You probably have never heard of classic film director Michael Curtiz, but I can guarantee that you’ve heard of his films. They were filled with fantasy, adventure and romance. Michael Curtiz was one of the most prolific directors in all of Hollywood. With 171 films to his credit, he has produced some of the most recognized films in the history of the American cinema. His credits include Errol Flynn adventures like Captain Blood and The Adventures of Robin Hood, along with classic dramas such as Casablanca and Mildred Pierce and comedies like White Christmas.
So, when I had the opportunity to propose a film festival based on a director, Curtiz was on the top of my list. Central Wisconsin has the perfect location for such a festival. Nestled in the hills, is the beautiful Al Ringling Theater, an old circus theater complete with marquee, gold filigree and box seats.
But, Curtiz’s films were far too diverse and numerous to select them all. I decided to focus only on his adventure films of the 1930s and early 40s. This was the era in which Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland were just getting their start. This gave me films that covered pirates, Robin Hood and the old west. Adventure films, however, needed the right kind of branding.
From early in the process I knew I wanted to reference early movie posters for the title treatment of this festival. The word “swashbuckler” evokes either a bold, larger-than-life treatment, or a swash-filled italic face. I explored both possibilities. In the end, the big, bold logo fit the best and allowed me to break it up and move it around for different pieces.
The Swashbuckler film doesn’t actually exist, but if it did, I’ve provided designs for tickets, brochures, programs, uniforms, badges, DVD sets, a website, an app, and specialty swag like headbands, corked bottles and wax seals to pull the audience in and help them enjoy the experience.