in the industry since 1980, in Commercial Television and Stage Theatre. He’s a multi-faceted artist. He was Theatre Director and founder of Gondo Arts Centre, Southern Africa and was actively involved in theatre film and television during the 80’s. His original creation, “Vanished Civilization” which demonstrated his multifaceted talents to an echelon of exceptional achievement; lastly performed before a private audience of international dignitaries at the 8th Conference for The Non-Aligned Movement,1986. Recognized for his excellence, Edwards was offered to further his passion for filmmaking, through private sponsorship. He moved to the USA in 1988. He studied at the California Institute of the Arts, receiving his BFA degree in Film/Video, 1993 and then onto his MFA degree in Film/Video, 1995. He worked at Hollywood’s Electric Filmworks and Stargate Studios(aka Stargate Films) on Camera Effects Operations. He went on to work at Centropolis Effects1997-2000, as a CGI Animator/Technical Director; Centropolis being notorious for it’s Twentieth Century Fox blockbuster, Independence Day. Here he worked on Sony TriStar‘s Award winning Godzilla, Stuart Little and The Patriot. Edwards produced and directed the film Shadow Rising, 1996, which showed at the Academy of Animation, in North Hollywood, receiving an award for best Short at the DV Awards in spring 2005. He moved to London to work as a CG Lighting/Texturing Artist on other Award winning films such as Pride (2004) and Five Children and It (2004) for the Jim Henson’s Creature Shop  (renowned for their "The Muppet Show" (1976). Edwards also founded Blinding Films, in 2006 where he’s produced, directed and currently developing feature film projects for which he’s written the screenplays.

 

LONG BIOGRAPHY:

RAYMOND ANTHONY EDWARDS was born in what used to be called Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, and has worked in the industry since 1980, in Commercial Television and Stage Theatre. He’s a multi-faceted artist. Edwards started painting and sculpting at an early age and later, exhibited internationally as a contemporary artist. He was the Theatre Director and Founder of Gondo Arts Centre, Southern Africa (a non-profit performing centre, offering free training for talented youth from all walks of life), and was actively involved in theatre, film and television during the 80’s.



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WHO'S LAND - Documentary: based on the true indigenous people that inhabited the Central Africa's before the Kingdom of Munamatapas and then the British Colonialists - the Bushman

 

Completed, 1983

But it was his original creation, “Vanished Civilization” - a theatre production, written, produced, directed, acted, and composer of the soundtrack - which demonstrated his multifaceted talents to an echelon of exceptional achievement; lastly performed before a private audience of international dignitaries at the 8th Conference for The Non-Aligned Movement, 1986.

“Vanished Civilization” demonstrated my grasp of theatrical organizational ability, with talents that stirred an international audience to standing ovations.”

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“I would like to inform you, both the Deputy Secretary for Culture and I not only approve of your approach but are most impressed be this creative material. It is most gratifying to note the inspiration you have drawn from your contemplation of Ancient Zimbabwe.” - S. J. Chifunise (Secretary of Youth, Sport & Culture)

Edwards also, sang, choreographed the dance sequences for his musical dramas, with his original soundtracks later released on vinyl, through Gramma Records.

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Most of his prominent works have received little international acclaim, as Rhodesia-Zimbabwe was undergoing political changes. However, “The Corridor” stirred curiosity amongst European diplomatic circles.

