The December 2009 issue of American Cinematographer magazine, has a special update on the recent activities of the ASC Technology Committee.
Nine (The Weinstein Co.)
Dion Beebe, ASC, ACS, who previously earned an Oscar nomination for the musical Chicago, is back on the dance floor with director Rob Marshall for this song-filled version of Fellini’s showbiz classic 8 ½. In this reconception of the tale, famous film director Guido Contini (Daniel Day-Lewis) confronts an epic midlife crisis while juggling the many women in his life, including his wife (Marion Cotillard), his mistress (Penelope Cruz), his lead actress and muse (Nicole Kidman), his costume designer and confidante (Judi Dench), an American fashion journalist (Kate Hudson), the prostitute he lusted after during his youth (Fergie) and his mother (Sophia Loren). Beebe will lead us through all the steps he and Marshall took to lend the film its lavish look.
Broken Embraces (Sony Pictures Classics)
Director Pedro Almodóvar tapped cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto, ASC, AMC to shoot this colorful mélange of amour fou, film noir and the politics of motion-picture production. The story revolves around Mateo Blanco (Lluís Homar), a filmmaker who loses his sight and his leading lady (Penélope Cruz) in a car crash, and whose path to healing can only be found by way of the cinema. Prieto will detail his collaboration with Almodóvar, which even includes a film-within-the-film referencing the director’s well-known picture Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.
Frederick Elmes, ASC will discuss his creative process with director Jim Sheridan on this intense drama about a young man (Jake Gyllenhaal) who comforts the wife (Natalie Portman) and children of his older brother (Tobey Maguire) after the latter goes missing in Afghanistan. Elmes, whose feature credits include River’s Edge, Blue Velvet, Wild at Heart, The Ice Storm and Broken Flowers, will also share his thoughts on using all the tools at his disposal — including his own intellectual approach to cinematography — to underscore the story’s dark and gripping themes.
The Fantastic Mr. Fox (20th Century Fox)
Stop-motion cinematographer Tristan Oliver (Chicken Run, Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit) and director Wes Anderson (Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums) joined forces on this whimsical romp about a sly fox (voiced by George Clooney) who draws the ire of crooked farmers by raiding their food supplies every night to feed his family. Oliver will detail the painstaking methods involved in stop-motion animation and how those techniques were used to realize Anderson’s quirky brand of humor. Other characters in the film were voiced by an array of stars, including Meryl Streep, Willem Dafoe, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Jason Schwartzman, Michael Gambon, Brian Cox, Anjelica Huston and Adrien Brody.
The December issue’s departments will also offer illuminating insights:
- Short Takes explores “We Are ODST,” an ambitious ad for the Halo videogame shot by Greig Fraser and directed by Rupert Sanders.
- Production Slate will offer a piece on the epic Chinese action film Red Cliff, directed by John Woo and shot by Lu Le and Zhang Li, and an interview with cinematographer Giles Nuttgens about his work on the period drama The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond.
- Post Focus will offer details on Zoic Studios’ Zeus system, which is being used to create virtual sets for the TV series V.
- Filmmakers’ Forum presents ASC member David Stump’s overview of a recent project he helped develop in conjunction with the U.S. Army: “The IED Experience,” a completely immersive live-action training environment comprising 8 HD cameras arranged in a continuous circular array to create a 15K-by-1080 projection used to teach troops in Afghanistan and Iraq how to avoid Improvised Explosive Devices. Stump will detail the construction of the camera array, the design of the simulator and its circular screen, and the post workflow that was required to create a truly sophisticated training exercise.
- ASC Close-Up will offer a profile of Society member Paul Ryan, whose cinematography credits include the features Box of Moonlight, Thomas and the Magic Railroad and Big Bad Love, as well as major second-unit contributions to Days of Heaven, Batman Returns, A River Runs Through It and The Horse Whisperer.