Sundance 2018 Panel: “Indie Episodic – The Adulterers”

Cinematographers Zack Schamberg and Darin Quan and AC moderator and ASC associate member Jay Holben. Photo for AC by Danna Kinsky
At the Canon Creative Studio on Main St. in Park City, cinematographers Darin Quan and Zack Schamberg discuss their visual approach to this project in a creative storytelling space that’s new to the Fest.

A new category for the Sundance Film Festival in 2018 is “Indie Episodic,” recognizing the wide scope of work being done in web series today.

Photo by Alex Sax, courtesy of Canon

At the Canon Creative Studio, AC hosted cinematographers Darin Quan and Zack Schamberg of The Adulterers, a show created by actor-writer-directors Tonya Glanz and Chris Robert.

The series is an intimate slice-of-life look at a couple having an extramarital affair. Not as risqué as one might expect, The Adulterers looks at the moments after the coitus, in which the two interact as a couple growing closer yet trying not to fall in love.

The panel discussed the trials and tribulations of modern-day independent web series production: small crews, fast production schedules and limited equipment.

Schamberg, who photographed five of the six episodes of the series that screened at the festival, studied to be a director, but happened into the crew on another web series called High Maintenance – which would eventually be bought by HBO. When the show was purchased by the cable network, it became a union production, and Schamberg was inducted into the camera guild as an operator, which is where he primarily works now. Regarding The Adulterers, he discusses keeping the setups simple, yet effective. Working carefully with natural light and the environment to be able to shoot multiple six-minute episodes in one day.

Photo by Alex Sax, courtesy of Canon

Quan started out as a musician before shifting into production. He shot the sixth, and longest episode, of The Adulterers and also co-directed it with Glanz and Robert. Quan discusses approaching the production like a stage play — allowing the scenes to play out for the audience with the camera as a virtual proscenium; forgoing fancy photography or camera moves to maintain the integrity of the performance.

Although not on the panel, co-creator, writer, director and star Tonya Glanz was in the audience and also fields a question. 

This panel discussion was live streamed via the AC Facebook page and can be seen here. (Note that this re-post version of the video below has been slightly edited due to technical issues encountered during the live stream. Otherwise, the content is the same.)

Go to our main Sundance page to find other discussions held at the Canon Creative Studio. 

You'll find a feature story on this project here.

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