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“A Bright Slice of Pepperoni”: Max Barbakow | Palm Springs

Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti appear in Palm Springs by Max Barbakow (courtesy of Sundance Institute)

Whether capturing or creating a world, the objects onscreen tell as much of a story as the people within it. Whether sourced or accidental, insert shot or background detail, what prop or piece of set decoration do you find particularly integral to your film? What story does it tell?

Led by our production designer, Jason Kisvarday, the art department was incredibly imaginative, passionate, and a bit twisted (in the best way), spoiling me with inspired options for every design choice. I had a lot of fun with the dream team of Marcy Silver (prop whiz) and Kelsi Ephraim (set dec) accentuating the familiar design tropes of a wedding with some bolder touches, but an integral choice was the inflatable pizza raft Nyles, our protagonist, floats his time away on in the venue’s pool as the ceremony is set up. Nyles is a fringe guest at the wedding who doesn’t want to be there (and really doesn’t care to hide it), so a bright slice of pepperoni seemed appropriate: out of place, indifferent about being out of place, but still with a little edge (no plain cheese here).

Sundance Responses 2020

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