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2008 / 01 — January Issue of American Cinematographer
2008 / 01 — January Issue of American Cinematographer

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There Will Be Blood

Robert Elswit, ASC reteamed with director Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Punch-Drunk Love) on this audacious period drama about an obsessive oil prospector (Daniel Day-Lewis) whose misanthropic nature leads him into conflicts with a Bible-thumping preacher (Paul Dano) and oil-company executives at the turn of the 20th century. Both Elswit and Anderson gives AC executive editor Stephen Pizzello full accounts on the ambitious project, which presented a variety of practical and philosophical challenges.

Sweeney Todd

Dariusz Wolski, ASC was behind the camera on director Tim Burton's screen adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's acclaimed Broadway musical, which relates the infamous legend of bloodthirsty London barber Benjamin Barker, a.k.a. Sweeney Todd (Johnny Depp), who sets up a sinister partnership with his associate Mrs. Lovett (Helena Bonham Carter). Wolski analyze his role on the highly stylized and visually lush production, which was filmed entirely on stages at Pinewood Studios in England.

Charlie Wilson's War

Stephen Goldblatt, ASC, recently named Hollywood Cinematographer of the Year at the Hollywood Film Festival, Discusses his work with director Mike Nichols on this dramatic feature starring Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts. The plot is based on the true story of Texas congressman Charlie Wilson (Hanks), whose efforts to assist Afghan rebels in their war with the Soviet Union led to the CIA's largest covert operation. Goldblatt discusses his approach to both the photography on set and the show's digital intermediate in post.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Janusz Kaminski discusses his collaboration with director Julian Schnabel on a film that uses some unique means to tell the true story of Elle editor Jean-Dominique Bauby, who suffered a stroke that left his entire body — save for his left eye — almost completely paralyzed. Kaminski took a break from his work with Steven Spielberg on Indiana Jones 4 to detail his technical approach to the film's challenging narrative, which presents a significant portion of the story from Bauby's paralyzed POV.

ASC Lifetime Achievement Award

Stephen Burum, ASC received the ASC Lifetime Achievement Award at the 22nd Annual ASC Awards ceremony, that was held in Los Angeles on January 26, 2008. The Lifetime Award is the Society's highest honor, presented annually to an individual cinematographer who has demonstrated a commitment to excellence over an entire career. Burum certainly meets the criterium. He earned an ASC Award and an Academy Award nomination for the stunning look he lent to the 1992 feature Hoffa, and received two additional ASC nominations for The Untouchables and The War of the Roses. His other credits include Rumble Fish, Body Double, St. Elmo's Fire, Casualties of War, Carlito's Way, Mission: Impossible and Snake Eyes. Rachael Bosley, AC's senior editor, Pen's a comprehensive overview of Burum's life and work.

The January issue's departments will also offer illuminating insights:

Short Takes offers an interview with filmmakers Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski about their stop-motion film Madame Tutli-Putli, which earned two prizes at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival.

Production Slate offers an interview with Philippe Rousselot, ASC, AFC about his cinematography on the feature The Great Debaters, directed by Academy Award-winning actor Denzel Washington.

Post Focus presents an interview with John Bailey, ASC about his work on the restoration of Terence Malick's visually stunning Days of Heaven, shot by Nestor Almendros, ASC. This section will also feature short articles on Color Symmetry, a suite of plug-ins that allows film "looks" to be emulated within a wide array of animation, graphics and effects packages, and information about PostWorks' new facility Los Angeles facility.

Filmmakers' Forum offers an article by Bill Taylor, ASC about his visual-effects contributions to a videogame company's online promotional campaign.