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"The Corridor was no ordinary project conceived by Zimbabwe's omni-arts phenomenon, Raymond Edwards, it was dedicated to those who financed, worked on or protected our evermore vital lifeline to the sea and the world. Made possible by the generously nation-spirited companies and musicians, this Gramma record proceedings went to ZIMOFA, the Zimbabwean-Mozambican Friendship Association, the support-organization devoted to the Beira Corridor's security during Apartheid South Africa. The Corridor was then a modest, yet tangible contribution to all countries of the SADDC region - from Gondo Arts which was then a newly formed multi-arts centre. This was a powerfully moral cause at democracies' African front-line. This noble act deserves a Hero's Award" - Danny Glover

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Recognized for his excellence, Edwards was offered to further his passion for filmmaking, through private sponsorship. He moved to the USA in 1988. He studied at the California Institute of the Arts, under the mentorship of Jules Engel (the “godfather” of Experimental Animation) and Kris Malkiewicz (author of “Film Lighting”). He received his BFA degree in Film/Video, 1994. In his Summer Breaks, Edwards worked at Hollywood’s Electric Filmworks and Stargate Studios (aka Stargate Films) on Camera Effects Operations. He also worked at Rijn & Reisman as a sculptor/Model Maker, for the Dr. Seuss Theme Attraction, Universal Studios. Edwards further explored the film process with a focus on cinematography and motion graphics. He received his MFA degree in Film/Video, 1996 at the Californian Institute of the Arts. CalArts is the first U.S. higher educational institution to offer undergraduate and graduate degrees in both visual and performing arts, established in 1961 by Walt and Roy Disney. Notable Alumni: John Lasseter, executive vice president of creative development at Pixar Animation Studios.  Lasseter has directed Toy Story, A Bug's Life and Toy Story 2 and executive-produced Monsters, Inc. and Finding Nemo. He has won Academy Awards for Toy Story (special achievement) and The Tin Soldier (best animated short film). His original screenplay for Toy Story was also nominated for an Oscar. Steve Hillenburg, is the creator of the hit animated series SpongeBob SquarePants on Nickelodeon. Mark Osborne, director Kung Fu Panda (2008) Tim Burton, director of Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, Beetlejuice, Batman, Edward Scissorhands, Batman Returns and Ed Wood, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. James Mangold, directed the acclaimed Girl, Interrupted. Walk the Line, a biopic about Johnny Cash. Henry Selick, director of The Nightmare Before Christmas, James and the Giant Peach and Monkeybone. Brad Bird, wrote the screen story and directed The Iron Giant, After joining Pixar Animation Studios, Bird wrote and directed the feature The Incredibles. Don Cheadle, Golden Globe-winning actor (Hotel Rwanda, Crash). Ed Harris, Golden Globe-winning actor (The Truman Show, The Hours), director (Pollock). Paul Reubens, actor, creator of Pee-wee’s Playhouse

Edwards produced and directed the film Shadow Rising, 1996, a 16mm Animation-cum-Live Action film, which showed at the Academy of Animation, in North Hollywood. Shadow Rising last received an award for best Short at the DV Awards in Spring 2005.

“Inspired by The Quay Brothers’ masterpiece, STREET OF CROCODILES, adapted from a short story by Polish writer Bruno Schulz, with SHADOW RISING, I took the opportunity to explore the various aspects of the film process, which helped me apply myself on a broader spectrum in contributing to other film projects. However, I wanted to utilize my skills with as many animation and production design styles, challenge live-action drama working with mute talent, shooting on various camera apparatus, with the objective to re-direct the story, challenging the editing process. However, I wanted this film to reflect a feeling of isolation”

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Shadow Rising, with Linny Smith as Mandisa in director Edwards' motion graphics collage of a deaf and lonely teenager’s journey from death on an alleyway in a Los Angeles ghetto to happiness in the afterlife. Reunited with her (also deceased) friend, SongHe (Anna Kim), they return to their basement crawlspace where they experience Mandisa’s ancestral voices, displayed through a kaleidoscope of art forms.

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“Although I received a BFA degree in Film/Video where I concentrated on Art Direction and Animation techniques and then a MFA degree in Film/Video where I focused more experimenting with both Traditional and Digital Cinematic styles, my goal was to continue studying various framing and staging ideas of continuity style to heighten my awareness of composition, editing patterns and 3D design. With a strong background in film, I felt I still needed to work in a Visual Effects environment in order to feel better prepared to strike out on my own.”


