Anyone obsessed with film title design will recognize the name Pablo Ferro. The artist disrupted conventions starting with Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove, where Ferro famously dwarfed all the leading cast and production names by making the “and”s, “with”s, and “the”s extra prominent.
His titling, crudely handwritten in both elongated and condensed letters, stood apart from the rest of the field. Ferro (b. 1935) went on to design titles for influential works including The Thomas Crown Affair; The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming; Harold and Maude; and Bound For Glory. He also reprised his Strangelove letters for Men in Black and Stop Making Sense. Using his inventive, fast-cut editing technique, the former comics artist and animator also created countless TV commercials, movie trailers, directed his own shorts and a feature length film, Me, Myself and I, with George Segal and Jo Beth Williams.
Now in Pablo, a documentary by Richard Goldgewicht available on DVD/on demand and coming to theaters soon, he gets his own time on screen.
Goldgewicht met Ferro while interviewing him for a segment of a TV pilot on independent cinema. “The pilot never aired, but the segment, which was about seven minutes, got a lot of good feedback, and the producers started presenting it as a short film in a couple festivals and showcases,” he told me. “From there on I felt like it would be a great opportunity to make a whole film on Pablo, not just featuring his works but looking into his whole life, which I quickly realized was full of interesting contradictions and artistic turns.”