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Look, Flow & Legacy

Cinematographer Sherri Kauk and director Nicholaus Goossen discuss making the independent crime comedy Drugstore June.

Directed and co-written by Nicholaus Goossen, Drugstore June follows the vigilante detective-work of a self-obsessed social-media influencer, the eponymous June (played by co-writer Esther Povitsky), in the wake of the robbery of a small-town pharmacy. Goossen partnered with cinematographer Sherri Kauk for the production, which was shot in a tight 19-day schedule with Panavision E Series anamorphic lenses. Here, Kauk and Goossen shine a light on their collaboration and their expert crew.

Sherri Kauk: There is a look and there is a flow — as well as a legacy — to filming with Panavision that Nicholaus and I wanted for Drugstore June. Our first conversations with Rik DeLisle at Panavision Hollywood about building a camera package around the E Series developed into a lens and camera test with Guy McVicker. We tested additional lens options to fill out the wide end of our E Series set and cover the full-frame sensors of the Mini LF and Venice cameras in anamorphic 2.39 mode.

With our camera package locked and our shoot date approaching, Guy pulled Auto Pantars off the shelf, modifying them to provide us matching wide and inner-connecting focal lengths of 40mm and 85mm. On set, everyone fell in love with the 135mm close-ups, and we used an extender with the 180mm for our B-camera days and extreme close-up specialty shots.

Nicholaus Goossen: Sherri and the camera team were excellent. I believe since we all had a tremendous amount of respect for the legacy of the glass, along with the technical proficiency of our first and second ACs, Emily Lazlo and Ruoyu Zhang [respectively], we were rewarded with great imagery. Kudos to our Steadicam operator, Aline Ballestero, for flying the longer lenses from this set during extended takes and staying rock solid.

Kauk: You can tell a big story — chasing down getaway cars, solving a crime spree and resolving a love story — with six prime lenses and a beast of a crew led by 1st AC Emily Lazlo, supported by 2nd AC Ruoyu Zhang and augmented with Steadicam op Aline Ballestero. With key grip Mark Beckerman multiplying himself as rigging and dolly grip, we were able to move and rig our camera to experience our scenes from just the right angle and tempo. Gaffer Armando Ballesteros is a gem — he stays ahead of the flow because he knows focal lengths and f-stops and is my set of eyes and ears at video village when I am operating A camera.

This was my third project as DP with Panavision. Whether I am shooting out of Panavision Hollywood, Woodland Hills or Chicago, Panavision is the rental house to partner with because of the look, flow and legacy. I feel it, too, having held the same glass and called for the same lens that's been on the sets of Linus Sandgren [ASC, FSF], Hoyte van Hoytema [ASC, FSF, NSC], Robert Richardson [ASC], Darius Khondji [ASC, AFC], Wally Pfister [ASC] and more.

Goossen: Panavision, in my opinion, is the gold standard, as so many of the films that inspired me as a kid were made with their cameras and optics. In an attempt to get some of that cinematic magic to rub off on our movie, we were determined to use their legendary anamorphic lenses. Having been fortunate enough to previously work with Panavision on a few music videos and television projects, I also knew we’d be supported by a top-notch team who’d help us put together the best package we possibly could. We were thrilled that our brief shooting window lined up with an opportunity to work with the E Series anamorphics — boy, are they beautiful!

Photos by Nicholas Jaicomo and Ruoyo Zhang.

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