The Cinematography Podcast Episode 90: Mandy Walker
Mandy Walker believes that her job as a cinematographer is not just to make pretty pictures, but to enhance an emotion with lenses, camera placement and lighting. She works on a gut and emotional level for films, getting across the feelings of the characters- a DP’s arsenal of tricks should only help convey what’s going on in the scene. For Mulan, Mandy and director Nikki Caro wanted to take a different approach from the Disney animated version, and were free to interpret the film as they wished. Mandy watched several Chinese action films such as House of Flying Daggers and went on location scouting trips to China to find the look and inspiration for the film. Mandy grew up in Australia and always loved photography, film and art, so she felt a passion to become a cinematographer right from the beginning. She skipped film school and began as a production assistant and loader in Australia, learning as she went on films such as Lantana, which was shot using almost only available light. Shattered Glass, which tells the true story of a journalist who made up the majority of his articles, was her first American film. Working with Baz Luhrmann on Australia was a huge jump into bigger budget movies, and she learned how to organize and delegate an entire camera department with multiple cameras. For the film Hidden Figures, Mandy worked closely with the costume designer and makeup artists to ensure that how the characters were dressed and what they looked like matched the feel of what each scene is meant to convey. She watched a lot of archival footage from NASA, some of which was used in the film, and was thrilled to meet Katherine Johnson, one of the real-life subjects of the film.
Mandy Walker is currently working with director Baz Luhrmann again on a forthcoming biography film about Elvis Presley.
You can purchase Mulan streaming on Disney Plus, for $29.99.
Find Mandy Walker
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Close Focus: The return of theatrically released films, such as Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, playing only on IMAX on a few screens in the United States, and drive-ins, where you can find movies such as Bill & Ted Face The Music.
Illya’s short end: Panasonic’s new camera, the Panasonic Lumix S5, is a lot like the S1h, but has a smaller footprint and lighter weight profile for improved portability. Pre-order yours today at Hot Rod Cameras.
Ben’s short end: The negative for The Beastmaster, a 1980’s fantasy film, was lost, and could not be remastered as a Bluray because of this. It was shot by legendary cinematographer John Alcott and directed by Don Coscarelli. He is trying to find the elements for the original camera negative to help him restore the film, so if you have a hot tip, go to the website.
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Editor in Chief: Illya Friedman@hotrodcameras
Ben Rock: Twitter: @neptunesalad
Producer: Alana Kode
Editor: Ben Katz
Composer: Kays Alatractchi