The Cinematography Podcast Episode 95: Eric Branco
Cinematographer Eric Branco discovered early on that he enjoyed translating people’s stories into visuals. Eric started out as an actor in high school, but quickly realized no one had any interest in holding the camera except himself. While in film school, he developed an eye and shot several student projects, then found work on film sets in New York as a grip and gaffer while shooting short films on the side. Eric’s latest film, The 40-Year-Old Version was shot almost entirely on black and white film stock. Director Radha Blank was very firm that the movie be black and white- in fact, when Eric received the script, it read “A New York tale in black and white.” So Eric came with a suitcase full of black and white photo books of New York when he and Radha met, which helped them arrive at The 40-Year-Old Version‘s look: a matte texture with a prominent grain. Eric ran several tests to find the perfect film stock for the movie, and shot it handheld with vintage lenses. The movie is a funny, semi-autobiographical story starring Blank as a struggling, almost-40 playwright who is determined not to sell out or compromise her artistic principles and reinvigorates her creativity by becoming a hip-hop artist. The 40-Year-Old Version won the U.S Dramatic Competition Directing Award for Blank at the Sundance Film Festival in 2020. For Eric, it was the third film he’d shot to go to Sundance in as many years. He felt honored to be the cinematographer of Clemency, which won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance in 2019. Written and directed by Chinonye Chukwu, Clemency took a long time to get off the ground before Alfre Woodard was cast in the lead role.
You can watch The 40-Year-Old Version streaming on Netflix.
Find Eric Branco
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Close Focus: How the top DPs are returning to work and staying safe on set; a side story on Sharegrid; the box office returns are at an 80% reduction of normal- how will theater chains pivot from this?
Illya’s short end: The Mill Valley Film Festival is currently happening as a drive-in experience around the North Bay Area. Check it out if you live in or around Marin County!
Ben’s short end: A few tips on how to expand the IP, or intellectual property rights, for projects. Video Palace, the podcast created by Mike Monello, Nick Braccia, Ben, and Bob DeRosa has expanded, though there is still no Season 2 greenlit by Shudder. Mike created a very rich world and decided to flesh out the mythology within a new framework by publishing Video Palace: In Search of the Eyeless Man Collected Stories.
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