Interviewer Patti Lee, ASC and cinematographer Tami Reiker, ASC discuss shooting this intense period ensemble drama directed by Regina King (both filmmakers seen below), as it depicts a unique moment in time when four iconic figures — Cassius Clay, Malcolm X, Jim Brown and Sam Cooke — shared the evening of February 25, 1964 in deep conversation following the boxer’s triumphant title bout over Sonny Liston.
Based on screenwriter Kemp Powers’ 2013 stage play of the same name, One Night in Miami finds each of these four men on the verge of a major transition: Clay was about to become a Muslim and take the name Muhammad Ali; Malcolm X was preparing to break from the Nation of Islam and start his own organization; Cooke was pivoting toward socially relevant songs such as “A Change Is Gonna Come,” and Brown was about to retire from football and pursue an acting career.
Though brief, the film's fight scenes depicting Clay's wins were intricately planned for maximum visual impact.
Reiker employed two Alexa 65 cameras and an Alexa Mini LF, as well as Arri Prime DNA lenses, which she chose for their speed, softness and falloff. She used a Tiffen Bronze Glimmerglass 1 filter on the lens throughout the shoot. “It added a warmth to the overall feel and also a warmth to the skin tones,” she says.
AC’s complete production story on Miami, featuring Reiker and King, can be found here.
Tami Reiker is perhaps best known for her work in director Lisa Cholodenko’s indie feature High Art (for which the cinematographer earned an Film Independent Spirit Award nomination), director Gina Prince-Bythewood’s romantic drama Beyond the Lights, and her award-winning work for the HBO series Carnivàle. For her photography in the stylish 2003 pilot, “Milfay,” she became the first woman to earn an American Society of Cinematographers Award for Outstanding Achievement, as well as the first woman to be nominated by the ASC.
Reiker was then honored with the 2005 Vision Award during the Women in Film Crystal Awards ceremony. That same year, Reiker was invited to become a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Reiker was invited to join the ASC in 2006, recommended by members Emmanuel Lubezki, Jeff Cronenweth and Francis Kenny. “The great thing about the Clubhouse is that you get to meet some of the incredible legends of filmmaking — people you’ve worshipped from afar for years — and, at the same time, catch up with old friends,” she noted in an “ASC Close-Up” profile (AC April, 2015).
Her other recent credits include the superhero series Cloak & Daggar, the pilot to the reboot of Charmed, and the stylish action film The Old Guard (also directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood).
Born in Los Angles, interviewer Patti Lee attended he UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. Her break came when she was hired as a gaffer on Season 3 of The Bernie Mac Show and finished Seasons 4 and 5 as director of photography. In the decade since, Lee has served as director of photography on more than 25 television shows, pilots and features. In 2018, she made history as the first woman ever nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Cinematography for a Multi-Camera Series for her work on the television series Superior Donuts.