nce the filming got underway, McGennis began to amass still photography from the production. “Everyone on set had a camera,” he recalls, “it was a lot of fun.” After production wrapped, McGennis had many images to draw upon for new poster ideas. The first idea was to find a single image to convey the human detachment of the film and to underscore it with the theme of the bushido. In order to keep the artwork minimal, McGennis felt the best way to incorporate bushido into the artwork would be to actually incorporate another form of art itself into the poster. The art of calligraphy. McGennis invited Japanese master calligrapher, Eri Takase, to create “kanji” (Chinese characters) for the title “Buffalo Bushido” as well as for several samurai codes that are shown over picture (like subtitles) throughout the film. Eri was delighted to bring his inspiration to the project and he presented many font styles for his brush calligraphy. The final vertical design for the film title was beautiful and exactly what McGennis was looking for to incorporate into one, if not several, different poster designs. Working with artist and graphic designer, Kristin Brandt, the first “Buffalo Bushido” poster was laid out in Photoshop centering on a still photo that McGennis felt was emblematic of the film. The image shows
poster art for 'Buffalo Bushido" would once again take a new direction
after the film was picked up for North American distribution by Cinema
Epoch in the spring of 2010. Having experience in what type of cover art
has the greatest consumer impact, the marketing department at Cinema Epoch
expressed their interest for a single dramatic image for the DVD cover.
This was a big departure from the layered festival poster that incorporated
the ensemble cast, animation and many other elements. They asked McGennis
if he had any production stills of his character dressed in samurai armor
preferably holding a sword. Because his character's samurai persona takes
form in the film through animation, McGennis did not have any stills of
himself in samurai armor other than a few comic stills with Jimmy "Superfly"
Snuka. However, McGennis did have the authentic, traditional samurai armor
that was purchased in Japan for his imaginary Samurai D wrestling persona.
Cinema Epoch asked McGennis if he would be up for coordinating a producer
photo shoot session for the purpose of finding a strong DVD cover image.
McGennis agreed and called up his old friend, Mark Dellas, who is a renowned
portrait photographer working in New York and living in the Buffalo area.
McGennis had always been of fan of Dellas' portrait work including his
magazine Traffic East and his work for the Buffalo Sabres. The two of
them always enjoy having a chance to cross paths and work together. McGennis
knew Dellas would deliver what Cinema Epoch was looking for. Two days
later, McGennis arrived at Dellas' studio in the morning with a heavy
box of samurai armor and katana sword in hand and they took some pictures.
lthough McGennis' hair was currently much longer for a new film, his long hair worked for the samurai image and Cinema Epoch made their selection. The use of black and white was a strong choice to emphasize the transparent state-of-mind quality of the film. The use of samurai quotes and the dazzle of light on the katana gave the cover art an edge of intrigue. McGennis was pleased with the new title art for "Buffalo Bushido" that Cinema Epoch created. This image would become the new face of "Buffalo Bushido" in the marketplace and on store shelves as Cinema Epoch announced their release date of June 15, 2010.
spring of 2010 was very busy for McGennis. Not only was "Buffalo
Bushido" still making its theatrical debut both in Buffalo and out
in Los Angeles, but McGennis was also in full production with his new
Buffalo film "Queen City" starring Vivica A. Fox. Still ideas
for developing the poster art for "Buffalo Bushido" continued
to churn in his mind. With a little distance from the Cinema Epoch experience,
McGennis thought there could be a way to further the Cinema Epoch direction
by including his recognized ensemble cast. He admitted to missing his
co-stars on the poster art which he felt reflects his collaborative approach
to filmmaking. He saw a great deal of marketing value to showcase his
cast whether on the shelf at Blockbuster, on cable demand or on-line for
downloading. When his old friend and comic book illustrator, Marvin Mariano,
sent him an e-mail about his upcoming new comic book release, McGennis
sensed an opportunity.
their collaboration on "Buffalo Bushido", Mariano had been
primarily focusing on getting his own comic book "The Legend of
The Steel Breed" off the ground. The first ever issue was planned
for a release in May of 2010 and Mariano touched base to ask McGennis
how "Buffalo Bushido" was progressing and if he'd like to
advertise in the first issue of "Steel Breed". McGennis agreed
and Mariano offered to create a new poster / ad for the comic book.
McGennis was introduced to Mariano's partner, James Bade, and McGennis
was firing ideas and high res images for a new "Buffalo Bushido"
poster to blend both the Cinema Epoch DVD cover with elements of his
layered festival poster. Facing a deadline at the printer, Mariano and
Bade turned out the artwork very quickly and, after some minor tweaks
and finishing touches, a new "Buffalo Bushido" poster was
born. The new poster showcased McGennis' ensemble cast and imported
elements from the previous posters (Japanese title art kanji, tagline,
bridge background, dissolved samurai face illustration, etc. McGennis
chose the "Buffalo Bushido" title art that was created by
Jeremy Appelbaum to close the end credits in the film. McGennis assisted
the distribution push by displaying the upcoming DVD release. Cinema
Epoch really liked the new poster and, although DVD production was already
in motion, the new poster would be utilized to promote the Hollywood
screenings planned for early June for the purpose of drumming up PR
and getting "Buffalo Bushido" reviewed by Variety and Hollywood
Reporter prior to the DVD release. The new "Buffalo Bushido"
poster has since become the film's on-line calling card for all marketing
and viral awareness. Who knows, perhaps we will see this slick "Buffalo
Bushido" image on a limited Blu-ray release someday in the future?