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2012 / 04 — April Issue of American Cinematographer
2012 / 04 — April Issue of American Cinematographer

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The April 2012 issue of American Cinematographer magazine, features a special focus on digital production techniques and a roundup of eye-catching films from the Sundance Film Festival.

The Borgias (Showtime)
Paul Sarossy, BSC, CSC has been behind the camera on both seasons of this Neil Jordan-created series, which examines the sordid history of Rodrigo Borgia's (Jeremy Irons) rise to and abuse of the papacy in 15th century Italy. Sarossy discusses the influence of Renaissance art on the series' look, and shooting with Sony's F35 and Arri's Alexa digital cameras on the show's modular sets, which could be quickly reconfigured to create new spaces. He also details his approach to lighting the vast, dark sets with small, sparse windows that comprise the Vatican interiors, with particular attention paid to the interior of the original St. Peter's Basilica.

Detention (Samuel Goldwyn Films)
Christopher Probst, AC's technical editor, sat down with director Joseph Kahn to discuss their collaboration on this independently financed teen-horror sci-fi comedy, which follows a group of high-school students whose lives are thrown into tumult by the one-two punch of the approaching prom and an outrageous serial killer. Probst dissects his and Kahn's intricate blocking, the film's M��bius-strip narrative and tackling the production's daunting lighting demands while working with a micro budget.

Sundance Film Festival
AC once again bundles up for the bracing clime of Park City, Utah, to be on hand for this premier gathering of filmmakers and cineastes. With a team of editors and writers canvassing the festival's many screens, AC offers a survey of some of the most visually impressive work to make a splash at this year's festival.

Boogie Nights, Magnolia Historical
Robert Elswit, ASC recently recounted his experiences on these two features, both directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, to AC contributor Jon Silberg. Released in 1997, Boogie Nights charted Dirk Diggler's (Mark Wahlberg) journey through a fictionalized version of California's pornography industry in the 1970s and ‘80s, as that business went through its own transformation from celluloid to low-cost video. Following that production, Anderson and Elswit tackled the 1999 release Magnolia, which traced the interconnections between a seemingly disparate cast of characters and climaxed in a go-for-broke sequence that still has audiences talking.

The April issue's departments also offers illuminating insights:

  • Production Slate looks at Ken Kelsch, ASC's work on 4:44 Last Day on Earth, directed by Abel Ferrara, and cinematographer Yaron Scharf's work on the feature Footnote, which was Israel's submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.
  • Post Focus goes behind the scenes on director/producer James Cameron's 3-D conversion of the feature Titanic.
  • Filmmakers' Forum offers an account from Haskell Wexler, ASC and Stephen Latty regarding mixing acquisition formats to document last year's International Cinematography Summit Conference.
  • ASC Close-Up spotlights Society member Alar Kivilo, whose credits include the features A Simple Plan, Hart's War, The Ice Harvest, The Lake House, The Lookout, The Blind Side and Bad Teacher.