July 3, 2017

With the release of “Spider-Man: Homecoming” on July 7, New York Film Academy goes behind-the-scenes with Marvel Studios In-House Digital Compositor and NYFA Alumnus Francesco Panzieri.

“Spider-Man: Homecoming” is the first installment of a new Spidey trilogy created through the first-time partnership between Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures. With superhero films experiencing a cultural resurgence, the re-launch of Spidey has fans and filmmakers buzzing worldwide. But with six Spider-Man films in recent memory, what will surprise them in 2017?

According to Panzieri, “Spider-Man: Homecoming” will stand apart due to its combination of great storytelling, and a focus on the superhero’s dual struggles to become an Avenger and survive high school: “I think that the high-school part makes the character extremely compelling because it gives the audience a shared point of view with Peter, since all of us have been through similar life moments.”

Since the film is the result of a collaboration between Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures, it will also be the first time fans see Spider-Man as a standalone hero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Panzieri believes mega blockbusters like films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe attract audiences primarily through their great storytelling.

“Write something good,” he says, “Something really good, that people can relate to, and then maybe use visual effects to enhance your cinematic vision of that story.”

The animation and effects artist says that it is Marvel’s passion for storytelling that motivates the hard work and innovation required to create the gravity-defying effects. “The great thing about Marvel is that they have more productions happening but nothing is at the second level,” says Panzieri. “Everything is at the same priority.”

Panzieri describes an atmosphere of camaraderie and excitement at the studio: “In the studio we had every day all the top-notch leadership team of Marvel Studios surrounding us. While we were working on the visual effects for the feature film, they were focused on refining and improving editing and storytelling with the director. What surprised me in a truly unique and positive way, was seeing first-class executives such as the Marvel ones hard at work from dawn’s early lights until late at night. In those moments I realized the true strength and secret of Marvel Studios that deservedly brought them to be number-one in the entertainment industry: the love and energy that they put into each and every production they make. Everyone who works at Marvel is an extremely genuine, passionate and dedicated fellow; it’s a huge, big family where there is a unique synergy between all the roles.”

Along with a great story, Panzieri points to a new colorspace technology created by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences called ACES (Academy Color Encoding System) as a vital ingredient to the look of “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” Panzieri says, “It was a cool experience for me to test it for the first time and I look forward to ACES being the soon-standard-to-be on features, episodic and commercials.”

Transitioning from film school to major blockbuster productions is entirely a matter of building relationships, according to Panzieri — and being prepared with the skills for hard work. Panzieri points to his training in New York at the New York Film Academy’s 1-Year Conservatory program, as playing a valuable role in preparing him for his work: “I must say that the long hours of classes and lab at NYFA were definitely an advantage to me on every project I worked on thus far … I can definitely say that the instantaneous hands-on environment I found myself in during my time at NYFA was a true testament to how you’ve got to be when working in Hollywood. Visual effects is art, technology and science at the same time, and as such you need to be really focused, dedicated and good at craftsmanship to keep up with its high quality demands you face in entertainment.”

“Spider-Man: Homecoming” is the first installment of a new Spider-Man trilogy created through a first-time collaboration between Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios. Box Office Pro has projected a box office opening of $135 million, which ScreenRant notes would make this the sixth largest opening out of 16 Marvel films.