Photo: Electric City Entertainment
When Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck – the pair that made waves with their first feature Half Nelson in 2006 – approached cinematographer Andrij Parekh with the script for Mississippi Grind, he was instantly drawn to the material. And as it was to be their fourth collaboration, the trio were on the same page when it came to the look.
“They showed me a lot of 1970s films,” says Parekh, an NYU Tisch graduate. “From that, the inspiration for Mississippi Grind was clear. They were attracted to Robert Altman films like California Split, John Schlesinger’s Midnight Cowboy, and Wim Wenders’ Paris, Texas. All films I love. That’s the style and feeling we tried to give to this film – long, slow zooms mixed with handheld.”
Maksim Emelyanov plays Koila in The Search (photo @Wild Bunch)
Guillaume Schiffman’s pitch-perfect black-and-white cinematography on The Artist brought him BAFTA, BSC and IFP Spirit Awards, as well as OSCAR® and ASC Award nominations in 2012. The Artist, which Schiffman called “a souvenir of the films of the 1920s,” brought home five OSCARS®, including Best Picture and Best Director for Michel Hazanavicius.
But when Schiffman and Hazanavicius reteamed for The Search, they knew a completely different approach was in order.
Director Gavin O'Connor and Mandy Walker, ASC, ACS
In Jane Got a Gun, a woman must turn to her former fiancé for help in defending her new family. The film, which stars Natalie Portman and Ewan MacGregor, gave Mandy Walker, ASC, ACS an opportunity to work in the Western genre, something many cinematographers dream of doing.
“There’s something unique and iconic about cowboys riding horses across the landscape, or tracking low angle on people confronting each other in a cowboy hat with a couple of guns,” she says. “I think all DPs would love to tackle the genre at some stage.”
(r-l) Beck Bennett and Reid Scott
Actor and fine art photographer Chris Lowell was well aware that a young man struggling with the death of his parents could be considered a filmic trope, particularly in the low-budget realm of movies. So, for his feature film directing debut, Beside Still Waters, which won Best Narrative Feature at the 2013 Austin Film Festival, he sought to elevate it above the usual fare by shooting on KODAK Motion Picture Film, going so far as to have the aesthetic of celluloid imbue his main character in the ensemble comedy-drama with a sense of longing.
“Our protagonist is woefully nostalgic and stuck in the romanticism of the past, and it is holding him back,” Lowell explains. “Film was able to evoke those feelings for us.”
(L-R) Jyoti Amge as Ma Petite, Naomi Grossman as Pepper. CR: Michele K. Short/FX
For the better part of a decade now, Ryan Murphy has been innovating the way audiences look at small screen entertainment. As the creator of shows like Popular, Nip/Tuck, Glee,and The New Normal, Murphy has established a distinctive brand of filmmaking that’s faster, louder, and more attention-grabbing than its television contemporaries, and one that puts compelling visuals on par with addictive storylines. Case in point: American Horror Story, Murphy’s television show/miniseries hybrid that plays more like a horror anthology with a new theme each season. In season one it was Murder House, which was followed by Asylum and Coven. And this fall, Freak Show premiered with what Murphy describes as “the most terrifying clown of all time.”
Michael Goi, ASC, ISC has been there since nearly the beginning, shooting the second half of American Horror Story’s first season after first collaborating with Murphy on Glee. “American Horror Story had a visual style and approach for season one that was already established by the time I came on to it,” says Goi. “I didn’t make a lot of alterations to it, but in the last two or three episodes I started to veer in the direction that I felt like the material was taking me, and some of that approach is what’s reflected in season two, Asylum, where you’re dealing with an atmosphere that was very crazed. And I think the camerawork and the lighting reflected that a lot.”