The latest issue of American Cinematographer is here with a cover story on the fright film hit It: Chapter Two. Notes AC editor-in-chief and publisher Stephen Pizzello, “Upon its release in 2017, It (full story here) resonated with both critics and audience members, triggering a new wave of coulrophobia — a persistent and irrational fear of clowns.
It Chapter Two has arrived to incite a fresh outbreak of anxieties. The sequel’s cinematographer, ASC member Checco Varese, offers little solace to anyone still recovering from the first movie: ‘It was a heartwarming coming-of-age story with an evil clown,’ Varese told AC’s Canada-based correspondent, Mark Dillon, during the latter’s set visit at Pinewood Toronto Studios ‘In this one, we don’t have the heartwarming part.’” (AC subscribers can read this full story here.)
Also for the October issue “intrepid contributor Fred Schruers was welcomed to the set of the FX series Snowfall by cinematographers Eliot Rockett and Tommy Maddox-Upshaw, who lend moody urgency and stark realism to a saga that dramatizes the early days of the crack-cocaine epidemic in early-1980s Los Angeles.
As Maddox-Upshaw notes, ‘Being a kid who grew up in the ’80s and ’90s in Mattapan, the inner city of Boston, during the crack era, I saw a lot of these same things happen, the drugs and violence in my neighborhood and in my own family.’”
Illegal schemes also spark other coverage in the issue, including the drama Driven, which traces the downfall of entrepreneurial auto designer John DeLorean, and Perpetual Grace LTD, an Epix series that shadows some very resourceful swindlers.
Driven was shot by ASC member Karl Walter Lindenlaub in Puerto Rico, which had to double for San Diego during the 1970s. The shoot was greatly complicated by the arrival of Hurricane Maria, which leveled much of the island. “Shooting in Puerto Rico seemed like a challenge,” Lindenlaub tells AC’s Rachael K. Bosley, “and then, of course, it turned into a much bigger one.” Read this story now here.
On Perpetual Grace LTD, married cinematographers James and Nicole Hirsch Whitaker provide a double dose of artistry and professionalism. “I couldn't imagine working without the Whitakers,” series co-creator Steve Conrad tells AC’s Lauretta Prevost. “They are visual artists. To make a quality [project], you need good intentions and hard work, as well as talent and artistry to distinguish yourself from other films. Jimi and Nicole have a strong work ethic and a calm manner, and they have a tremendous amount of talent.” (You can read this article here.)
This issue’s special focus on lighting is addressed in all of these feature articles and further examined in Shot Craft, which offers a primer on shaping light to create shadows, and in “Lighting a Set”, a key chapter excerpted from Benjamin Bergery’s ASC Press book Reflections: 21 Cinematographers at Workthat offers sage counsel from renowned ASC member Stephen H. Burum.
You’ll get all this and more in the new issue of American Cinematographer.
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