The Cinematography Podcast Episode 181: Steve Pink and Bella Gonzales

The Wheel is about a young couple whose marriage is in crisis. They decide to retreat to a house in the woods to try to work out their differences, where they meet another couple who seem to have it all figured out. As they get to know each other, all four characters prove to be flawed and complicated.

The Wheel is the first romantic drama Steve Pink has directed. He’s known for his work on comedies such as High Fidelity, Grosse Pointe Blank and Hot Tub Time Machine, and he was thrilled for the chance to direct a drama. Steve cast actor Amber Midthunder (Prey), who had worked with cinematographer Bella Gonzales a few years ago on a short film, Prayers of a Saint. Steve admired her work on the short, and asked Bella to be the DP for The Wheel. It was during the summer of 2020 and most film productions were still shut down, so it was appealing to work with a small cast and crew that could stay in a bubble together to shoot a true low-budget indie drama for 18 days. They found a summer camp location in the mountains outside Los Angeles, and after a short two week prep, Steve, Bella and the 20 person crew drove up, with their own cars packed with equipment. Steve even used some of his own furniture, with some of the female cast member’s costumes provided by his wife’s wardrobe.

For cinematographer Bella Gonzales, the movie was about finding moments and figuring out the heart of the movie. Every visual decision was based on what emotion the characters were feeling in each scene. It wasn’t about getting the perfect shot, it was all about capturing the moods of the characters and the drama of complicated relationships. They had a circle of trust with the actors and the camera crew to create intimacy. Bella and Steve embraced the limited scope of the location- being able to shoot in the small area of the woods and the house made their creative decisions very easy. The crew was so small that everyone was extremely involved and invested in making the film great.

Find The Wheel on VOD such as AppleTV+ or other streaming services.

Find Steve Pink Instagram: @alsostevepink

Find Bella Gonzales Instagram: @bellagonzalesdp

Close Focus: Weird: The Weird Al Yankovic Story is a parody of a biopic about Weird Al’s life. Just like Weird Al’s music, it’s over the top and leans into the silly tropes of biographical music documentaries. Illya also shares some of his personal Weird Al stories.

Illya’s short end: The Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia 2023  is accepting entries soon. The theme this year is portraying Tokyo, in virtually any manner you wish. The film must be under 25 minutes and the winner gets a million yen.

Ben’s short end: Light and Magic, directed by Lawrence Kasdan, is about the history of Industrial Light and Magic (ILM).

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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

Instagram: @illyafriedman @hotrodcameras

Host: Ben Rock

Twitter: @neptunesalad

Instagram: @bejamin_rock

Editor: Ben Katz

Composer: Kays Al-Atrakchi

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