September 28, 2022

Cinematographer Alicia Robbins on the Netflix series Keep Breathing, Grey’s Anatomy and the upcoming season of Bridgerton

Cinematographer Alicia Robbins’ work on the Netflix show, Keep Breathing, was quite challenging as they had location scouts at seven different remote forests in Vancouver, Canada near Whistler. The crew had to off-road it for miles, and they filmed in some locations that had never been shot before.

Keep Breathing is about Liv Rivera, a high-powered attorney whose private plane crashes in the Canadian wilderness. Alone, she must conquer her inner demons and struggle to survive while finding her way back to civilization. Liv’s life is shown in flashbacks as she tramps through the forest.

Alicia shot the second block of Keep Breathing while fellow cinematographer Jon Joffin shot the first block. Jon put the team together for the first half and she was happy that the key crew was already established. Due to the pandemic, Alicia had to quarantine in her apartment in Canada for two weeks. The added time gave her the chance to go over the lookbook, watch dailies from the first half, and have hours of discussion with the director about shots, colors and tone. As a DP, Alicia says so much of the time you’re just thrown into prep, quickly looking at locations, without enough time to think it all through.

Cinepod host Illya and Alicia first met working on a small low budget indie feature called Boppin’ At the Glue Factory, written and directed by Illya’s longtime friend Jeff Orgill. Alicia began her career after graduating from AFI and started shooting low budget features while working her way up. Her first big television DP job was the series Grey’s Anatomy, where she worked for nearly three years. Alicia was ready to to try something new and expand her skills as a cinematographer, so she was excited to face the challenges on Keep Breathing.

Alicia is currently shooting the new season of Bridgerton, which has been a delight. She enjoys working in London, with amazing, beautiful locations and lush, colorful costumes and set design.

Find Alicia Robbins: https://www.aliciarobbins.com/
Instagram: @aliciacamchick

Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: https://camnoir.com/ep185/

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

The Cinematography Podcast website: www.camnoir.com
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/TheCinematographyPodcast
Facebook: @cinepod
Instagram: @thecinepod
Twitter: @ShortEndz

September 7, 2022

Honk for Jesus, Save Your Soul director Adamma Ebo, producer Adanne Ebo, and cinematographer Alan Gwizdowski

Honk for Jesus, Save Your Soul is a satirical dark comedy and mockumentary about Trinitie Childs, (Regina Hall) the “First Lady” of a Southern Baptist mega church and Lee-Curtis Childs, (Sterling K. Brown) her pastor husband. The pastor is accused of sexual misconduct and the two are struggling to relaunch their megachurch in the face of the controversy. As part of their public relations campaign, Trinitie and Lee-Curtis consent to a documentary crew following them.

Adamma was the writer and director of the film, and her twin Adanne was one of the producers of the film. The sisters have been partners their entire life, and enjoy working together. They grew up southern Baptist in Georgia, immersed in the megachurch culture. Both Adamma and Adanne felt that any evangelical megachurch’s messaging seemed insincere and un-Christian to get rich off of their congregants’ donations. With that background, Adamma decided to write a satire about a black southern megachurch- a fresh subject that she’d never seen on screen before. Honk for Jesus, Save Your Soul started out as a short film that Adamma was able to develop into a feature.

Cinematographer Alan Gwizdowski (nicknamed Gwiz) took over the production when fellow DP Adam Bricker had a scheduling conflict. Adamma wanted the film to look and feel very much like a real documentary, mixed with a more cinematic, narrative film look. Gwiz knew they needed the two different worlds to be separated- the part of the documentary that the Childs want the “filmmakers” to see, vs. what the documentary filmmakers are able to capture behind the curtain. They decided to keep the more illicit documentary scenes handheld and the official documentary scenes had a more cinematic look.

Honk for Jesus, Save Your Soul is in theaters and also streaming on Peacock.

Find Adamma Ebo: https://www.ejimeproductions.com/about
Instagram: @adamma.ebo
Find Adanne Ebo: https://www.ejimeproductions.com/about
Instagram: @adanne.ebo
Find Alan Gwizdowski: http://www.gwizphoto.com/
Instagram: @alangwiz

Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: https://camnoir.com/ep182/

Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: www.hotrodcameras.com

The Cinematography Podcast website: www.camnoir.com
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/TheCinematographyPodcast
Facebook: @cinepod
Instagram: @thecinepod
Twitter: @ShortEndz

August 31, 2022

Director Steve Pink and cinematographer Bella Gonzales on the indie film The Wheel

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: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0684336/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1
Instagram: @alsostevepink

