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2008 / 02 - February Issue of American Cinematographer

I Am Legend
Andrew Lesnie, ASC, ACS was behind the camera on this epic big-screen adaptation of Richard Matheson’s celebrated science-fiction novel, which has previously been brought to the screen in 1964 (The Last Man on Earth) and 1971 (The Omega Man). This latest retelling revisits the frightening saga of scientist Robert Neville (Will Smith), who may be the last human survivor of a plague that has turned the population into vampiric creatures who torment him after nightfall. Lesnie details his collaboration with director Francis Lawrence (Constantine) and discuss the challenges of creating the film’s ambitious, post-apocalyptic settings and landscapes.

Cloverfield
Michael Bonvillain, ASC helped director Matt Reeves try a new take on the monster movie with this scary vision of New York City under siege. The duo brought intriguing creative strategies to the time-honored terrors of a “hideous creature run amok”: there is no traditional scene coverage, no score, and the entire story unfolds over the course of 7 or 8 hours. Working on a short schedule of 33 days (with just 3 days of additional shooting), the filmmakers shot most of the picture with Panasonic’s AG-HVX200 “prosumer” HD camcorder to lend a documentary-like realism to the fantastic events onscreen. Scenes involving visual effects were shot with either a Thomson Viper or Sony’s new F23 CineAlta 24P camera, and a few sequences were even captured with a consumer-grade Panasonic camcorder. Bonvillain gives a full rundown of his approach to AC assistant editor Jon D. Witmer.

ASC International Award
The accomplished career of cinematographer Walter Lassally, BSC reached its peak on January 26, when he receive the ASC International Award during the Society’s annual Outstanding Achievement Awards gala, That Was held in the Grand Ballroom of the Hollywood and Highland complex. This prestigious award is reserved for foreign-born cinematographers who have made an enduring contribution to their art form.
        Former AC editor David Heuring details Lassally’s accomplishments, which spanned 50 years and took him to all corners of the globe. Lassally was a main player in the evolution of the Free Cinema and British New Wave movements in collaboration with Tony Richardson, Karel Reisz, Lindsay Anderson and other directors. He compiled more than 50 feature film credits, including Zorba the Greek, for which he earned a 1965 Academy Award for Best Cinematography. Other notable titles on his résumé include A Taste of Honey, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, Tom Jones, Autobiography of a Princess, Heat and Dust and The Bostonians. His cinematography on the latter two pictures earned him BAFTA and British Society of Cinematographers nominations, respectively.

ASC Presidents Award
A true practitioner of movie magic, visual-effects expert Richard Edlund, ASC, Has receive this prestigious honor, which celebrates exceptional contributions to the art and craft of cinema. Ron Magid offer an overview of Edlund’s many stellar accomplishments, which include four Academy Awards for his effects work on Star Wars (1977), The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) and Return of the Jedi (1984), and six additional nominations for Poltergeist, 2010, Ghostbusters, Poltergeist II: The Other Side, Die Hard and Alien3. He has also earned three Scientific and Engineering Awards. Earlier this year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presented Edlund with the coveted John A. Bonner Medal of Commendation in recognition of his significant contributions to the Academy. Edlund has also earned an Emmy for creating visual effects for the original television miniseries Battlestar Galactica (1978), and an additional nomination for Mike Nichols’ Angels in America (2003). He has created seamless visual effects for such memorable films as Fright Night, Solarbabies, Ghost, Species, Multiplicity and Air Force One.

The February issue's departments will also offer illuminating insights:

Short Takes offers an interview with filmmakers Carolyn and Andy London about their work on the short film A Letter From Colleen.

Production Slate offers an interview with cinematographer Oleg Mutu about his work on the film 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, which won the Palme d’Or at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival and the FIPRESCI Film of the Year award at the San Sebastián Film Festival. This section also presents a piece on Dick Pope, BSC’s work on the indie drama Honeydripper.

Post Focus profile’s two companies that have recently opened new facilities in the Los Angeles area: the postproduction house PostWorks and the boutique visual-effects facility Elicit.

Filmmakers’ Forum offers an article by Steven Fierberg, ASC about his work on the indie feature Searchers 2.0, a postmodern take on the classic John Ford Western.


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2008 / 02 - February Issue of American Cinematographer

 

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