February 26, 2024

Bonus Episode: To Kill a Tiger director Nisha Pahuja and editor Mike Munn

In this bonus episode of The Cinematography Podcast, we interview director Nisha Pahuja and editor Mike Munn about the documentary To Kill a Tiger. The film is nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

**A warning that this episode discusses sexual assault and violence, so please take care.**

To Kill a Tiger is the story of Ranjit, a farmer in Jharkhand, India whose 13 year old daughter is raped by three men from her village. Ranjit is determined to get justice for his daughter through the legal system. In India, men rarely stand up for their daughters and conviction rates for rape are less than 30 percent. It’s common practice in the village for a girl to be married off to her abuser instead. Rangit and his family faced down threats of violence and ostracism by the townspeople.

Director Nisha Pahuja was originally making a documentary studying Indian masculinity when she met Ranjit and his daughter. She followed their story for about 18 months, thinking they would only be one part of the story. Only in the editing process did the story start to take shape. It became clear that Ranjit and his daughter Kiran were the strongest characters. Nisha admired Ranjit’s courage and love for his daughter. “I just think Ranjit is the kind of person who has this idea of doing the right thing inside of him. He’s just a very ethical, thoughtful person.” Because Kiran was only 13 at the time, Nisha had to be careful about revealing her identity. By the time the film was finished, Kiran was 18, and gave permission to show her face. Nisha says, “She said it was because she couldn’t believe how courageous she was when she was watching herself, she couldn’t believe her own courage and her own bravery. And she wanted to celebrate that.”

Nisha’s husband Mrinal Desai was the primary cinematographer on To Kill a Tiger, and they lived together in India while making the documentary. Nisha finds that he has a very quiet and gentle way with the people they film. She, Mrinal and their sound recordist Anita Kushwaha have worked together for a long time and are able to create an atmosphere of intimacy and trust.

Editor Mike Munn spent about 8 months working on the film before he decided that they had to distill it down to the best story. “We were wrestling a lot because we had, in fact, two different films. So Ranjit’s story was so specific and so well drawn out that it needed its own place. So, we jettisoned all of that work that we’d done.” Mike started expanding Ranjit’s story and discovered that this version of the film has a clear narrative arc with interesting characters. Fortunately, the raw footage came back from India with a basic transcription and subtitles that could be polished during the edit with the help of a translator. Mike says, “My favorite part overall was working with the observational and verite nature of the film. It was so intimate and real and we’re all creating scenes out of real emotion. This was a film where the narrative was all happening within real scenes with the family. That was challenging, but rewarding in just the truthfulness of it.”

To Kill a Tiger is in select theaters. https://tokillatigerfilm.com/

Find Nisha Pahuja: http://www.noticepicturesinc.com/
Instagram @nishappics

Find Mike Munn: https://mikemunneditor.com/

Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras www.hotrodcameras.com

The Cinematography Podcast website: www.camnoir.com
Facebook: @cinepod
Instagram: @thecinepod
Twitter: @ShortEndz

September 20, 2023

Talk to Me cinematographer Aaron McLisky, ACS

Cinematographer Aaaron McLisky is thrilled that Talk to Me, a small Australian independent horror film, has found such a huge audience. It has become A24’s highest grossing horror movie in North America. The movie is about a group of friends who discover how to become possessed by spirits with an embalmed hand, creating a thrilling party game. The main character, Mia, has recently lost her mother, and her grief makes the idea of finding her mom on the other side both compelling and dangerous. But soon, the supernatural forces can’t be controlled any longer.

Aaron had heard rumors about the Talk to Me script and was intrigued to find out more about the project when directors Danny and Michael Philippou direct messaged him on Instagram. The twin brothers had no feature film experience, but are self-taught YouTube filmmakers. Their channel, RackaRacka is huge, and features a series of horror/comedy shorts completely shot and edited by Danny and Michael.

During the development and pre-production of Talk to Me, Aaron and the brothers discussed how they wanted the film to look cinematically and frequently workshopped and filmed sequences. Aaron always wants to elevate the story through cinematography, making sure that every frame and every camera movement speaks to a world that’s truthful to the characters. He wanted to be sure that the camera work elevated the tone of the horror movie, by showing or withholding information as needed. As a former editor, Aaron constantly thinks about editing- how certain sequences will go together and how much coverage might really be needed. Once production started, he found it exciting to be bold, keeping coverage of each scene minimal, and confident that they didn’t need more. He kept scenes lit with practical lighting and green fluorescents as much as possible, making Mia seem sickly and possessed. During the possession scenes, Aaron chose to contrast the sequences with unmotivated lighting, and as Mia’s psychological decay progresses, the film subtly becomes darker and more desaturated in the grade.

Aaron was born in Australia but lived in Indonesia for much of his childhood. He fell in love with photography there and knew he wanted to study film, so he returned to Australia. After completing his degree, he got a job at a production company as an editor, eventually moving into directing commercials and music videos, but he didn’t enjoy it. Aaron found he was always more interested in visual images as a storyteller, so he decided to start over as a cinematographer. He was fortunate enough to shoot a music video for YouTube stars, The Bondi Hipsters, who then asked him to be the cinematographer for their television series. Aaron also served as the primary cinematographer of the FX series, Mr. Inbetween.

