One product, two ways to seduce a prospective audience. The posters for 'Fan Girl' designed by the multi-talented Karl Castro.
Culture Art

How to tell a story in one frame: or The evolution of the 'Fan Girl' movie poster

"I believe a good movie poster is able to generate interest without giving away too much." 
ANCX Staff | Jan 07 2021

To celebrate the many awards garnered by “Fan Girl” at the MMFF Gabi ng Parangal, the film's script consultant and poster designer Karl Castro took to Instagram to talk about the evolution of the film's poster art. As admirers of Castro's work for the movies, we thought we'd share it here with you. 

Karl has been designing movie posters since the late Aughts, and his portfolio includes “Never Not Love You,” “That Thing Called Tadhana,” “Six Degrees of Separation from Lilia Cuntapay,” “Norte Hangganan ng Kasaysayan” and "Alone/Together." If you haven't noticed already, let's just say it: he's a Tonette Jadaone favorite. In 2018, we asked him what makes a good movie poster. His answer: “Generally, I believe a good movie poster is able to generate interest without giving away too much. This usually involves creating a graphic icon or approach that, if done well, eventually becomes emblematic of the film.”

Here is Karl talking about his design approaches for the "Fan Girl" poster. 

"The first poster was largely about misdirection through color. Pink is often associated with girlish innocence, but I used high-intensity hues to visualize the feeling of excess, of intoxication and addiction. The distinction is blurred, just like the line between fangirl and fanatic.

"The second poster takes a different approach. The darkness is emphasized. The photograph, still predominantly pink, is now tinged with the cool purple of a bruise. The image is of a pivotal scene: this is the very moment when the girl finally gets close to her flame, too close to the point of getting burned, and starts to seriously reexamine her entanglement with him and his fantasy.

"Given the sensitive nature of the scene, it was quite a risky choice, and I understand why we ultimately went with the cheerful pink, eventually positioning it for the MMFF, closer to more conventional romances. However, I felt that this poster best captured the film. As much as I loved the pink poster, this second poster had my vote. 

All elements are scaled down and pushed aside so we focus on her intent gaze, part shock, part desire, part terror. Her idol looms in the foreground, bereft of the alpha beauty she was always made to see. We follow her gaze to the discreet tagline: “Never meet your hero.”  It is the moment of demystification—the core idea at the heart of the film.

"In earlier studies, I explored the above-mentioned ideas in various ways. With permission, I'm sharing the ones I loved most but didn't see the light of day. The sticker-like treatment of Paulo Avelino's face, cute but in shrill repetition, spread over the poster like some kind of rash or viral disease. Various expressions on the girl's face, from fear to euphoria. The frenzied but also isolating effect of mediated and digital reproduction. The aesthetic of scandal, as seen in how a seemingly innocent selfie raises questions of consent, among others.

"I am truly honored to have been part of this long but fruitful creative process as script consultant, poster designer, and friend. Mahirap gumawa ng poster, mahirap ikuwento ang pelikula sa iisang frame, mahirap balansehin ang paglalako at paghuli ng ubod ng pelikula. Lalong mahirap na pagmukhain itong effortless. Sa panahon ng templates at outsourcing, ang mga designer ay madalas itratong mga kamay lamang, mga alipin sa dikta ng marketing at genre expectations. Sa pelikulang ito, mapalad akong naituring na isang katuwang, na nabigyang halaga at bigat ang poster bilang porma. 

"Sana'y patuloy na makatulong ang mga poster sa paghikayat ng mas marami pa na mapanood ang pelikulang ito."