I connected with Stephen Lighthill, ASC, just after it was announced that American Film Institute alumni had won all three spots in the narrative category of the 42nd Student Academy Awards competition, an unprecedented sweep. Stephen is the chairman of the cinematography department at AFI. Our conversation centered on the impact of the technological evolution in the real world of production as well as in the world of education.
When I caught up with Terry Stacey, ASC, he was in the midst of shooting his fourth film with Lasse Hallström, A Dog’s Purpose. Other recent assignments include Special Correspondents, a comedy directed by Ricky Gervais; Elvis & Nixon, with Michael Shannon as Elvis and Kevin Spacey as Nixon; and The Confirmation, a modern-day retelling of Bicycle Thieves. Terry also took over from cinematographer Adam Arkapaw for the final leg of McFarland, USA, and recently filmed a pilot called Flesh and Bone, about the dark side of the New York ballet world.
Crescenzo Notarile, ASC, AIC, is based in Los Angeles, but his latest project, the new season of the Fox TV series Gotham, has brought him to the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn. Gotham centers on the character of Commissioner Gordon in the time before Batman comes to the big city, and much of the show is filmed at Steiner Studios, at the former Brooklyn Navy Yard, and throughout the borough.
Spending time in Williamsburg has reminded Crescenzo of his first job as a camera operator: for Tonino Delli Colli, AIC, on Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in America (1984), an epic production that was filmed partially in Brooklyn. Crescenzo recalls that he landed the gig because he was working as an on-staff camera assistant for Dino De Laurentiis at the time, and one of the film’s producers, Fred Caruso, also worked there. Crescenzo admits he may have exaggerated the fluency of his Italian to help seal the deal.
I connected with Russ Alsobrook, ASC, as he was looking forward to the start of production on season five of the Fox TV series New Girl. The season premiere will be his 99th episode of the show, a comedy that revolves around a quirky teacher (played by Zooey Deschanel) who shares an L.A. apartment with three men. It’s an ensemble show that is generally shot “single-camera style,” Russ says.