The Cinematography Podcast Episode 162: Haris Zambarloukos

Cinematographer Haris Zambarloukos enjoys using filmmaking to study the human condition. As a Greek who grew up in Cyprus, Haris was immersed in the history of Greek tragedy from a young age. He went to art school and studied painting, but found he was more interested in the visual storytelling of filmmaking. Haris’ background in portrait painting carries over into his cinematography today- he favors using closeups in his work, because he finds that the human face is the landscape of our emotions.

Haris’ current film, Belfast, is his eighth collaboration with director Kenneth Branagh. It’s a deeply personal story about Branagh’s childhood experience growing up in Northern Ireland during the civil war between the Catholics and Protestants known as The Troubles. Haris and Branagh chose to shoot the movie almost entirely in black-and-white. The two both love the format, and Haris felt using black and white provided less distraction from the character’s emotions than the use of color. They also decided to use extremely limited additional lighting in the movie, relying heavily on natural light in most scenes. Every scene was thought out with depth of field and depth of action, and not just shot for coverage.

For the 2013 film Locke, starring Tom Hardy, Haris’ friend, cinematographer Chris Menges, had tested the new Alexa Mini and found that it was possible to shoot with just available light in small spaces. This gave director/writer Steven Knight the idea to write a script that takes place entirely in a car, with only one character, and he asked Haris to be his director of photography. Haris had just wrapped Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit and was about to shoot Cinderella, so Locke seemed like an interesting challenge to take on. Knight had planned for only a 9 day shoot, with the entire script shot beginning to end each night for three nights. The additional actors, never seen on camera, all phoned in their vocal performances live during the shoot. Capturing the intimate and emotional performances in Locke gave Haris a deep satisfaction about his decision to become a filmmaker.

Find Haris Zambarloukos

Instagram: @zambagram

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Ben and Illya discuss The Cinematography Podcast reaching over 1 million downloads.

Ben’s short end: Fresh, directed by Mimi Cave, is a great horror movie now streaming on Hulu.

Illya’s short end: The 25th anniversary of the death of Brent Hershman, an AC who died in a car accident after working a 19 hour day on Pleasantville. There is no reason to keep having fatal accidents on set due to poor safety and long hours.

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Podcast Credits:

Producer: Alana Kode

All web and social media content written by Alana Kode

Host and editor in Chief:  Illya Friedman

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Host: Ben Rock

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Instagram: @bejamin_rock

Editor: Ben Katz

Composer: Kays Al-Atrakchi

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