With an admiration for Orson Welles, Alfred Hitchcock, Ridley Scott, Akira Kurosawa, Federico Fellini and Sergei Eisenstein, Edwards wanted to define his own unique signature through observing other visionaries, actively writing and participating in screenwriters workshops, working on camera to further his skills with different filmmakers before locking himself into CAD technology and the Visual Effects Industry. He wanted to go further with every phase of the production process from scripting, budgeting, and scheduling to aid independent direction with a better understanding on how to integrate visualization skills into the collaborative process of the production cycle.

Edwards developed a curiosity for the Award winning Screenplay Systems that Write Brothers, Inc. had come up with and wanted to be a part of this creative community. He met Chris Huntley, Academy Award winner and co-creator of Dramatica at a weekend workshop designed as a practical introduction to Dramatica, a bridge between "traditional" story concepts and Dramatica's own tools for story development and analysis. Chris invited Edwards into the Dramatica Writer's Group.

"Movie Magic Screenwriter and Dramatica Pro are my obligatory writing partners. Equipped with these tools over the past ten years, I now approach writing in a more organizational way. I've managed to support other writers, as well with the writer's group at CBS, in re-structuring their character arcs, story goals, plot points, themes and conflicts. I normally start with a 1-2 page story that I feel passionately about. Then I'll use Dramatica to write out a Treatment Query System, allowing the story to intensify. It takes a while to sculpt out the story but the time invested proves worth the while. Once I've resolved which of Dramatica’s semantics should define my story form and have illustrated those choices into story and character perspectives, I'll export it into Movie Magic Screenwriter."

He went on to work at Centropolis Effects 1997-2000, as a CGI Animator/Technical Director; Centropolis being notorious for it’s Twentieth Century Fox blockbuster, Independence Day. Here he worked on Sony TriStar‘s Godzilla, Stuart Little and The Patriot.

Awards

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Awards

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During this time, Edwards studied at the Joanne Baron/DW Brown Studios in their Acting program, 2000-2002.

”I chose The Joanne Baron/D.W. Brown Studio because I believed this was an extremely creative environment with a disciplinary edge to their training program, nurturing each talent to express their individuality at their highest level.  This craft certainly strengthened my character development, helping to sharpen my storytelling logic, using “The Method”. As a director, these are the types of actors I would trust to help tell my story and reveal emotional truths of the human condition to the camera. My premonition would be to ‘cast against type’ when it came to the leading characters and ‘typecast’ with the minor roles.”

He moved to London to work on the Pride (2004) and Five Children and It (2004) as a CGI artist at the Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, (renowned for their "The Muppet Show" (1976).

   

 

Edwards also founded Blinding Films, in 2006 where he’s currently developing feature film projects for which he has written the screenplays (see Projects, Film & Video).

Edwards is developing COLOR ME BLIND, story written by Raymond Edwards and in the script stage.

"Overall, the script works well. You have found an intuitive way to handle narration. Characterizations are good and the dialogue sounds conversational. I think you're off to a good start" - Dave Trottier (Author of The Screenwriter’s Bible)

Edwards is developing LIKE BREAD FOR AFRICA, story written by Raymond Edwards, screenplay written by Nathan Gabaeff.

Reviewed by professional reader, Joe Reinkemeyer and “Beyond Structure” advocate of the David Freeman Group, who commented: “You have the vision of a director”. The Freeman Group specializes in making games more emotionally immersing, which means not just executing great stories, characters and writing, but also using a vast array of tools to build emotion right into the game play.

Below is his short, PIG SOUP, 2007 (in post production).

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Directed by Raymond Edwards, Produced by Tony Graf and Raymond Edwards, Executive Produced by Maks Naporowski, Raymond Edwards, Tony Graf, Robert Bardy and Veronique Deruaz.

