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Far From Home

Writer-director Ekwa Msangi and cinematographer Bruce Francis Cole detail the visual language of Farewell Amor.

Writer-director Ekwa Msangi’s debut feature Farewell Amor premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2020 and was released in December by IFC Films. Msangi describes the intervening months as “a roller coaster,” marked as they were by a global pandemic, social unrest and political turmoil.

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The Big Picture

Director Robert Connolly and cinematographer Stefan Duscio discuss crafting the Australian box-office sensation The Dry with DXL2.

Based on the novel by Jane Harper, the feature The Dry stars Eric Bana as Aaron Falk, an Australian Federal Police agent who returns to his rural hometown following an apparent murder-suicide involving an erstwhile friend. As he’s pulled into the investigation, connections emerge to another mystery from Falk’s and the town’s past, and old wounds open anew.

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A Question of Strength

Cinematographer Justin Derry embraces 35mm film and Ultra Speed optics for the short film Bruiser.

Directed and co-written by Miles Warren, the short film Bruiser offers a portrait of the young Darious (Noble B. Whitted), who begins to test the limitations of his own physical strength after witnessing his father (J.D. Williams) get into a fight. Behind the scenes, Warren teamed with cinematographer Justin Derry, who also served as an executive producer on the project. The filmmakers shot on 35mm negative with a Panaflex XL and Panavision Ultra Speed lenses.

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Sundance 2021

The artists behind a number of this year’s Sundance Film Festival titles offer a look behind the scenes at their creative processes.

Each January, the Sundance Film Festival brings throngs of filmmakers and cineastes from far and wide to the wintry climes of Park City, Utah, for packed screenings and round-the-clock events. But not this year. With the Covid-19 pandemic ongoing, the festival’s 2021 edition offered a decidedly different seven-day experience tailored to the times, with predominantly online viewing complemented by satellite screens peppered across the U.S.

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The Witching Hours

Cinematographer Hillary Spera takes Panavision behind the scenes of the features Run and The Craft: Legacy.

The recent features Run and The Craft: Legacy bear a number of similarities. Chief among them: Both were shot by cinematographer Hillary Spera. Each story also exists in the realm of horror-thrillers, and each involves a mother-daughter relationship that turns out to be something other than what’s originally believed. “In both cases, I would say it’s a very strong bond between the mother and daughter,” Spera notes. “In both movies, they really love each other and are working to define their relationship.”

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Holiday Adventure

Don Burgess, ASC and Light Iron’s Corinne Bogdanowicz reteam for The Christmas Chronicles: Part Two and discuss their longtime collaboration in the panel discussion “Cinematography From Set to Screen.”

Continuing the story of “true believer” Kate Pierce (Darby Camp) and her family — and shining a broader light on the goings-on at the North Pole that had previously been glimpsed in 2018’s The Christmas Chronicles — the Netflix holiday feature The Christmas Chronicles: Part Two found cinematographer Don Burgess, ASC reteaming with Light Iron senior DI colorist Corinne Bogdanowicz. “Don and Corinne worked at such a meticulous level to bring our photographic vision to The Christmas Chronicles: Part Two,” says director Chris Columbus. “Corinne is the most precise, fast and best colorist I’ve ever worked with. Together, Don and Corinne have worked closely with me to create a holiday world that’s warm, magical and inviting.”

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Beacons of Hope

Director Julia Swain, cinematographer Teodora Totoiu, and colorist Corinne Bogdanowicz shine a light on the documentary Lady Cameraman’s journey to the screen.

“Cinematography has truly saved my life,” director of photography Julia Swain says in the opening minutes of the documentary Lady Cameraman. Directed by Swain, the movie charts her journey to find and connect with other women who are working in her chosen and beloved profession — a career, she notes in her narration, that has helped her navigate overwhelming personal tribulations. The resulting documentary features archival material as well as more than 20 new interviews with such cinematographers as Anette Haellmigk, Autumn Durald, Cybel Martin, and ASC members including Natasha Braier, Reed Morano, Amy Vincent and Joan Churchill — the latter of whom shares a story about her union card that provides the documentary’s title — as well as Local 600 national executive director Rebecca Rhine, Marvel Studios’ executive vice president of production Victoria Alonso, and others. In presenting their stories, the documentary showcases powerful examples of women overcoming the motion-picture industry’s barriers to entry, offering a vision of hope that Swain describes as “a love letter to young cinematographers.”

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A Mouse’s Tale

Don Burgess, ASC reteams with director Robert Zemeckis to adapt The Witches, Roald Dahl’s magical tale of tragedy and triumph.

Based on the book by Roald Dahl and now streaming on HBO Max, The Witches tells the story of a young boy (Jahzir Bruno) who goes to live with his grandmother (Octavia Spencer) in 1968 Alabama after having lost both of his parents in a car accident. Just as Grandma seems to be succeeding in bringing the Boy out of his shell, his world is rocked again by the revelation that a real-life witch is in town and poses a grave threat. Hoping to let the danger pass, Grandma and the Boy sneak away to a ritzy hotel, but as fate would have it, an entire coven of witches, led by the Grand High Witch (Anne Hathaway), has gathered at the same setting, where they hatch a plot to turn all the children of the world into mice.

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