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Ottawa designer wins at South by Southwest Festival

Chris Moberg created book trailer, telling story of friend's new novel.

Jared Young and Chris Moberg in their Ottawa office. Mober designed a book trailer for Young's new novel and the trailer won an award last week at South by Southwest.

Ryan Tumilty / Metro

Jared Young and Chris Moberg in their Ottawa office. Mober designed a book trailer for Young's new novel and the trailer won an award last week at South by Southwest.

An Ottawa designer beat out some industry heavyweights at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin Texas last week, with a book trailer that garnered rave reviews.

Chris Moberg designed the trailer for Jared Young’s new novel “Into the Current” and submitted it to the arts festival almost on a lark, when he saw that it had a low entry fee.

“I thought what’s the worst that could happen. I don’t get my $20 back?” He won the Excellence in Title Design category for the trailer, beating out the title designs for Netflix’s shows like the Crown and Stranger Things. Moberg said he was stunned when their name was called.

“There is tremendous talent in this category and for us to win was a big surprise.” He worked on the project on weekend and evenings and Moberg said it was an opportunity to learn new things.

“It was two and half to three months of evenings and weekends,” he said. “This being a passion project I wanted to take something away from it, which was learning some new techniques.”

The book tells the story of a man who suddenly finds himself in a plan crash, tumbling from the sky. The trailer features images of a plane, a shoe and a row of seats all falling, which Moberg said he had to source and integrate into the design.

Young, who works with Moberg at Ottawa’s McMillian advertising agency, said writing a book is a solitary endeavor and even when he is done he doesn’t connect with the audience the same way an actor or musician might.

“You never get to sit back and watch the audience experience what you have made.” He said this trailer was one way to deal with that, while also being a new way to promote books.

“I always had this idea in my head that book promotion is not a very sexy business and what would be a cool way to bring some energy to this thing that feels a little bit staid and laid back.”

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