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Sundance Cinematographers Name Their Favorite DPs: Roger Deakins, Gordon Willis and More

By Max O'Connell | Indiewire January 24, 2014 at 12:34PM

As part of our "How I Shot That" series, Indiewire asked Sundance cinematographers to list their favorite directors of photography.
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As part of our How I Shot That series, Indiewire asked cinematographers with films at this year's Sundance to name their favorite directors of photography (no surprise that Roger Deakins, Harris Savides and Gordon Willis are mentioned quite a bit).

Here they list some of their favorite cinematographers (and explain why):

"I really enjoyed the film 'Armadillo' in part due to the cinematic moments Lars Skree captured away from the frontline. I was incredibly intimidated and excited when I had the opportunity to assist him a few years later on an Afghanistan shoot. He quickly put me at ease and was constantly offering to teach as we worked, which is very rare during a shoot. I hope I'll get to work with him again!" -- Cinematographer Rachel Beth Anderson ("E-Team")

"Can I just give you a small list? Conrad Hall, Gordon Willis, and Harris Savides will live as legends in my eyes forever. I respect and appreciate the choices they've made to create amazing bodies of work. I look up to them for inventing new aesthetics for every film and taking risks to help tell their stories. In recent years, I also admire Chivo and Hoyta Van Hoytema. These guys have a touch for creating looks that give their films so much depth and texture while maintaining a subtle hand on the images" -- Cinematographer Christopher Blauvelt ("Low Down") 

"I must say that Harris Savides was always on the top for me. He was a master with available and ambient light and was not afraid of darkness. I could watch 'Birth' over and over again and constantly marvel at the mastery of his work. I am huge fan of Eric Gautier's as well." -- Cinematographer Bobby Bukowski ("Infinity Polar Bear")

"Vilmos Zsigmond, ASC. For all the reasons you can think of." -- Cinematographer James Chressanthis ("Cesar's Last Fast")

Low Down

"I have so many! If I had to name one, recently, I've really enjoyed the work of Sean Bobbitt, BSC. His handheld camerawork and simple, straightforward approach to lighting is something I really admire. Every movie he does is an immersive, textured and energetic visual experience." -- Cinematographer Alex Disenhof ("Fishing Without Nets")

"Gordon Willis. Why? 'Annie Hall,' 'Manhattan,' and 'All the President's Men.'" -- Cinematographer John Guleserian ("Song One")

"This is a hard question because how am I to say that Jack Cardiff is better than Douglas Slocombe or that Roger Deakins is better than Lance Accord? They are all my heroes. That said, I think that Sven Nykvist is my all time favorite cinematographer. There's just something about his minimalism and use of soft light that lulls me into a hypnotic trance every time. Though he worked with countless amazing directors I look at his collaboration with Ingmar Bergman and I dream of having a similar lifelong creative partnership." -- Cinematographer Jay Hunter ("Life After Beth")

"I don't have one favorite cinematographer. I watch a lot of films and I learn something from each. From every movie I learn what I like, what I don't like, what works best and what doesn't. We live in a time when everything is shot, there's a camera and a screen every place you go, all the time. People film their newborn babies, and also political revolutions, on their phones. And I sit and watch and learn from all of it." -- Cinematographer Shachar Langlev ("Alive Inside: A Story & Memory of Music")

Read More: 5 Tips From Master Cinematographer Gordon Willis

"I like Derek Cianfrance's work. He is an awesome cinematographer who has the vision to also pull off being a director, of both documentaries and narratives." -- Cinematographer Rex Miller ("Private Violence")

"Sean Bobbitt, BSC. I love his aesthetic and his simple approach to lighting. Everything I see him work on is shot beautifully. His eye for composition is amazing. I particularly love his work and approach to "The Place Beyond the Pines." That film was so well done and executed so simply. Nothing grandiose in the tools used, just very thoughtful work. It's inspiring because it shows us that anyone can do it. A small budget might present some limitations, but all limitations can be overcome with creativity and thoughtful filmmaking. If the story is there, and it's great, no budget is too small. I feel the same way about Bob Yeoman, ASC." -- Cinematographer Topher Osborn ("Dear White People")

"Roger Deakins' shot economy is really quite stunning. I absolutely love Emmanuel Lubezki's work with Terrence Malick. I'm also a big fan of younger DPs Autumn Durald and Bradford Young." -- Cinematographer Andrew Droz Palermo ("Rich Hill")

"I have a lot of favorite cinematographers, never really can land on calling one my favorite. But I gravitate towards cinematographers who have a versatile style and let the story and characters of each film depict what the aesthetics will be. It's what I strive for in myself. Lance Acord, Matthew Libatique and Rodrigo Prieto are a few." -- Cinematographer Brett Pawlak ("Hellion")

"This is always a hard one, and changes frequently. Certainly Roger Deakins has always been a big influence, as well as Lance Accord and the late Harris Savides. But I'm super impressed by Greg Fraser's recent films and Mihai Malaimare Jr's work on 'The Master.'" -- Cinematographer Sean Porter ("Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter")

"Harris Savides. I love everything about his work, from his compositions, to his lighting, to the photochemical and exposure manipulations he used. Always effortlessly beautiful, Harris' cinematography also drew you into the films he shot in the best possible way." -- Cinematographer Ben Richardson ("Happy Christmas")

"Gordon Willis is my favorite because he expressed the vision of so many different auteurs and defined the era of 70's cinema just as much as the directors and writers who were part of that movement." -- Cinematographer and director Andrew Rossi ("Ivory Tower")

"Its probably cliché to say [Roger] Deakins, but his effortless play with light and shadow, ability to consistently create shots that tell so much, and still be so jaw droppingly gorgeous is something to be studied and admired." -- Cinematographer Ryan Samul ("Cold In July")

This article is related to: How I Shot That, Sundance 2014, Sundance, Cinematography, Filmmaker Toolkit: Production





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