In a mental institution, narrated by Grandma Rose, PIG SOUP chronicles a regretful yet, dramatic day in the life of herself and her indifferently troubled grandson, Damian, who’s crippled and deluded by his dysfunctional surroundings, he embarks on an uncontrollable rampage of criminal acts. Unfortunately, too late in the day, does he truly learn of the karmic retribution following this progressive orgy of sex, violence and loot

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"I intended PIG SOUP to be a free for all collaborative process, which turned out to be a misdirection of organized chaos, presenting more work in the post-production stage. Something I will never attempt ever again. However, the lessons learnt were invaluable. Though the Main Character’s arc had not changed, he did not represent the audience's position in the story. He simply had no impact on the audience's story experience and the message I intended got lost. I had to rewrite and take control of where this film was going. So, I decided to build empathy into the hero’s journey by an interview process of Grandma Rose (the Be-er Character) to help solve her problems internally, while the lead male, Damian, still remained the Do-er Character trying to accomplish his senseless purpose through mindless activities. I needed the audience to identify with the female Be-er Character whose direction of growth would have to be forced along by decisions. The tension was there but the story could not reach its moment of truth. So, my Be-er Character needed to show clearly that she was running out of options (Optionlock). Regardless of the Main Be-er Character’s Good resolve with regards to her personal angst, I knew that the story goal should reflect failure towards our social system. I would say the story was a universally moral tale set against the issues that arose from of an indifferently, anti-social teenager, Damian Watkins. So, this story problem would have had to fall into what Dramatica would define as, a Situation."

Edwards will also do the Scheduling and Budgeting during the pre-production stages and swears by Entertainment Partners' Movie Magic's EP Scheduling and EP Budgeting.

Edwards has directed/produced commercials, music videos, shorts and has recently produced a cinematic spec film, DAWN OF DARKNESS
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Edwards wanted to take Blinding Films to the next level. Together with Naporowski, they decided to put their creative minds together in coming up with a highly visual, less than fifteen minute spec, with a story line that relies more on visuals than on dialogue; Hollywood prefers shorts with somewhat silent passages.

They wanted to base this short on a well-known novel or video game. Although one doesn't have to come up with an original story line, their is still a risk in alienating the fan base by putting a stamp on the film; in changing the aspect of the plot or the character names. But with a video game there is no real story plot. So Naporowski, Ben Cinnelli and Edwards put together a screenplay based on the World of WarCraft, but had to brainstorm an original storyline centered around backstories of the specific characters that represented the four different races in the game. Once they were satisfied with a believable premise, they moved onto the visualization process.

"Raymond's commitment to a project is total. From start to finish I was working with a professional, in actualizing the intricacies of the costumes, within the budget and time constraints." - James Secord (Dark Prince Studios)

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Edwards also worked closely with Napowrowski in the Art Direction with Concept Illustrations, Framing and Staging ideas of Continuity Style, to heighten the composition and Editing.

"I believe the process of visualization is in fact not the accomplishment of the story’s purpose but rather, a search for that single rational. To organize the chronological signposts in one’s imagination, one has to be led by the drawing board because it is so easy to forget oneself in the application of making a film"

Edwards and Naporowski approached some Conceptual Artists to set the mood for the film.

"Raymond has the ability to physically connect with the artist’s medium, reviewing and refining the process from concept to actualization. He’s one of the people who "get it". He goes above and beyond what is needed for the task at hand, all the while employing a cool understanding of what is necessary to hold the production team together. I was very happy to work with Raymond because he embodies the term professional and thorough"  - Tim Peterson (Black Octopus Illustration Studio)
  Design by Tim Peterson

"Once we got past the concept, thumbnails and final design illustrations to get the idea across for the formal presentations we approached a few private investors with the idea of taking this product to Hollywood Execs. Fusion Entertainment expressed there interest to co-finance."

