If you’ve been browsing iTunes at all over the past week you would have already spotted Into the Bottle’s bold spot at #1 documentary since its surprise early release in the US and Canada (now available worldwide).
And it’s not just for any reason, either; the follow-up “prequel”, if you will, to Jason Wise’s first SOMM film is different this time around, covering the history of wine since its first documented proof of existence in 400 BC all the way up to today’s modern wine world aka “The New World” where there are sommeliers, Wine Spectator, and people pairing really expensive wine with hotdogs.
But there’s something that made Into the Bottle come to life that wasn’t in the first SOMM film, and that’s the gorgeous animations and illustrations done by none other than Wise’s younger brother, Brandon Lee Wise.
Leading up to the release of the movie over the past year or so, Brandon’s art has been featured all over Instagram and the Internet, really gaining some attention for what might be the newest and coolest paradigm shift of art ever: wine!
It might have been an accident, fate, destiny, whatever you want to call it—but Brandon, who has been an artist his entire life, wasn’t always doodling animated vines and wine bottles 24/7.
A former dog groomer who was running a salon in Colorado working 60+ hours a week just trying to make it, he would be lucky enough to maybe get some skate time in. Meanwhile, Jason was developing Into the Bottle and had a vision for his brother’s art that was a simultaneous creative way to split the movie into “digestible” chapters (there are 10 throughout the whole movie).
I was lucky enough to chat a bit with Brandon before writing this, and he told me as an artist, “you’re delusional as f*ck,” but he took a chance, quit his job, and devoted 100% in producing art for the movie thanks to the endless support of his family—including his wondrous and proud mother and girlfriend who I hope are reading this—that helped him along the way. Not to mention an earlier generation of influence, Brandon’s grandfather, who was also an artist and had a definite lifelong impact on his work.
As you could have guessed, the sacrifice paid off. Now an experience Brandon says still feels surreal has lead him to fulfill his lifelong dreams, with this being only the beginning of what is to come from his stuff; he has forthcoming featured drawings working with GuildSomm and more for Jason’s future films, including a documentary about sea urchins (which: awesome!).
Into the Bottle features a lot of the same people as SOMM (YES, Ian is back, and he’s still hilarious) with some fresh sommelier faces whose commentary is well-timed and often comical for a lighthearted touch to a fascinating film covering the wunderbar world of wine. There’s footage of anywhere from the dark years of prohibition all the way to the recent 2014 Napa Valley Earthquake—with Brandon’s art helping tell the story elegantly along the way.
It’s the bee’s knees!