Talk to Me is still playing in theaters and is available to purchase on VOD.

Find Aaron McLisky: http://aaronmclisky.com/
Instagram: @aaronmclisky

Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: www.hotrodcameras.com
Sponsored by Aputure: https://www.aputure.com/

The Cinematography Podcast website: www.camnoir.com
Facebook: @cinepod
Instagram: @thecinepod
Twitter: @ShortEndz

February 10, 2021

Director Barry Alexander Brown on his film Son of the South, a civil rights movie inspired by the life of activist Bob Zellner

For many years, Barry Alexander Brown labored over bringing his film, Son of the South to the big screen. Barry is best known for his editing work with director Spike Lee, and was nominated for an Academy Award for BlacKkKlansman. Growing up in Alabama, Barry was familiar with civil rights activist Bob Zellner, and he knew he wanted to make a movie about Zellner’s life. Zellner, whose grandfather was in the Ku Klux Klan, became an activist in the civil rights movement while a college student in 1961. His autobiography, The Wrong Side Of Murder Creek: A White Southerner in the Freedom Movement gave Barry a starting point for his screenplay, which made the rounds and was well received, but no one would commit to making the film. After nearly ten years, Barry gave up on ever being able to make the movie. Then at the end of 2017, Barry got a call from actor Daniel Radcliffe, who really loved the script, but was unable to star in it. This gave Son of the South some heat again, and Barry was able to get more producers on board and raise the money to make the film. Barry wrote some of his personal experiences with segregation into the script, and he hopes Son of the South inspires people to continue to fight for civil rights.

You can watch Son of the South streaming now in select theaters and on VOD.

Hear Barry Alexander Brown’s previous interview with us in 2019, discussing BlacKkKlansman: https://www.camnoir.com/ep31/

Find Barry Alexander Brown- Instagram: @barryalexanderbrown

Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: https://camnoir.com/ep112/

Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: www.hotrodcameras.com

Website: www.camnoir.com
Facebook: @cinepod
Instagram: @thecinepod
Twitter: @ShortEndz

April 13, 2020

BONUS EPISODE: Jeff Sengpiehl, chief technologist at Key Code Media, gives tips for remote editing and other post production options from home

BONUS EPISODE: Jeff Sengpiehl, chief technologist at Key Code Media, gives tips for remote editing and other post production options from home

Finding the right technologies and new ways to work from home is becoming a necessity right now. Jeff Sengpiehl discusses ways to remotely access your work edit bay from your computer, edit from the cloud, consolidating the project onto hard drives and physically taking it home, and how to proxy edit from your editing facility.

In this episode:
Hewlett Packard’s Z Central Remote (Remote Graphics Service, or RGS)- Free to those with HP systems, or it can be used through Apple’s boot camp partition and paying the HP Z Central Remote license fee. A plus: Still allows collaboration so everyone knows who is doing what. https://www8.hp.com/us/en/workstations/zcentral-remote-boost.html
VPN: Virtual Private Network, can be used to connect to another network as if you’re there which allows more bandwidth. https://www.pcmag.com/picks/the-best-vpn-services
Adobe editing systems, such as Premiere can be “lifted and shifted” into the cloud https://www.adobe.com/products/premiere.html?gclid=Cj0KCQjwm9D0BRCMARIsAIfvfIajfwAVEc8MQudttNTgB56iKpQsARUo2pzuLJdsue-bPw2KKfcB1iwaAgKEEALw_wcB&sdid=KKQOM&mv=search&ef_id=Cj0KCQjwm9D0BRCMARIsAIfvfIajfwAVEc8MQudttNTgB56iKpQsARUo2pzuLJdsue-bPw2KKfcB1iwaAgKEEALw_wcB:G:s&s_kwcid=AL!3085!3!383822034471!e!!g!!adobe%20premiere
Studio Network Solutions has a product called Nomad, with asset management proxy files available through a shared browser software. NOT collaborative, but there is an “over-the-shoulder” mode for a producer to give notes. https://www.studionetworksolutions.com/nomad-remote-workflow-offline-editing/
Teradici- For PCs only, software to access your workplace’s shared cloud using PCoIP (PC-over-IP) https://www.teradici.com/ Good and fast, not inexpensive.

See Jeff’s YouTube video explaining some of the technology mentioned in the episode: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzsHG3IbVcA

Find Jeff Sengpiehl: https://www.keycodemedia.com/

Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: https://camnoir.com/bonusremotework/

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Website: www.camnoir.com
Facebook: @cinepod
Instagram: @thecinepod
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February 17, 2019

Ep 31 – Barry Alexander Brown – Oscar nomination for BlacKkKlansman, collaborations with Spike Lee and the magic of editing.

The Cinematography Podcast Episode 31 – Barry Alexander Brown Spike Lee has relied on editor Barry Alexander Brown for the past 3 decades.  His latest effort, BlacKkKlansman, earned an Academy Award nomination, his 2nd nomination after receiving one in 1980 for Best Documentary Feature.  Barry joined Illya for a conversation about Klansman, collaborating with Spike