"Ray definitely, has the ability to evaluate an artist's work moment-to-moment and provides the smartest options in bridging the director’s vision to meet the client’s expectations" - Ben Cinelli Senior Character Animator (Sony Imagework)
Design by Benjamin Cinelli
 

Design by Benjamin Cinelli

 

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Design by Brandon Russell

"We needed a tall muscular actor to play the Orc in a Motion Capture suit and were fortunate to have William Romeo from American Gladiators. Naporowski had his mind set on Elekrashock to deliver the Mo-Cap data. We approached Darnel Williams to Supervise the Motion-Capture for the Orc, Paladin and Elf movement which Naporowski used with a combination of key frame animation to prepare the previs."

"What struck me most about working with Raymond was that he not only has a great eye, but he knows where to put the time and effort as well as how to direct the artists to create striking visuals." - Peter Zoppi
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Design by Peter Zoppi

"I vouch for an intelligent approach to storyboarding a screenplay and insist on pre-visualization as an integral part of the production process. Beautiful images are great but if they not helping to tell the story or sell the conception, then it’s time and money gone down the shoot. Concept Illustration and Storyboarding should be treated as a business service where the creative team is contented in getting the job done and delivered in a timely manner. Each project will call for a different mise en scène and this requires experience that is nurtured over the years of working in various capacities in the entertainment industry. Pre-visualization is about communicating on all levels, cutting down on production time and expense, assuring the financiers of what to expect, minimizing any conflicting ideas, setting the overall pace and style of editing and helping all the players collaborate on the same page."

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Layout and Animation by Maks Naporowski

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Forest Environment by Gabriel Soto Campa. Layout/Animation by Maks Naporowski

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Actress, Gidget Migliaccio and Makeup Artist, Allison Bryan

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CGI Model design by Peter Zoppi and Skeleton Rigg by Dave Lo

"I, too, believe in the auteur theory; when vision and experience is being lead with clarity and without abate. However, when improbability begins to unmask itself, the motion picture, governed by the creative experience of the production entity, becomes the distinctive perception of the creative process."

 

Favorite Directors

KATTSUHIRO OTOMO, FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA, JOEL AND ETHAN COEN, GEORGE CUKOR, HAYAO MIYAZAKI, WONG KAR-WAI, QUENTIN TARANTINO, ALFRED HITCHCOCK, RIDLEY SCOTT, AKIRA KUROSAWA, MAMORU OSHII, BERNARDO BERTOLUCCI, FEDERICO FELLINI, SERGEI EISENSTEIN, ANG LEE, JOHN LASSETER, LARRY AND ANDY WACHOWSKI, JAMES CAMERON, STEVEN SPIELBERG, ROBERT ZEMECKIS, GUILLERMO DEL TORO, DAVID FINCHER, TERRY GILLIAM, MARTIN SCORSESE, PETER JACKSON, FRANCO ZEFFIRELLI, BRIAN DE PALMA, ROMAN POLANSKI, ROBERT WISE, SAM WOOD, WILLIAM WYLER, EDWARD ZWICK, BLAKE EDWARDS, MILOS FORMAN, SAM MENDES, ROBERT MULLIGAN, D.W. GRIFFITH, FRANK CAPRA, CECIL B. DEMILLE

Favorite Cinematographers

Chris Doyle, Jeff Cronenweth, Hisao Shirai, Declan Quinn, Emi Wada, Sacha Vierny, Chung-hoon Chung, Giuseppe Rotunno, Robert Surtees, Bill Pope, Larry Fong, Conrad L. Hall, John Toll, Roger Deakins, Stuart Dryburgh, Vitorio Steraro, Newton Thomas Sigel, Pawel Edelman, Wally Pfister, Gregg Toland, Pin Bing Lee, Remi Adefarasin, Peter Suschitzky, Janusz Kaminski, Dion Beebe, Darius Khondji, Kramer Morgenthau, Sergei Urusevsky, Ron Fricke, John Mathieson, Matthew Libatique, Tilman Büttner, Emmanuel Lubezki, Eric Gautier

For more information on Raymond Edwards, visit www.raymondedwards.net or www.imdb.com