|I always wanted to know what Steve Gawley and another ILM crew member were up to with the Chewbacca mask? Some kind of reference photography?|
Former ILM rotoscope and animation artist David Berry has recently put online a special compilation of his original 8mm home movie footage of his six months behind the scenes working at ILM during the making of the original STAR WARS movie during 1976/77.
There’s some superb rare footage of very good quality here, when this relatively new team of people were working hard, but having fun, at finishing the movie’s huge amount of effects against incredible odds in the relatively small warehouse/garage complex created for them at Van Nuys, California. Amongst the amazing visual treats in the film are the remote control Jawa Sandcrawler model being tested (note the top deck lights), the creation of the surface moulds for the Death Star trench, the model filming against blue screen, and the processes of rotoscoping and optical printing as they were back in the day.
The on screen info also contains some fascinating titbits, and shows the oh-so-young talents working alongside
(with effects chief John Dykstra celebrating his thirtieth birthday (yes, his thirtieth!!), at one point!!). We also get to see a bit of the 1977 Academy Awards of which STAR WARS garnered seven OSCARS, and, rounding things off, there’s some terrific footage of the ILM’s infamous outdoor water slide, of which the ILM crews fun activities around it drew the attention of angry representatives from 20th CENTURY FOX who were wondering why their money for the film was being wasted in such a manner by those crazy kids!! Berry
Dave’s ten minute film is a wonderful, warm nostalgic tribute to all those people who brought in a new revolution of films and special effects film-making, at a time when things were much more fun and far more innocent, where the accountants and the suits didn’t stifle the imagination as much as they do now, and in a period when blockbusters truly were blockbusters.
Check out the footage at: 5757 on Vimeo