Focus On Film

Super 16 Delivers Cinematic Imagery for Umrika 

Scenes from Umrika. (Photos by Petra Korner)

Cinematographer Petra Korner’s latest feature, Umrika, starts out in a small mountain village in India in the mid-1970s. When Ramakant, a young boy from the village who discovers that his brother – long believed to be in America – has actually gone missing, he begins to invent letters on his behalf to save their mother from heartbreak, while setting out on a journey to find him.

The script has humorous and dramatic aspects, but Korner and director Prashant Nair agreed that it should be photographed with a classic dramatic approach.

Super 16 Grit Seizes Look of Hostage Drama

Joe Anderson portrays Garrett Tully. (Photo by Rodney Taylor, ASC.)

When Rodney Taylor read the script for Supremacy, he saw a story that could benefit from Super 16 origination and a gritty, handheld aesthetic. The cinematographer mentioned Black Swan, The Hurt Locker and a couple of other recent Super 16 films in his first meeting with Deon Taylor, the basketball player-turned-director. He immediately liked the idea, even though the film had been budgeted for digital video.

Supremacy is the hard-hitting story of a white supremacist, recently paroled, who takes an African-American family hostage. The filmmakers found some Gordon Parks documentary photographs that had an edgy, dimly lit mood with an ominous hint of violence, and used them as a starting point for developing a look for the film.

Andrij Parekh Bets on Mississippi Grind 

Photo: Electric City Entertainment

When Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck – the pair that made waves with their first feature Half Nelson in 2006 – approached cinematographer Andrij Parekh with the script for Mississippi Grind, he was instantly drawn to the material. And as it was to be their fourth collaboration, the trio were on the same page when it came to the look.

“They showed me a lot of 1970s films,” says Parekh, an NYU Tisch graduate. “From that, the inspiration for Mississippi Grind was clear. They were attracted to Robert Altman films like California Split, John Schlesinger’s Midnight Cowboy, and Wim Wenders’ Paris, Texas. All films I love. That’s the style and feeling we tried to give to this film – long, slow zooms mixed with handheld.”

Cinderella: A Disney Classic Brought to Life

Kenneth Branagh, Haris Zambarloukos, BSC and Lily James on the set of Disney’s live-action feature inspired by the classic fairy tale, Cinderella. (Photos by Jonathan Olley, ©Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

Together, Haris Zambarloukos, BSC and Kenneth Branagh have made the otherworldly Marvel pic Thor, the stylish Michael Caine vehicle Sleuth, and the spy thriller Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. Each of those projects also was made on 35mm film. Their latest collaboration, a live-action update of Disney’s Cinderella, adds yet another completely different project to their body of work.

When he got the call, Zambarloukos was initially hesitant. “When I read the script, I began to realize what a great opportunity it was,” he says. “It’s an ancient, timeless story with versions in many cultures. Within Disney’s version of the tale is a tragic orphan story that is almost Dickensian. And after our first meeting, I realized why Ken wanted to do it – it’s a chance to make a classic, the first of its kind, in a new way. It’s a big responsibility.”

The Search Finds a Bleach Bypass Look

Published on website: February 25, 2015
Categories: Focus On Film , VISION3 500T Color Negative Film 5219/7219
Maksim Emelyanov plays Koila in The Search (photo @Wild Bunch)

Guillaume Schiffman’s pitch-perfect black-and-white cinematography on The Artist brought him BAFTA, BSC and IFP Spirit Awards, as well as OSCAR® and ASC Award nominations in 2012. The Artist, which Schiffman called “a souvenir of the films of the 1920s,” brought home five OSCARS®, including Best Picture and Best Director for Michel Hazanavicius.

But when Schiffman and Hazanavicius reteamed for The Search, they knew a completely different approach was in order.