The May 2009 issue of American Cinematographer magazine salutes the ASC and Academy Award nominees for cinematography and offers a recap of the Academy Scientific and Technical Awards.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Donald McAlpine, ASC, who received the Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award in February, brought his decades of expertise to this big-budget X-Men spinoff, which reveals how the tormented hero Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) developed his special powers. McAlpine will provide details of his collaboration with director Gavin Hood and the production’s visual-effects team, as well as details about the show’s locations in Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
State of Play
Rodrigo Prieto, ASC, AMC teamed with director Kevin MacDonald (The Last King of Scotland) on this feature based on the BBC miniseries of the same name. The two strategized to visually distinguish the working worlds of the two main characters, journalist Cal McAffrey (Russell Crowe) and Congressman Stephen Collins (Ben Affleck). Accordingly, they trained handheld 35mm-film cameras fitted with anamorphic lenses at McAffrey and his colleagues, while Collins’ interactions — honorable and otherwise — were captured with a Panavision Genesis high-definition camera. Prieto will detail his approach and discuss blending stage and location work in Los Angeles with exteriors in Washington, D.C.
Seamus McGarvey, BSC and director Joe Wright (Atonement) opted to shoot in anamorphic for this true story of friendship, hope and redemption. Based on a series of columns published in the Los Angeles Times, the film follows Nathaniel Ayers (Jamie Foxx), a musical prodigy and former Julliard student whose schizophrenia led him to Los Angeles’ skid row, where he made an unlikely friend, journalist Steve Lopez (Robert Downey Jr.). McGarvey will detail his experiences shooting on location in downtown Los Angeles and working with the area’s homeless population to bring Lopez’s columns to the screen.
Ghosts of Girlfriends Past
Daryn Okada, ASC teamed for the third time with director Mark Waters (Just Like Heaven) on this romantic comedy about an unrepentant ladies’ man (Matthew McConaughey) who is shown the error of his ways by three well-intentioned spirits who visit him on the eve of his brother’s wedding. Set in New England, the film features a number of tricky visual transitions as characters move between the real world and the spirit world. In a Q&A with senior editor Rachael Bosley, Okada will discuss his approach to the project, including its post path at LaserPacific and Deluxe Laboratories.
ASC/Academy Award winners and nominees
In our annual salute to the year’s best cinematography, we will present a pictorial recap of the annual ASC Awards weekend and acknowledge the accomplishments of all the directors of photography who were honored at the ASC and Academy Award ceremonies: Roger Deakins, ASC, BSC (Revolutionary Road and The Reader); Anthony Dod Mantle, BSC, DFF (Slumdog Millionaire); Chris Menges, ASC, BSC (The Reader); Claudio Miranda (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button); Wally Pfister, ASC (The Dark Knight) and Tom Stern (Changeling).
Academy Scientific and Technical Awards
Offers a complete review of this year’s ingenious honorees, whose technical contributions to filmmaking were feted on February 7 during a prestigious dinner at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. Included in our coverage will be profiles of the evening’s major individual award recipients: Ed Catmull, who received the Gordon E. Sawyer Award; and Mark Kimball, who earned the John A. Bonner Award.
The May issue’s departments also offers illuminating insights:
Short Takes profiles the student filmmakers whose short projects were honored with the Bud Stone Heritage Award at the recent ASC Awards ceremony: graduate student Nathan Levine-Heaney from Florida State University and undergraduate Aaron Dunson from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.
Production Slate offers interviews with cinematographers Mike Eley, who shot the HBO telefilm Grey Gardens, and Paul Sarossy, CSC, who was behind the camera on the theatrical feature Adoration.
Post Focus details the postproduction workflows that were applied on the indie features The Red Machine and My Suicide.
ASC Close-Up offers a profile of Society member John Lindley, whose credits as a cinematographer include Reservation Road, The Sum of All Fears, You’ve Got Mail, Pleasantville, Father of the Bride, Sleeping With the Enemy, Field of Dreams and The Serpent and the Rainbow.