March 6, 2024

Jenelle Riley, Variety’s Deputy Awards and Features Editor, discusses the 2024 Academy Awards nominations

Long-time friend and colleague Jenelle Riley of Variety magazine chats with Ben and Illya for our fifth annual Oscar nominations special. With a focus on cinematography, they discuss what they liked, what will win, what should win, and their favorite movies of the year that may have been overlooked. They also talk about the past year in movies, Oscar campaigning and the accusations of film “snubs.”

Here’s a rundown of some of the films and topics discussed in this episode. Listen to our recent interviews with the nominated DPs as well as other films of note!

Spike Lee, who won an ASC Board of Governors award
Hoyte Van Hoytema, Oppenheimer, who also won an ASC award for theatrical feature film
Ed Lachman, El Conde
Matty Libatique, Maestro
Robbie Ryan, Poor Things
Rodrigo Prieto, Martin Scorsese Killers of the Flower Moon
Barbie, Ryan Gosling
Nyad, Anette Bening
The Holdovers (DP Eigil Bryld) , Alexander Payne, Da’Vine Joy Randolph
Past Lives (DP Shabier Kirchner), Greta Lee
American Fiction (DP Cristina Dunlap)
Saltburn (DP Linus Sandgren)
The Killer (DP Eric Messerschmidt)

Find Jenelle Riley on Instagram and X: @jenelleriley
and Variety:

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Twitter: @ShortEndz

March 1, 2023

Jesse Feldman, ASC Award-nominated DP of Interview with the Vampire

Interview with the Vampire on AMC+ is based on Anne Rice’s novel of the same name. The new series changes and updates the material so that the main character, Louis, is now Black and a closeted gay man who is turned into a vampire by the Frenchman Lestat. But in 1900’s New Orleans, even when he’s “freed” as an immortal vampire, Louis finds that his power is still limited by racism.

Cinematographer Jesse M. Feldman was nominated for an ASC Award for his work on Interview with the Vampire. He found out about the series through his friend and fellow DP Brandon Trost, (also a former guest on Cinepod) and loved the strong visuals he got from the script. Jesse split the series with DP David Tattersall and they each shot alternating episodes. Each DP took creative control of their own episodes, and they had a good collaboration and visual cohesion.

Interview with the Vampire is shot in a dark and moody style that perfectly suits the Gothic horror genre. Jesse leaned in to the dim and shadowy lighting, with pops of vibrant color used to highlight key moments. The series deals with two different time periods- 1900’s New Orleans and modern day Dubai. It involved a combination of night shoots on location and shooting on sets, which allowed for total control of the lighting. Jesse found that the schedule was very tight but he was always open to ideas coming from the crew if a different approach became necessary. He feels that creative collaboration on set is important and one idea can lead to another, often better, idea.

Jesse wanted to become a cinematographer beginning in high school, when he took photography. He learned that you could tell a story through an image, and that just a still image could communicate a great deal. After moving to L.A. and enrolling at USC, Jesse got a job as a camera assistant on a music video and learned how to load 35mm mags. After graduating, he worked on several music videos and low budget films, became a camera operator and has been a camera operator on shows such as The Madalorian, The Book of Boba Fett, and The Chi.

As an artist, Jesse finds that being a cinematographer has been more fulfilling. Being a director of photography vs. being a camera operator are very different jobs and involve using different skills. Lighting is a huge part of cinematography, and operators don’t have time to think about lighting when they’re just trying to do complex camera work at the pace of most TV schedules today. For a DP, who has to make so many decisions as you’re rolling about lighting and camera tweaks, it’s hard to pay attention if you’re operating a camera, and you also can’t watch multiple cameras.

After working as a camera operator for many years, Jesse had a lot of back issues. He invented the ErgoRig, which transfers 100% of the camera weight from the operator’s shoulder and back to their hips, preventing spinal compression.

Interview with the Vampire is currently available on AMC+

The ASC Awards are streaming on March 5, 2023
Find Jesse Feldman:
Instagram @jessemfeldman

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The Cinematography Podcast website:
Facebook: @cinepod
Instagram: @thecinepod
Twitter: @ShortEndz

April 23, 2021

Bonus Episode: The Truffle Hunters documentary filmmakers Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw

In case you missed it, we are re-releasing our interview with filmmakers Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw on their documentary, The Truffle Hunters from 2020’s Sundance Film Festival. The film recently received the ASC Documentary Award.

Filmmakers Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw ventured deep in the forests near Alba, Italy for their documentary, The Truffle Hunters. This region is known for its rare white truffles, fetching thousands of dollars for the acclaimed delicacy. The methods of where and how to find truffles is a closely guarded secret. This small group of elderly men seek them in darkness, hiking for miles with their dogs and covering their tracks so no one knows where they go. The film is beautifully composed and uses mostly natural light. The filmmakers chose to keep the camera on a tripod and to observe the subjects at a distance, except for special leather harness rigs for POV doggy-cams that Dweck and Kershaw had specially made.

You can find The Truffle Hunters in select theaters and available to rent on video on demand in the coming weeks.
Instagram: @thetrufflehuntersfilm
Find Michael Dweck: Twitter @michaeldweck Instagram @michaeldweckstudio
Find Gregory Kershaw: Instagram @gregorykershaw

Find out even more about this episode, with show notes and links: ‎

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