Tuesday, January 30, 2018

A Celebration of Harry Potter 2018 Commemorates 20 Years of Magic

A Celebration of Harry Potter 2018 Event at Universal Orlando Resort
The magic of Harry Potter lived on at A Celebration of Harry Potter in Orlando, Florida, a special gathering for thousands of fans devoted to the franchise. The three-day weekend event kicked off with an open ceremony of what attendees could expect from franchise participants including Scholastic, Warner Bros Studios Tour London, Harry Potter The Exhibition, and MinaLima.

The first evening was capped off with a live concert by the Orlando Philaharmonic Orchestra and a new light show at Hogwarts. Throughout the weekend, cast members from the movies were on-hand for question and answer sessions, cosplayers made costumes and props come to life, and expos put the wonder of the books and movies on display.

But this was just the start. As tradition for the past few years, it's been my humble honor to be able to attend A Celebration of Harry Potter. After just coming off an eventful year for Harry Potter in 2017, the start of the new year got off to a fantastic start with meeting creators from the books and films, seeing beautiful costumes, and learning technical marvels behind the movies.

Scholastic A Celebration of Harry Potter event
Scholastic was on hand with illustrator Brian Selznick to celebrate the upcoming anniversary of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Selznick is currently illustrating the covers for the new set to be released in summer 2018. I had the pleasure of meeting him and getting his autograph. Dressed in my Harry Potter cosplay, he held up the autographed concept art and said, "I got every detail right."

Scholastic What Does Harry Potter Mean To You
At their booth, Scholastic invites fans to express themselves and write about what Harry Potter means to them. These are two of so many encouraging and inspiring notes that were shared by fans. My own note was in the vein of Dumbledore's famous quote "Let us step into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure."
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone lifesize cover
Scholastic had a life-sized version of the book's initial cover by Mary GrandPre. I call this one "Harry Potter and the Failed Pose". But at least, I tried, and this cover gave me cosplay inspiration. Happy Birthday Sorcerer's Stone!
Harry Potter The Exhibition Costumes Universal Orlando Resort
Harry Potter: The Exhibition has been touring the world with costumes and props from the film franchise. Their latest stop in Madrid, Spain is about to end, and the showcase announced that their next location will be Milan, Italy. Considering that Harry's journey on the Hogwarts Express takes him from the Muggle world to the wizarding world, it's fitting that the next display will be featured in an renovated train station. 
Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them Costume Exhibition
Seraphina Picquery, Queenie Goldstein, Tina Goldstein
Three dresses by Colleen Atwood from Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them were also on display. Her work on the film earned the entire Harry Potter series its first-ever Academy Award. 
Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them Costume Exhibition
Close up of Tina and Queenie (left)
Bellatrix Lestrange and Lucius Malfoy (right)
Behind the trio of costumes from Fantastic Beasts, more were on display on a catwalk fans could walk across and see the detail up-close. Bellatrix's black dress throughout the films stood next to Lucius's black and brown cape with fur.
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince film costumes exhibition
Fred and George Weasley (left)
Ginny Weasley and Luna Lovegood (Right)
Across the catwalk were costumes from the sixth and seventh films. From Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince were Fred and George's suits worn by James and Oliver Phelps, and Luna's silvery dress worn during Slughorn's dinner party. From Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 was Ginny's bridesmaid outfit from Fleur and Bill's wedding.
Costume designer Jany Temime
Costume designer Jany Temime, who created the looks behind six of the eight films, attended A Celebration of Harry Potter. She held panels about the magical costumes from the series. I didn't expect to see her in person at the exhibition, but here we are! Victor Krum's Yule Ball attire from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Nymphadora Tonk's battle garb for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix were on display her autograph session.
MinaLima A Celebration of Harry Potter event
A corner of the first expo lit with a bold, colorful display that could only be conjured by the talented minds of: MinaLima, the graphic designers behind the film franchise. The Maurader's Map? The Daily Prophet? The Howler? They imagined nearly aspect of the wizarding world, and every year they bring the same magic come to life. This year the theme celebrated their exclusive Weasleys Wizard Wheezes artwork for the celbration and the House of MinaLima where fans can see their work in person.
MinaLima A Celebration of Harry Potter event
MinaLima Graphic Design for Harry Potter

Harry Potter Cosplay Hagrid Arthur Weasley
A Celebration of Harry Potter brings all kinds of fans together, especially cosplayers. It's one of the most creative and imaginative experiences to Potter-watch Potterheads and see who comes up with what. These are just two that I found but there are plenty more where these come from.
Bonnie Wright A Celebration of Harry Potter Universal Orlando
A Celebration of Harry Potter offers a wide variety of panels from wand battle choreography and special effects designers. Cast members from the seven films also participates in question and answer sessions with the fans. This year's list of actors included Stanislav Yanevski (Viktor Krum), Natalia Tena (Nymphadora Tonks), James Phelps (Fred Weasley), Oliver Phelps (George Weasley), Bonnie Wright (Ginny Weasley). We learned some wonderful tidbits from their experiences on the films or where their characters would be now.

If their characters were arrested and taken to Azkaban, what would their crime be to get them in trouble? 
Stanislav thought Krum would be arrested for killing Ron to try to be with Hermione. Natalia suggested Nymphadora would likely get arrested for speeding while flying. James surmised Fred's snacks that make people nauseous would get him in trouble. Oliver shared that other people have said his singing should put him in prison. Bonnie described that after seeing I, Tonya, she thinks Ginny would end up getting arrested for maybe jokingly suggesting to Harry that they take out another member of the Holyhead Harpies, and he would take it too far and they would get in trouble.
Oliver and James Phelps  A Celebration of Harry Potter Universal Orlando
If you could give your characters an alternative future, what would they be doing now?
Stanislav thought Krum should get a statue that students could admire and worship. Natalia said it would be nice if Nymphadora was alive and raising her and Remus's kid. James suggested the Weasleys Wizard Wheezes would be like a 7/11, one on every street corner, where George would be the security master of the stores. And Bonnie thought Ginny ended up pretty well in her life, married to Harry and an amazing Quidditch player.
Natalia Tena  A Celebration of Harry Potter Universal Orlando
What word would they use to describe the Harry Potter experience for them?

Stanislav described his word would be love because of the passion from the fans. Natalia couldn't come up with a specific word so just described her feelings as "Weeeeeeee!!!!!". James was the first to say 'wicked', which was going to be Oliver's word, so he chose 'amazing'. Bonnie said the scope of how big the wizarding world from the books to the movie and theme parks, and the amount of heart the fans have, her word would be 'epic'.

Those are pretty good ways to describe A Celebration of Harry Potter. More cover of the panels and expo are coming up. Stay tuned!

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