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Ask a Filmmaker: David Dart, NFL Films

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David Dart, NFL Films staff cinematographer

The 2013 football season is underway, and the crew at NFL Films is busy capturing all the leaping catches, goal line stands, pre-game pep talks, and sideline celebrations. Considered the gold standard of sports filmmaking, NFL Films strives to not just document the game, but to preserve it, and carry on the legacy of all those who have helped make the game what it is today. And motion picture film is part of that legacy.

Since 1962, NFL Films has captured and archived over 100 million feet of 16mm film. Their productions were the first to use ground-level slow motion, shoot sports with 600mm lenses, and to incorporate reverse-angle replays. Can you imagine shooting the Super Bowl handheld with a 1,000-foot magazine and a 50-500mm anamorphic zoom lens? Ever wonder what it is like to capture the fast-moving, hard-hitting action of the NFL? Now is your chance to get full access with NFL Films cinematographer David Dart.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Emphasizes the Human Aspect

Jennifer Lawrence stars in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

The Hunger Games is a sci-fi phenomenon set in a dystopian society that pits adolescent boys and girls in a battle to the death. Praised for its literary approach to plot and character, the tale was first brought to the screen by director Gary Ross (Pleasantville, Seabiscuit) and cinematographer Tom Stern, ASC, AFC.

Now, the second book in the series, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, has been translated for cinema. This time, the director is Francis Lawrence (Water for Elephants, I Am Legend) and the cinematographer is Jo Willems, SBC, whose credits include the features Limitless and Hard Candy, television pilots like Touch and Awake, and many music videos for top artists such as Prince and Justin Timberlake.

Spike Lee Twists and Turns Oldboy Into Something New

Josh Brolin in Oldboy. (Photos Hilary Bronwyn Gayle. OB Productions, Inc. © 2012. All rights reserved.

In choosing to recreate Oldboy for Western audiences, Spike Lee made a bold move. The original movie, based on a Japanese graphic novel, won the Grand Prix at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival and earned a passionate fan base. Lee completely reimagined the story, casting Josh Brolin as Joe Doucett, a man who is released after 20 years of solitary confinement with no explanation. Thirsty for vengeance, he discovers that he has only five days to uncover his tormenters. The cast also includes Elizabeth Olsen, Sharlto Copley and Samuel L. Jackson.

Oldboy was filmed in a variety of atmospheric locations in New Orleans, Louisiana. The mostly local camera crew was led by Sean Bobbitt, BSC. The Texas-born cinematographer has been on a roll, with The Place Beyond the Pines, 12 Years a Slave, Shame, and Hunger among his recent credits. The latter three of those movies were done with director Steve McQueen. All were shot on film.

Searching for Justice in Felony; Drama Premieres at TIFF

(l-r) Jai Courtney and Joel Edgerton star in Felony

Audiences will get their first look at Felony, a psychological thriller about guilt, conscience, punishment and forgiveness, at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival. At the heart of the story is a moral dilemma. The central character is a detective, who after a few celebratory beers with pals, hits a boy with his car on the way home. He impulsively lies to the emergency operator and to law enforcement when they arrive. A friend tries to help him cover his tracks, but another detective isn’t quite buying their story. The ensuing three-way psychological struggle unfolds over the course of three intense days.

“I couldn’t dismiss (the detective’s) actions as simply being ‘wrong’ because I understood he was trying to protect his own family,” says director Matthew Saville. “In this film, nobody wears a white hat or a black hat, and if they're wearing a halo, it's a crooked halo – and I just think that's a closer reflection of life. It’s very honest.”

Lighting the Secret Life of Shadowhunters in City of Bones

Clary (Lily Collin) races home in Screen Gems' fantasy-action THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS: CITY OF BONES. PHOTO: Rafy © 2013 Constantin Film International GmbH and Unique Features (TMI) Inc. All rights reserved

Director Harald Zwart tapped cinematographer Geir Hartly Andreassen, FSF to help bring City of Bones, the first book in author Cassandra Clare’s bestselling series “The Mortal Instruments,” to the big screen.

Aimed at young adults, this urban-fantasy series centers around a teenage girl named Clary Fray who discovers that she is a Shadowhunter, which is a human-angel hybrid. Set in contemporary New York, City of Bones follows Clary (played by Lily Collins) as she joins forces with a group of Shadowhunters in search of her missing mother (Lena Headey). Clary is introduced to a dangerous and different New York called Downworld, filled with demons, warlocks, vampires, werewolves and other deadly creatures.