AFC’s Conversations

Tommy Maddox-Upshaw

Tommy Maddox-Upshaw, ASC, speaks about his cinematography on series "The Man Who Fell To Earth", by Alex Kurtzman
"The interstellar migrant", by François Reumont

Extending rather than recreating the cult film by Nicholas Roeg, The Man who Fell to Earth – in which David Bowie plays an alien on Earth looking for a way to save his own planet – the eponymous TV series is a readaptation of the original novel that introduces a good dose of modernity. The impeccable British actor of Nigerian origin Chiwetel Ejiofor (Dirty Pretty Things, 12 Years a Slave...) lends his features to the visitor from another galaxy, while Noémie Harris (the mother in the film Moonlight) plays the Earthling who will be forced to accompany him on his mission. The screenplay by Alex Kurtzman and Jenny Lumet of course seizes the opportunity to show the social reality of present-day America, like an echo of the science-fiction short story that centers the theme of the foreigner.
Tommy Maddox-Upshaw ASC is the mind behind the images. He discusses with us the challenges involved in filming this series, a Spanish-British coproduction, which has been broadcast since April 2022 on Showtime. (FR)
Alain Marcoen

Director of photography Alain Marcoen, SBC, talks about his work on "Two Days, One Night", by the Dardenne Brothers
Under the sun of Liège

Alain Marcoen, SBC, and camera operator Benoît Dervaux form the team that is the backbone of the Dardenne Brothers’ films. With the release of Two Days, One Night — their most minimalistic film yet in terms of the screenplay, yet also perhaps their most visually elaborate — the chief operator from Liege shares with us what it is like to work with the Brothers. (FR)
Alain Marcoen

Cinematographer Alain Marcoen, SBC, speaks about his work on "Le Gamin au vélo (The Kid with a Bike)" directed by Jean-Pierre et Luc Dardenne
64th Cannes Film Festival, Competition

Alain Marcoen, SBC, studied at the IAD Brussels, but not being very attracted to the pressures a camera assistant has to face, he preferred to start out as a lighting technician. Getting some work on documentaries and drama, he met Jean-Claude Riga for whom he started to operate.
Being from Liège, he quickly got accustomed to shooting films that deal with the social problems of large steel city. In collaboration with operator Benoît Dervaux, another long time crew member of the Dardenne brothers, they signed for the photography of all their films since La Promesse.
Aurélien Marra

Interview with cinematographer Aurélien Marra about "Two of Us", by Filippo Meneghetti

Selected in competition in Camerimage in the "Cinematographer’s Debuts" and "Director’s Debuts" categories, which are open to first and second films, Two of Us, by Filippo Meneghetti, tells the turbulent love affair between two retired women. At once a romance, a drama, and even at times a thriller, this film was cinematographer Aurélien Marra’s second feature film. The film is mainly set under the autumn sun in the south of France, with interiors shot in studio in Luxembourg. (FR)
Claire Mathon
Claire Mathon
Claire Mathon

Cinematographer Claire Mathon, AFC, discusses her work on Alain Guiraudie’s film “Staying Vertical”

Filming nature and man’s relationship to it is one of the bases of Alain Guiraudie’s filmography. After Stranger by the Lake, which won the prize for Best Director at Un certain regard at Cannes in 2013, the director shot his fifth feature-length film in the Lozère, the Marais Poitevin, and Brest. Staying Vertical, a movie about wolves, paternity, and loss of status is in competition for the Golden Palm at the 69th annual Cannes Film Festival this year.
Kate McCullough

Kate McCullough, ISC, explains her choices for the photography of Colm Bairéad’s "The Quiet Girl"
As good as gold

Selected in the “Director’s debut” competition, The Quiet Girl, by Colm Bairéad, is a drama set in rural Ireland in the 1980s, which depicts the life of a young girl whose troubled parents send her to spend the summer with a couple of cousins. This film plays a lot on the unspoken and on a false appearance of distance to better reveal the many secrets at the heart of the story. This very touching portrait of early adolescence is played by the young Catherine Clinch, who radiates talent on screen. It is also the second Gaelic-language film for the Irish director of photography Kate McCullough; the first was the very beautiful Arracht, by Tom Sullivan (at Camerimage in 2020). Note that Kate also has a special link with Poland, since she attended the Łódź film school... (FR)
Chris Menges

Interview with Cinematographer Chris Menges, BSC, ASC
By François Reumont for the AFC

Chris Menges, BSC, ASC, is the only cinematographer in the world to have won not only two Oscars for Cinematography in 1984 and 1986 (The Killing Fields and The Mission, both by Roland Joffé), but also the Grand Prix du Jury at Cannes, in 1988, for A World Apart, which he directed and which was shot by Peter Biziou, and which also won (in a tie) Best Actress for its three star actresses.
Amine Messadi

Virginie Surdej, SBC, and Amine Messadi, TSC, talk about their work on "Haut et fort", by Nabil Ayouch

Belgian Cinematographer Virginie Surdej, SBC, won the Magritte for Best Image for Insyriated, by Philippe Van Leeuw, AFC. Amine Messadi, TSC, Tunisian cinematographer, signed the pictures of Sortilège, the feature film by Tunisian Alaeddine Slim, presented at the Directors’ Fortnight in 2019. After working together on Razzia and Much Loved, it is for a third collaboration with Nabil Ayouch that the two cinematographers meet again to film Casablanca Beats (Haut et fort), presented in the Official Competition at the 74th Cannes festival. (BB)
Eponine Momenceau

Cinematographer Eponine Momenceau discusses her work on Jacques Audiard’s film "Dheepan"

His first feature film, See How They Fall, was screened at Cannes, and three of Jacques Audiard’s subsequent films were selected to be in the Official Competition: A Self-Made Hero, Best Screenplay in 1996, A Prophet, Grand Jury Prize in 2009, and Rust and Bone, in 2012. For his seventh feature film, Dheepan, which is in the Official Competition of the 68th Cannes Film Festival, Jacques Audiard chose an unknown aspiring actor to play the lead role, like Tahar Rahim and Reda Kateb in A Prophet(BB)
Reed Morano
Robby Müller

Interview with Grimm Vandekerckhove, winner of the 2024 Robby Müller Award

The Rotterdam International Film Festival, in association with the NSC (Netherlands Society of Cinematographers) celebrates the memory of great cinematographer Robby Müller every year by awarding the prize that bears his name to an up-and-coming filmmaker. In past years, recipients of the award have included Diego Garcia (a Mexican cinematographer who worked with Darius Khondji, AFC, ASC, on the series “Too Old to Die Young” in 2020, and Hélène Louvart, AFC, in 2023. This year, it is the turn of Belgian cinematographer Grimm Vandekerckhove to be recognized. We discuss this award with him, and particularly his work with Belgian director Bas Devos for whom he has shot two films (Ghost Tropic in 2019 and Here in 2023). (FR)
Robby Müller

Interview with director and cinematographer Claire Pijman, NSC, about "Living the Light - Robby Müller"
"An artist diary", by François Reumont for the AFC

Dutch cinematographer and director Claire Pijman’s touching and original documentary paints a portrait of cinematographer Robby Müller, NSC, the legendary partner of Wim Wender, Jim Jarmush, and Lars von Trier. The film was constructed from personal archival footage provided to the director by Robby Müller himself during the last years of his life. Because he was unable to express himself as a result of his illness, his testament to us is given via this filmed diary, shot with a Super 8. Many filmmakers share their memories of Müller during the film.