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Filtered by Topic: Cinematography

Night is not so dark

Some documentaries have found a home in the Visions program; one of them is the film Night by Lawrence Johnston (pictured here).  This film offers an interesting look at people's views about night; its meaning and effect on the human experience.

After the film, Thom Powers (RTR programmer) asked: How do you construct a film like this? Johnston said he was inspired by his love of photography.  He wanted to make a cinematic film, which had photographic vision.  Johnston shot the film continuously over a year. What is an amazing aspect of this film is...


It has been almost seven years since I landed on the shores of "the free world" in my rickety boat and now we all find that the torch the lady on the Hudson holds has never burnt more feebly. As a Muslim filmmaker from India I have been honored to have the current US regime re-classify me “an alien with extraordinary abilities.” This is a real Department of Homeland Security category also known as the O-1 visa.

Interestingly, I was entering fairest Halifax in Canada on the day that Toronto...


Most docs at TIFF play in Real to Reel. But a few turn up in other sections. The Festival's recent announcement of its Visions line-up includes the doc Night from the acclaimed Australian director Lawrence Johnston. He's attended TIFF before with the doc Eternity (1994) and the fiction feature Life (1996) which won the FIPRESCI International Critics Prize. In Night, he combines dazzling imagery with interviews reflecting on the wonder and mystery that occurs between sunset and sunrise.

Blindsight has its world premiere today at TIFF, garnering possibly the loudest and longest applause of any Real to Reel film so far at the festival. The film's director, Lucy Walker (background), documented the amazing story of six blind Tibetan children attempting to climb a 22,000 foot peak near mount Everest in 2004. The children were led by their teacher, Sabriye Tenberken, who is also visually impaired, and Erik Weihenmayer, a blind man who climbed to the top of Mount Everest.

Filled with emotion, struggle, triumph and a rousing rendintion of...


Ghosts of Cite Soleil (right) didn´t have months or years of pre-production behind it when we started shooting. There was no production company. There was no extensive preparing for the great mission an undertaking like this film could be. There was the prepared desire to do a certain kind of film in the right setting and there was the sudden unraveling of historic events in Haiti that invited filming and immediate action. There was a clear dramatic line of events waiting to happen.  And then there was the...


I love cinema verite, and Blindsight called for combining verite with interview, a rich mix. For verite scenes it's a sine qua non that the cinematographer needs to have as much patience as I do to let things unfurl in front of the camera.

[Right: Sabriye Tenberken in Blindsight]

Some DPs think it's a set-it-up- and-shoot-it-quick-and- go-for-a-beer deal, and how much do I wish it were that easy, but alas anything I've ever directed that was worth watching has required a more painstaking approach. Real life is...


I first met Wyatt Troll,  my director of photography on Kurt Cobain  About A Son, more than a decade ago when we were both starting out in production.  We were both making music videos - I was an Executive Producer at a company that made low budget clips for indie rock bands and Wyatt was a DP and photographer just starting to make a name for himself.

Flash forward to last spring as I was thinking about who should shoot this film and I got in touch...


The slippery fields that are documentary and experimental film have been flooded–dare I say littered– with theoretical posturings, both having been debated ad infinitum.

Bypassing those tired arguments altogether, I will simply list the remarkable (amount of) documentaries in this year’s Wavelengths programme. In the traditional sense, the avant-garde has always formed to rebel against mainstream structure, inertia (societal or stylistic), and conservative and extremist politics. And sometimes the politics of the image alone were (and are in face of preposterous “film is dead” current...


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