Scene from Ram Leela. Photo courtesy of Ravi Varman.
Ram Leela is a Hindi drama based on the classic tale of William Shakespeare’s “Romeo & Juliet.” The script called for a subdued and hidden violent mood, but with romantic overtones. Cinematographer Ravi Varman felt that look could only be achieved using motion picture film.
“This was a particularly challenging job,” notes Varman, whose 27 features include the renowned Barfi. “As always, my goal is to capture the mood of the film and enhance it through colors, light and darkness.”
Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) shows Disneyland to Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson). (Photo: François Duhamel) © Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.
When John Lee Hancock called about Saving Mr. Banks, John Schwartzman, ASC leapt at the opportunity. Although the film’s budget paled in comparison to Schwartzman’s previous assignment, The Amazing Spider-Man, it was a chance to shift gears and work on an adult drama with an old friend. “We’re very proud of the film,” says Schwartzman. “It’s a very small movie, but the story is compelling, and I think it’s some of my best work.”
The story is based on the fraught, real-life relationship between Walt Disney (played by Tom Hanks) and P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson), the Australian novelist who wrote the source material for what eventually became Mary Poppins. The story follows Disney as he cajoles and persuades the difficult Travers through a long and arduous creative process. The time period ranges from 1906 Australia to the 1961 opening of Disneyland in Orange County, California, and the Hollywood premiere of Mary Poppins in 1964. That film won five ACADEMY AWARDS® and earned an additional eight nominations, still a record for a Disney film. Mary Poppins also helped lay the groundwork for Disney’s long-term success in live-action filmmaking.
(l-r) Georgia King, James Callis, Jennifer Coolidge, Bret McKenzie and Keri Russell. (Photos by Giles Keyte, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics).
Larry Smith, BSC teamed with Jerusha Hess for her directorial feature debut Austenland. The film, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, is a romantic comedy about a single, 30- something woman obsessed with all things Jane Austen.
Keri Russell stars as Jane Haynes, whose love life is being ruined by Mr. Darcy — played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice — as no real man can compare. Haynes decides to spend her life savings on a trip to an English resort that caters to Austen fanatics, and her fantasies of meeting the perfect Regency-era gentleman suddenly become more real than she ever could have imagined.
The Good Road, from director Gyan Correa and cinematographer Amitabha Singh, was recently named the National Award Winner 2013 for Best Feature Film in Gujarati language at the 60th National Film Awards ceremony of the Directorate of Film Festivals. The award honors the best in Indian cinema. The film was produced by NFDC (National Film Development Corporation).
The film is a modern Gujarati story about three sets of people travelling on a highway, cutting through the Banni, bordering the Rann in Kachchh. Each on a journey to achieve their individual pursuits, but over a 24 hour period, the travelers discover something altogether different and unexpected about their lives.
Scene from Ephraim’s Rescue © Remember Films/used by permission
T.C. Christensen, ASC has made close to 40 feature films and countless shorts and documentaries over the last four decades. The cinematographer-director has been following his passion for filmmaking since high school, when he started shooting with a 16mm Bolex camera, and fostered that ambition with an “opportunity meets preparation” attitude.
Most recently, Christensen finished a labor of love called Ephraim’s Rescue, which tells the true story of Ephraim Hanks, who like most teenage boys, only cares about himself, but finds his way in life, and eventually provides relief and rescue to the suffering Martin Handcart Company pioneers who were caught in Wyoming’s early winter storms in the fall of 1856.