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SXSW: Catherine Hardwicke Packs 'Em In for Director's Workshop

"Red Riding Hood" star Shiloh Fernandez is also on hand.

Catherine Hardwicke SXSW Portrait 2011

Saturday afternoon, Catherine Hardwicke packed her large room at the convention center with those sitting in for her director’s workshop. Her Red Riding Hood star Shiloh Fernandez was also there onstage as Hardwicke walked those in attendance—including more than a few filmmakers with work in the festival—through scenes, shot lists, images and location sketches from Twilight, Thirteen and Red Riding Hood. (I was there moderating.)

Fernandez (no relation), who plays Peter in Red Riding, chimed in on her methods for working with actors in rehearsal and on set. Hardwicke took questions from the crowd and zeroed in on areas interesting to them, such as how she shoots women in scenes of physical intimacy and the camerawork and design for the through-the-treetops scene between Edward and Bella in Twilight. Her assistant Amanda cued the clips and storyboards on a giant screen to her right.

Hardwicke managed to roll out some concrete advice, but one of the most illustrative moments was when she cued a short video called "Thirteen in 30 Seconds" as a way to show how her use of color correction expressed the emotional content of the film’s storyline. The movie unspooled in super-fast motion, and since it rolled too fast to catch any specific images, you were left to focus on how the dullness of the early parts of the movie steadily grew into more vibrant colors and then became blown out as the main character’s life went off the rails, only returning to the muted, almost black-and-white tone of the ending.

(In the conference room next door, Hangover II director Todd Phillips was talking mean-spirited comedy and left-footed characters with Elvis Mitchell.)

Afterward, Hardwicke was off to hang out at Richard Linklater’s ranch – she did production design on his locally shot western The Newton Boys back in 1998. Fernandez was looking to see some movies and hang with the filmmakers of his previous film Skateland, which played SXSW last year.