Eastman Kodak Company Salutes the Cinematography and Student Honorees of the 2008 AICP Show
Kodak hosted a celebration for the cinematographers and students being honored in the 2008 AICP Show: The Art & Technique of the American Commercial on June 2 in New York City. The spots created by these filmmakers have demonstrated a contemporary standard of excellence. The Kodak gathering with industry colleagues and friends fêted their artistry and achievements. The company has sponsored the AICP Show from its earliest days. Kodak Vision Awards were presented to Joaquin Baca-Asay for his work on “How I Fight”/Nike; Frank Budgen and John Mathieson, BSC for their work on “Slots”/Monster.com; and Espen Bjørshol Solberg from the Art Center College of Design for his spec spot “Sync”/Red Bull.
“How I Fight”
Joaquin Baca-Asay grew up in Berkeley, California, and studied filmmaking at New York University. He was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short for Lady in Waiting when he was 22 years old. Baca-Asay worked as a gaffer before moving up to director of photography. His credits include the features Roger Dodger, Super Troopers, Thumbsucker, We Own the Night, and Two Lovers. He has also directed and shot many high-end commercials under the Park Pictures banner, including a Nike Air Max commercial titled “Defy” that took top honors in the 2007 AICP competition.
The Nike “How I Fight” spot is a succession of images of famous South African athletes from arresting angles, often at very high frame rates. The athletes’ movements, combined with inventive framing, depict the visual metaphor of being shot out of a gun, with the idea of sports being an alternative to violence.
“We tried to simplify the world by shooting mostly against black backgrounds,” says Baca-Asay. “We shot high-speed frame rates, often with a single 50K SoftSun light overhead, allowing the background to naturally fall to black. I wanted the bodies to feel mechanical. With this spot and my other current work, it’s all about finding truth and honesty.”
Frank Budgen, John Mathieson, BSC
John Mathieson, BSC
Frank Budgen, who was director and co-cinematographer on the “Slots” spot, is a director and partner at Gorgeous Enterprises. Budgen began his career as a copywriter and creative director at Boase Massimi Pollitt. Since becoming a director, he has won the British Television Advertising Awards Commercial of the Year three times, and the Cannes Grand Prix advertising award twice. He has also won Best Director at the BTA Craft Awards three of the last four years. In 2001, he received the organization’s Presidents Award for outstanding contribution to the industry. The Gunn Report, which tallies the results of all advertising awards worldwide, has listed Budgen in its top twenty every year since its inception in 2000.
John Mathieson, BSC began his career working as an assistant cameraman to Gabriel Beristain, ASC. During the late 1980s, he earned recognition for his inventive work with top directors on commercials and music videos for artists including Madonna, Prince and Massive Attack. His feature film work with director Karim Dridi led to his being named Chevalier by the French government. He received Academy Award® nominations for Gladiator and The Phantom of the Opera. His other feature film credits include Love Is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon, Hannibal, K-PAX, Matchstick Men, Trauma, Kingdom of Heaven and Stoned.
The Monster.com “Slots” spot portrays automatons on their way to work over a dreamy, hypnotic song by The Chemical Brothers. Many workers glide slowly on tracks through a soulless urban landscape, communicating a robotic adherence to daily routine. Through the maze of sleepwalkers, a lone rebel strides purposefully against the tide: the man who used Monster.com to advance his career.
“We found good locations in Buenos Aires,” says Mathieson. “As many as 50 extras were moved through the shots by mechanical effects. The shot that reveals the man walking against the grain was a long lens through a stacked-up foreground. It’s one of those shots that you’ve got in your pocket, and it worked well here.”
Espen Bjørshol Solberg
Art Center College of Design
Espen Bjørshol Solberg
Espen Bjørshol Solberg, grew up in Moss, Norway, where he developed an interest in music, poetry and drawing at an early age. His mother was a stage play director, so Solberg spent a lot of time around rehearsals and performances. He was drawn to the storytelling process. He credits his mother and stepfather, a professor and dean of an art college in Oslo, with giving him the “chance to be self-motivated” to pursue his passion for filmmaking.
Solberg recently graduated from the Art Center College of Design. He created, directed, photographed, and produced the Red Bull spot, which has also earned an Addy Award. In “Sync,” viewers see elderly women performing synchronized swimming tricks in a pool. At the end, it is revealed the swimmers had Red Bull before getting in the water.
“I wanted to go for a contemporary look that emulated Esther Williams and Busby Berkeley,” says Solberg. “I guess you can say that as soon as you point a camera at synchronized swimmers the association to Esther and Busby is impossible to ignore. All the shots have that feeling, but tweaked like a DJ speeding up an old classic song.”