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How I Shot That: First-Time Director and DP Crystal Moselle on the Vérité Style of ‘The Wolfpack’

How I Shot That: First-Time Director and DP Crystal Moselle on the Vérité Style of 'The Wolfpack'

The six Angulo brothers have spent their entire lives sequestered from society in an apartment on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Nicknamed “the Wolfpack,” they’re homeschooled and isolated from society by their controlling father. Yet they’re also amazingly smart, perceptive, and creative. With unprecedented access, Moselle manages to capture the incredible family in all their complexity.

Which camera and lens did you use? 
Canon 7d, 5d, and C100

What was the most difficult shot on your movie, and how did you pull it off? When you are capturing documentary material in a vérité style, every shot is difficult because you don’t know what is going to happen next. Everything is the spur of the moment and you have to adapt to the situation quickly. 

I had a very intimate style of shooting. Most of the time it was just me, the subject, and the camera. There are many factors to be thinking about — picture, sound, story. It can get difficult, but as you get used to it you start to flow on an intuitive level.

Who is your favorite cinematographer, and why? I love Rodrigo Prieto. The work he has done with Alejandro González Iñárritu is beautiful. There is a grittiness and intimacy that is perfectly balanced. It can be hard to achieve both of those things at once.

What’s the best film school for an aspiring cinematographer? Or is it necessary? I went to school, but I don’t think it’s completely necessary. I learned most of my skills by working with artists that I respected.

Do you think the shift from film to digital is good? bad? (Or just is?) As a documentary filmmaker, going digital was the best thing for us, because you can shoot endless amounts of footage. The quality of images keeps getting better and the cameras more versatile. I am all for it.

What’s the best career advice you received? You can make money doing the things you love.

What’s the worst advice? 
The worst advice is somebody telling you that your vision is too difficult.

Editor’s Note: The “How I Shot That” series is part of the Indiewire and Canon U.S.A. partnership at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, where we celebrate cinematography at Canon 
Creative Studio on Main Street. Read the entire series here.

READ MORE: 6 Hidden Gems in the 2015 Sundance Film Festival Lineup

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