Clubhouse Conversations – Russian Doll

In this new 59-minute episode, interviewer Patrick Cady, ASC talks to cinematographer Ula Pontikos, BSC (below) about her camerawork in Season 2 of this wry, mysteriously complex Netflix series.

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In the show, surly, self-destructive game developer Nadia (Natasha Lyonne, also series co-creator and a frequent episode director) is trapped in a time loop, re-living the same day over and over again. The loop is restarted by her death, which takes place in numerous inventive ways as she learns to “level up” and extend her time in order to unlock her predicament.

Supported by Arri Rental during production in New York City, Pontikos employed Sony Venice cameras paired with Leica, Baltar and Super Baltar lenses. Post was handled at Company 3.

In this interview, the cinematographer details her close collaboration with Lyonne, the complexity of shooting a non-linear time-travel narrative, and working on location in the Big Apple, among many other subjects

A native of Poland, Pontikos is a graduate of the National Film & Television School in London. Her feature debut was the award-winning Weekend (which bowed at SWSX in March of 2011), followed by Second Coming, Lilting (which won the Sundance Cinematography Award in 2014) and Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool.

Her other series credits include episodes of Glue, The Game, Humans, Marcella and Three Woman.

She was invited to join the British Society of Cinematographers in 2015.

Interviewer Patrick Cady was raised in rural New York and attended Ithaca College, later studying cinematography and directing at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. “My middle-school teachers encouraged me that a country kid could actually end up working in the movie business,” he told American Cinematographer. “I then learned from a slew of wonderful cinematographers in the Nineties when I was a gaffer. Sol Negrin, ASC and [honorary ASC member] Larry Parker have mentored me in both film and family.” 

His career took a turn in 2000 after shooting his first feature, director Karen Kusama’s award-winning drama Girlfight.

His extensive television credits include Cold Case, Make It or Break It, Suits, Rizzoli & Isles, Body of Proof, Betrayal, Rectify and Bosch. He earned a 2018 Emmy Award nomination for his work on the series Insecure. He has been a member of the ASC since 2011.


You’ll find all episodes in our ASC Clubhouse Conversations discussion series here.

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