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Barry Sonnenfeld on Netflix’s
A Series of Unfortunate Events

By Iain Blair

Director/producer/showrunner Barry Sonnenfeld has a gift for combining killer visuals with off-kilter, broad and often dark comedy, as showcased in such hits as the Men in Black and The Addams Family franchises.

He did learn from the modern masters of black comedy, the Coen brothers, beginning his prolific career as their DP on their first feature film, Blood Simple and then shooting such classics as Raising Arizona and Miller’s Crossing. He continued his comedy training as the DP on such films as Penny Marshall’s Big, Danny Devito’s Throw Momma from the Train and Rob Reiner’s When Harry Met Sally.

So maybe it was just a matter of time before Sonnenfeld — whose directing credits include Get Shorty, Wild Wild West, RV and Nine Lives — gravitated toward helming the acclaimed new Netflix show A Series of Unfortunate Events, based on the beloved and best-selling “Lemony Snicket” children’s series by Daniel Handler. After all, with the series’ rat-a-tat dialogue, bizarre humor and dark comedy, it’s a perfect fit for the director’s own strengths and sensibilities.

I spoke with Sonnenfeld, who won a 2007 Primetime Emmy and a DGA Award for his directorial achievement on Pushing Daisies, about making the series, the new golden age of TV, his love of post — and the real story behind why he never directed the film version of A Series of Unfortunate Events.

Weren’t you originally set to direct the 2004 film, and you even hired Handler to write the screenplay?
That’s true. I was working with producer Scott Rudin, who had done the Addams Family films with me, and Paramount decided they needed more money, so they brought in another studio, DreamWorks. But the DreamWorks producer who had done the Men in Black films with me — and I don’t really get along. So when they came on board, Daniel and I were let go. I’d been very involved with it for a long time. I’d already hired a crew, sets were all designed, and it was very disappointing as I loved the books.

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Behind the Title: Nylon Studios creative director Simon Lister

In his role as CD, Lister manages and steers the company, while also serving as a sound designer, client liaison, soundtrack creative and thinker.

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Millennium Digital XL camera: development to delivery
By Lance Holte and Daniel Restuccio

We sat down with Panavision to discuss some
new features in its 2017 moviemaking ecosystem, the Millennium DXL 8K.

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MammothHD shooting, offering 8K footage
By Randi Altman

Assimilate, Z Cam offer
new VR workflow bundle

Calabash animates characters for health PSA

Denny Clairmont retires, Keslow buys Clairmont

Industry vets open NYC
post boutique Twelve

Mocha VR: An Adobe After Effects user’s review
By Zach Shukan

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