September 21, 2022

Kays Al-Atrakchi: director, composer, colorist, VFX artist and filmmaker of the upcoming short film, Everbliss Inn

At long last, we welcome longtime friend and multi-hyphenate filmmaker, Kays Al-Atrakchi to the Cinepod!

Kays feels there are film composers who love music and composers who simply love movies. He himself absolutely loves all things film. Born in Florence, Italy, Kays started to get interested in music as a kid and picked up a soundtrack to Dario Argento’s Inferno in a local record store because he liked how the cover looked. It didn’t sound like anything he’d ever heard before, and he decided to listen to more movie soundtracks. Then he bought the soundtrack for John Carpenter’s Escape From New York, and found he could replicate the soundtrack on his keyboard at home. His only connection to Dario Argento and John Carpenter was through the music, since he wasn’t able to see their movies.

As a teen, Kays’ family moved from Italy to Orlando, Florida. He continued to pursue his love of film, music, and composition, and attended Berklee College of Music to learn film scoring. He began scoring student films in Orlando, where he met future friends and collaborators Ben Rock, Dan Myrick, Ben Hershleder, and many others before relocating to Los Angeles. He has composed the soundtracks for several of Ben’s movies, including Alien Raiders. For Kays, composing is more about interpreting someone’s vision and trying to elevate it, and to create through music an emotional connection with the audience.

Kays felt unfulfilled as a filmmaker, so between film scoring jobs, he decided to make his own short, Appntmnt, followed by another short, In Lucidity. For In Lucidity, Kays simply didn’t have the budget to hire someone to create all the visual effects he wanted, so he taught himself how to do all the special effects and color grading by watching YouTube videos. Filmmaking technology has progressed so much, he feels confident that with enough time and self-education, a filmmaker can learn any aspect of moviemaking. Kays loves the collaborative nature of film, but as an independent filmmaker, he finds he has to do the bulk of the work on his projects alone out of necessity rather than a desire to work solo. He enjoys sharing what he’s learned and has created Right Brained Tutorials, a YouTube channel for other filmmakers to learn visual effects.

Kays’ latest short horror directing project, Everbliss Inn, will be streaming in November. Kays wrote, directed, composed the music, color graded, and created the VFX for the film.

You can hear original theme music by Kays throughout The Cinematography Podcast.

Find Kays Alatrakchi: http://musicbykays.com
Filmmaking: http://moviesbykays.com
Instagram: @kaysfilmmaker
YouTube channel: Right Brained Tutorials: https://www.youtube.com/c/RightBrainedTutorials

Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: https://camnoir.com/ep184/

Sponsored by ARRI: https://www.arri.com/en
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

November 16, 2021

Cinematographer Mihai Mălaimare Jr. on shooting the stylized Western film, The Harder They Fall

Cinematographer Miahi Mălaimare Jr. understands the power of images to communicate a feeling right away, and in a more straightforward way than with spoken language. For The Harder They Fall, Mihai discovered that as both a director and a singer-songwriter, Jeymes Samuel communicates through music, and the two enjoyed working together to find the visual language of the film. The Harder They Fall is a mashup of blaxploitation, spaghetti Western and musical in one sprawling and stylish package. Samuel had previously made a shorter Western called They Die By Dawn, but Mihai had never shot a Western before. They were prepping to shoot in March of 2020 in New Mexico, then everything was halted due to the pandemic. Finally, in July of 2020 Jeymes called up Mihai to see if he could be ready to shoot within a few weeks. They headed out to New Mexico and shot the film while under strict COVID protocols.

Both Mihai and Samuel took visual ideas for The Harder They Fall from The Wild Bunch and several Sergio Leone movies. Finding the rhythm within a scene was a huge part of the film. Samuel had a few songs written into the script and would often play music on set. The script was very challenging with several complicated shots, a large cast, dealing with horses, guns, set pieces and period costumes, but Jeymes Samuel and Mihai were able to achieve Samuel’s vision with prep, discussions every night, and many, many rehearsals.

You can watch The Harder They Fall on Netflix.

Mihai recently wrapped the currently untitled HBO drama series about the Lakers in the 1980’s.

Find Mihai Mălaimare Jr. Instagram: @malaimarejr_photography @malaimarejr_cinematography

WIN an autographed copy of Directing Great Television by our recent guest, director Dan Attias! Follow us on Instagram @thecinepod and comment on our post for this episode!

Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: https://camnoir.com//ep148/

Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: www.hotrodcameras.com

Sponsored by Assemble: Assemble has amazing production management software. Use the code cinepod to try a month for free! https://www.assemble.tv/
Be sure to watch our YouTube video of Nate Watkin showing how Assemble works! https://youtu.be/IlpismVjab8

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