Sundance 2016: Cameraperson – a film by Kirsten Johnson

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Headed to Sundance this year? Make sure to check out Kirsten Johnson’s CAMERAPERSON. It’s screening once a day from the 26th through the 29th, and as I type, there is only one screening left with non-waitlist tickets available. GIT IT!

This film is a doc about shooting docs. As a cameraperson. Some of her credits include work in last year’s Oscar-winning Citizenfour, The Invisible War, Asylum and Fahrenheit 9/11, and Happy Valley among others.

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From Sundance’s catalogue:

 “As a visually radical memoir, Cameraperson draws on the remarkable footage that Johnson has shot and reframes it in ways that illuminate moments and situations that have personally affected her. What emerges is an elegant meditation on the relationship between truth and the camera frame, as Johnson transforms scenes that have been presented on Festival screens as one kind of truth into another kind of story—one about personal journey, craft, and direct human connection.”

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I first read about Johnson in The Art of the Documentary, where I learned that she is an American who up and moved to Senegal to learn French and shoot things, subsequently moving to France and attending La Femis, the French National Film School, earning a degree in Cinematography. Oh, and then shot Derrida, which is a whole other level of nerd-cool.

She then went on to make and collaborate on dozens of award-winning independent docs and narrative projects that win Oscars and prizes at Sundance and generally make the rest of us feel like we do nothing with our lives.

Also, she’s a woman, (what?!) which is extra-cool knowing that she’s been crushing since the women:men ratio behind the camera was even more extreme than it is today.

To Kirsten Johnson, Kudos! And to you, dear readers, check out Cameraperson, either at Sundance or later this year in a theater near you.

And if you do, we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Shot on EPIC DRAGON: Diary of a Teenage Girl

The celebrated Sundance darling, Diary of a Teenage Girl hits theaters this weekend – directed by Marielle Heller and shot by Brandon Trost on RED EPIC paired with the gorgeous PANAVISION C-SERIES & G-SERIES ANAMORPHICS.

Trost took home the US Drama – Special Jury Award for Cinematography at Sundance this year. Set in 1970’s San Francisco and based on Phoebe Gloeckner‘s graphic novel of the same name, Diary of a Teenage Girl is a change of pace for Trost, who has recently lensed such big-budget comedies as The Interview, Neighbors and This is the End.

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Minnie’s narration of her own life – her “all-consuming thoughts about sex and men” is anything but precious, and appropriately swings between heartache and puppy love with plenty of sexual adventures in between. Sara Gunnarsdóttir ‘s animation – in the style of Gloeckner’s original graphic novel – intermittently appears, layered over Trost’s photography. The rough, child-like drawings of her very adult thoughts playfully interact with the original image – a novel and charming presentation of that awkward in-betweenness that is teenagehood.

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Diary of a Teenage Girl stars Bel Powley as MinnieAlexander Skarsgaard (who showed up in drag to the premiere), Kristen Wiig & Chris Meloni. It opens this weekend in LA and New York.

 

Shot on EPIC M-X: “Fishing Without Nets” Released Online

20th Century Fox has released Fishing Without Nets, which first premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, online on all major digital platforms, including  iTunes, Google Play and Amazon

Shot by 3GR Featured Filmmaker Alex Diesnhof on RED Epic + RED Scarlet w/ Zeiss Super Speeds and Angenieux Optimo DP Zooms. Read more about how Alex shot the film on IndieWire.

Shot on EPIC M-X: Disenhof talks “Fishing Without Nets”

Fishing Without Nets

Fishing Without Nets has played at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival to rave reviews (Variety, Hollywood Reporter, Grantland). The film was shot by 3GR featured-filmmaker Alex Disenhof on RED Epic + RED Scarlet w/ Angenieux Optimo DP Zooms and Zeiss Super Speeds. Disenhof discussed the filming process with IndieWire as part of the “How I Shot That” series.

Which camera and lens did you use? We used the Red Epic and Red Scarlett cameras with Zeiss Super Speeds and Angenieux Optimo DP 16-42mm, and 30-80mm zooms.

What was the most difficult shot in your movie, and how did you pull it off? We had many difficult shots, as we often did ten minute long handheld takes looking 360 degrees. Possibly the most difficult of all was shooting handheld on a rickety wooden boat deep out at sea. I had to follow several ‘pirates’ as they grabbed their weapons and jumped overboard into small skiffs. We were almost 30 miles out in a very rough Indian Ocean, so it was extremely difficult to stay upright, especially with a camera on my shoulder. I was able to get all the angles I needed, bouncing off my gaffer and key grip as they pushed me one way and another to keep me on my feet as the boat swayed heavily from side to side. Additionally, my key grip had a body harness attached to me and tied me to the mast of the ship so that I wouldn’t fall overboard! It was like shooting on a roller-coaster that never stopped!

Who is your favorite cinematographer, and why? I have so many! If I had to name one, recently, I’ve really enjoyed the work of Sean Bobbitt, BSC. His handheld camerawork and simple, straightforward approach to lighting is something I really admire. Every movie he does is an immersive, textured and energetic visual experience.

What’s the best film school for an aspiring cinematographer? Working on set is the best film school! I went to Emerson College and thoroughly enjoyed my experience there, but the best way to learn cinematography is to shoot and watch other cinematographers shoot. Have an open mind, don’t be afraid to admit you don’t know something and always try something new.

Do you think the shift from digital is good or bad? I think the shift from film to digital isn’t good or bad – it just is what it is, and it isn’t going to stop. I’ll use either when it is appropriate, and I enjoy shooting both for very different reasons. I think digital is a great tool, and should be treated as that – another tool in a filmmaker’s tool belt.

What advice do you have for cinematographers who want to get to Sundance? Seek out projects you believe in and find good collaborators. I wouldn’t be at Sundance if it weren’t for the people I worked with to make this project happen!

What’s the best career advice you received? First and foremost: it’s not a race. Enjoy the whole journey and be proud of yourself even when things aren’t going your way. Not everybody has the courage to follow their dreams.

Shot on EPIC M-X: The Raid 2

Directed by Gareth Evans. Shot by DPs Matt Flannery and Dimas Imam Subhono on RED Epic.

The Raid 2 is slated to premiere at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.

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