Find Bella Gonzales: https://www.bellagonzales.com/
Instagram: @bellagonzalesdp

Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: https://camnoir.com/ep181/

Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: www.hotrodcameras.com

The Cinematography Podcast website: www.camnoir.com
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/TheCinematographyPodcast
Facebook: @cinepod
Instagram: @thecinepod
Twitter: @ShortEndz

August 24, 2022

Cinematographer Cybel Martin on A League of Their Own, Black As Night, horror movies and more

Cinematographer Cybel Martin believes that great cinematography comes from a place of trust between the director, DP and crew. Great art can be created when someone says: this is my vision and I trust you to make it happen. Cybel especially loves horror movies, because it’s the best genre for cinematographers to try out visuals that are not based in reality. The opening scene always establishes the visual rules, no matter how weird. You start from scratch and play with how you see the story, and with a good script you can naturally visualize the world. Horror films underscore symbolism and dramatize emotions even more than dramas, and good horror movies still have solid character development even without a supernatural element.

Cybel had the opportunity to work in the horror genre on the show American Horror Stories (Season 1) and most recently on the Amazon Prime movie, Black As Night. Black As Night is about an African American teenage girl who battles a band of vampires who prey on the homeless and drug addicted in New Orleans. Cybel wanted to lean into the richness, color and texture of New Orleans and was inspired by the thematic colors of purple, green, and gold.

The new Amazon Prime series, A League of Their Own, is an historic drama and comedy about the first women’s professional baseball league in the 1940’s. Though the series has the same name as the 1992 movie, the production team never wanted to replicate the film. Their reference material was all of the historical research, photographs, and real stories from the time. Cybel is interested in 1940’s films, sports, and female athletes so there were many elements in the show that she was excited to explore. She shot three of the episodes and her favorite one, “Over the Rainbow” features one of the characters going to an underground speakeasy. Cybel loves the idea of speakeasies and house parties- a place that is secret, where you can be bold, naughty and intimate, but also have a place for community. They shot the speakeasy scenes in just a day and a half, with two steadicam operators, and played with shutter angles and color palette in the dance sequences, with In The Mood For Love as an inspiration for the colors. As a painter and photographer, Cybel was also grateful she could bring her own aesthetic to the project.

Cybel’s latest project is Beacon 23, a new futuristic sci-fi series set to air in 2023.

Find Cybel Martin: https://www.cybeldp.com/
Instagram & Twitter: @cybeldp

Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: https://camnoir.com/ep180/

Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: www.hotrodcameras.com

The Cinematography Podcast website: www.camnoir.com
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/TheCinematographyPodcast
Facebook: @cinepod
Instagram: @thecinepod
Twitter: @ShortEndz

August 18, 2022

Girl Picture director Alli Haapasalo and cinematographer Jarmo Kiuru, FSC

Girl Picture is a Finnish film about the friendship between three young women as they experience the emotional ups and downs of life as they transition from teenagers to women. Director Alli Haapasalo felt the English title perfectly described the finite time of girls who are trying to figure out their own life’s picture and who are developing an identity as women through their friendship. The film follows the girls as they chat and hang out over a few nights together during the dark winter in Finland.

Sex, sexual identity and finding pleasure is also a theme in Girl Picture. It was important to Alli to depict the young women discussing and exploring their sexuality in mature ways rather than with shame or drama. So much of coming of age is not just about finding who you are, but what you want and need. In the sex scenes, Alli worked with an intimacy coordinator, chose not to show nudity and to portray the characters asking for consent in natural, casual ways.

Cinematographer Jarmo Kiuru had worked together with Alli on three previous projects. For Girl Picture, they wanted to find a way to bring the energy and movement of being a teenager, and also wanted a natural, documentary feel, so the film was shot entirely handheld. Jarmo also decided to shoot the movie in the 4:3 aspect ratio. He felt that 4:3 not only frames the face better, giving the film a more intimate feeling, but he also wanted to show how the world is limited by parents and other rules when you’re a teenager.

Girl Picture won the Outfest Grand Jury Award for Outstanding Performance in an International Narrative Feature and also won the World Cinema Audience Award at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival.

Girl Picture is in limited theatrical release and will be available to stream in the fall.

Find Alli Haapasalo: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm1641519/

Find Jarmo Kiuru: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DoPJarmoKiuru
Instagram & Twitter: @jarmokiuru

Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: https://camnoir.com/ep179/

Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: www.hotrodcameras.com

The Cinematography Podcast website: www.camnoir.com
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/TheCinematographyPodcast
Facebook: @cinepod
Instagram: @thecinepod
Twitter: @ShortEndz