In this 59-minute episode, director of photography Shawn Kim discusses his work in the final season of this award-winning Netflix crime drama series, in discussion with interviewer James Whitaker, ASC.
Using Sony Venice cameras, Kim (above, center) further enhanced Ozark’s established visual look, employing very shallow depth of field and a neo-noir use of light and shadow.
Shooting 14 episodes in Atlanta over the course of almost as many months, the production contended with not only the often-challenging weather conditions of the region, but ever-changing Covid concerns.
Kim’s career has primarily been comprised of commercials and music videos — shooting hundreds of them for directors including Michel Gondry, Joaquin Phoenix and Roman Coppola, for brands including Nike, T-Mobile and Oakley, and working with artists such as Lady Gaga, Travis Scott, Arcade Fire and Katy Perry.
One of Kim’s first major narrative projects was the inventive Showtime series Kidding, on which Ozark star Jason Bateman was an executive producer. The connection helped lead to the cinematographer joining the production for the show’s fourth and final season, and he credits Bateman — also an exec producer on Ozark — with fostering a rich collaborative relationship that deeply values the show’s visuals.
Kim’s other narrative credits include the features Smiley Face and Straight A's, and the Amazon series Utopia.
Interviewer James Whitaker began his career as director of photography shooting commercials, and he has since shot spots for clients including Nike, Google, Mercedes-Benz, Amazon, Sony and AT&T, among many others. He has also photographed music videos for artists including Jay-Z, Radiohead, Black Eyed Peas, Aphex Twin, The Crystal Method and Carlos Santana.
He segued into photographing features with the indie hit The Cooler, which earned him a Best Cinematography nomination at the Sundance Film Festival. He followed with the short film Everything in This Country Must, which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film, and the segment “Jonathan” — directed by Jordan and Ridley Scott — in All the Invisible Children,produced by UNICEF.
Since then, Whitaker has photographed the features Thank You for Smoking, Running Scared, King of California and Crossing Over,among others; pilots for Breakout Kings and Hostage; and both seasons of the Amazon series Patriot. For his work on the HBO documentary Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, Whitaker was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Cinematography for Nonfiction Programming.
His recent credits include the feature Troop Zero and episodes of the Marvel Studios series Hawkeye.