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Syfy’s Newest Competition Series Challenges Set Designers

Ben Mankiewicz hosts a visually stunning season of movie set design competition


Syfy’s Newest Competition Series Challenges Set Designers

Abra Brayman's winning set from a recent episode of "Hot Set," a new show challenging set designers on a weekly basis, airing now on Syfy.

Credit: Isabella Vosmikova/Syfy

From the producers of Syfy’s “Face Off” comes “Hot Set,” a visually stunning new competition series that premiered on September 18 at 10 p.m.

Each week on the series, two Hollywood production designers and their teams compete in an extreme design challenge to create original movie sets inspired by the science fiction, fantasy and horror genres. Each episode is one complete competition, with new production designers introduced each week. The episode’s winning designer will be the one who creates the ultimate movie set that is able to transport the viewer into an immersive world based on creativity, technique and overall presentation.

A Hollywood Legacy
As a member of a time-honored American movie family dynasty, radio and television personality Ben Mankiewicz hosts the series. Ben’s grandfather, Herman Mankiewicz, was an Oscar-winning screenwriter for Citizen Kane and his great-uncle, Joseph Mankiewicz, was the Oscar-Winning writer and director for All About Eve and A Letter to Three Wives.

On “Hot Set,” the contestants will reveal their completed sets and edited film scenes on the show’s sound stage to a panel of judges who are leaders in feature film production design. The judging panel includes three-time Art Director’s Guild Award nominee Curt Beech (The Coup, The Man Who Shook the Hand of Vicente Fernandez); two-time Oscar nominee Lilly Kilvert (The Last Samurai, Legends of the Fall); and Art Director’s Guild Award nominee Barry Robison (X-Men Origins, Wedding Crashers, The Chronicles of Narnia).

Dazzling Challenges for Set Designers
The production designers will each have two team members to help them execute the daunting challenges. In the premiere episode, production designers Abra and Craig had just three days and a budget of $15,000 to conceive and build a film-quality world -- a devastated alien landscape to be explored by a crash-landed astronaut. The designers drew support from their skilled team of carpenters and scenic painters, the expansive Hot Set supply room, and many of the prop and set dressing houses located in Hollywood. In the second episode that aired on September 25, designers Carl Dove and Kim Tolman built a film-ready throne room for a gorgeous but brutal alien queen.

In each week of competition, when time is up, the production designers have 30 minutes to shoot a scene on their original set. In the end, upon review of these scenes as well as of the real-world sets themselves, one production designer is determined to have that week’s “Hot Set” and is awarded a $10,000 prize.

The season’s “Hot Set” constants will include the following respected designers:

  • Greg Arnowitz, 42: Bayonne, New Jersey; resides in Los Angeles, CA
  • Carlos Osorio, 40: Garzon, Columbia; resides in Los Angeles, CA
  • Abra Brayman, 38: San Francisco, CA; resides in Los Angeles, CA
  • Craig Pavilionis, 48: Ashland, Oregon; resides in Los Angeles, CA
  • Charlotte Newman, 36: Auckland, New Zealand
  • Roger Ambrose, 56: San Gabriel, CA and San Diego, CA; resides in Orange, CA
  • Thomas Brown, 58: Atlanta, Georgia; resides in Van Nuys, CA
  • Brandy Alexander, 56: New York, NY; resides in Beverly Hills, CA
  • Carol Clements, 61: Los Angeles, CA; resides in Glendale, CA
  • Tudor Boloni, 36: Queens, New York; resides in Los Angeles, CA

“Hot Set” is a production of Mission Control Media with Dwight D. Smith and Michael Agbabian serving as executive producers along with Aliyah Silverstein.

About Syfy
Syfy is a media destination for imagination-based entertainment. With year-round acclaimed original series, events, blockbuster movies, classic science fiction and fantasy programming, a dynamic Web site (www.Syfy.com), and a portfolio of adjacent business (Syfy Ventures), Syfy is a passport to limitless possibilities.

Originally launched in 1992 as SCI FI Channel, and currently in more than 98 million homes, Syfy is a network of NBCUniversal, one of the world's leading media and entertainment companies.

To meet the "Hot Set" participants, visit www.syfy.com/hotset.

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