Edel Rodriguez


Poster for "Heaven on Earth", a new film by Deepa Mehta

FEBRUARY 19, 2009
Poster, 27" x 38"

This is a poster I worked on for Heaven on Earth a new film by Academy Award Nominee Deepa Mehta.   The film was an official selection at the Toronto Film Festival where these posters were displayed.  The art will also be used in all the cotalleral material, DVD cover, ads, etc. This is the second film poster I’ve worked on, the previous one being for Celia the Queen.  The process for film posters is interesting, so I thought I’d go into it here. 

Final art, mixed media

The producer at Mongrel Media had seen my posters in Toronto for Soulpepper Theatre and wanted to work with me on artwork for the film. He wasn’t sure of the direction but wanted me to look at the film and go over my ideas. Step one was to get a copy of the film from the producers. Here is a clip of the film’s trailer which gives you a rough idea of the plot. The main theme of the movie is arranged marriage and domestic violence in an Indian immigrant household:


After seeing the film, I started working on a series of rough sketches and ideas.  One of the pivotal scenes in the film shows a cobra wrapped around the neck of the main female character, the abused wife, played by the beautiful Indian actress Priety Zinta.  I thought that was a great symbolic image in the film that I could work with.  I tried a number of different options and sent them off to the producers and Deepa Mehta to get their feedback.  Some of those sketches are above and below:

Priety Zinta, the star of the film.

They liked the sketches a lot, but we hit a snag.  The problem was that Priety Zinta happens to be gorgeous.  She’s a huge star in Bollywood and this is the film that is introducing her to a Western audience.   So, Deepa and the rest of the team wanted to find a way to include a photo of her in the poster instead of a line drawing or a conceptual poster approach.  I decided to try something which I’ve been thinking about for a while, combining my drawings with photographs.   I received about 100 film stills from the film crew and started looking for some photos of Priety that could work well on the poster.  Some of the stills are below:

sketches with photos

I then put together some rough comps with the photos and my drawings.  We decided on the bottom right approach.   I did the title as hand lettering, but changed it to upper and lower case for the final design.  I also did all the hand tinting and coloring on the photograph of Priety.

Orange version

I did two color variations as finals, one with a red background, and one with an orange background.   Both were printed and shown together at the Toronto Film Festival.  It’s a lot of fun delving into the film poster genre and I hope to keep doing more of these over time.

Detail of red poster
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'Celia the Queen' Selected for The TRIBECA Film Festival

APRIL 13, 2008
Poster, printed at 24" x 36". Image was selected for the upcoming Communication Arts Illustration Annual.
I'm very happy to announce that the film project I started working on last year, Celia the Queen, was selected for the Tribeca Film Festival, from over 2,300 entries.  Congratulations to the guys at KIE films.  They've been working on this documentary for many years and it's great to see it get the play it deserves.
I haven't seen the film yet.  My dad and myself were interviewed for it, and I hear that dad's segment gets some good play.  I'm flying him up to New York City from Miami for the big premiere party on April 26th!  He can't believe this is happening.  The premiere is sold out, but you can get tickets for the other dates at the Tribeca Film Festival website here.


Saturday, April 26, 9:30pm, (premiere, sold out)  AMC 19th Street, 890 Broadway,

Sunday, April 27th, 2:30pm, Tischman Auditorium at the New School, 66 West 12th Street.

Thursday, May 1, 4:30pm, Village East Cinema 7, 181 2nd Ave (12th Street)

Sunday, May 4, 4:00pm, Village East Cinema 5, 181 2nd Ave (12th Street)

From Tribeca Film Festival website:
"This touching documentary pays tribute to the work of a stellar performer who brought the sound of salsa to the whole world. As a teenager in 1940s Havana, Celia Cruz found her audience in the local canteens. But her real start came when, pressed by her family, she entered and won a local radio contest. A few years later she was signed by one of Cuba's most popular orchestras, and her sultry, gravelly voice became Cuba's most adored. Her trademark cry ¡Azúcar! became known across Latin America. And when she fled Castro's Cuba in 1960 and eventually arrived in the United States, she started a second even more successful career fueled by her partnerships with salsa greats Tito Puente, Willie Colon, and Johnny Pacheco. Ironically, while she became known as the voice of Cuba around the world, her once beloved music was banned in her home country.
Up until the time Celia died in 2003, she was still performing. She even made a turn in a video for Wyclef Jean's remake of the song she made famous, "Guantanamera." When she passed, she was mourned everywhere from England to Argentina. Directors Jose Cardona and Mario de Varona use archival footage of both Celia and her loving husband, Pedro Knight, to tell the inspiring story of a little girl from Havana who became an international diva. Fans from David Byrne to Andy Garcia weigh in on this fabulous woman's influence on their lives, and an intriguing segment explores the cult-like status that Celia's music enjoys in Japan. Foremost though is the presentation of Celia as the warm, strong, free spirit who adored her fans and earned without question her title: "the Queen."  --Genna Terranova

Below are some images from the film:


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Topical: TIME