Professional life

Chris Marker left us What do you mean, you never know?
By Gérard de Battista, AFC

Chris Marker

May 1985, filming Level Five on Okinawa, Japan’s southernmost island. Extremely small team: Marker and me, him with a Walkman-style tape recorder modified by Antoine Bonfanti, and me with an Arri 16 SR, a Zeiss 11-110mm zoom lens, a backpack containing a magazine, film, and changing bag.

Christopher Challis, BSC (1919 – 2012)
By Marc Salomon, AFC consultant

Christopher Challis

In June, we announced the death of British director of photography Christopher (Chris) Challis, BSC, on May 31, 2012. He was 93 years old. Marc Salomon, a consulting member of the AFC and “doctor of biofilmography”, decided to explore this DoP’s career and the work of this cinematographer who was respected by his peers, this good-humoured and charming character, who accomplished over sixty films over his career spanning more than four decades. (Photo BSC)

Press release from French Societies, ACID, AFC, ARP, CST, FICAM, SACD, SRF, about Silver screens
Paris, le 12 mars 2012

Professional life

The professional organizations ACID, AFC, ARP, CST, FICAM, SACD, SRF welcome the decision rendered by the President of the CNC on the issue of silver screens during the last colloquium of the CST on March 7, 2012.
Movie theatres have been given five years to update their equipment in order to ensure that films are shown in the best possible conditions and that their integrity and the work of the director and his technical assistants is respected.
We are pleased that this shared cause has been broadly taken up and that artistic and cultural interests have prevailed over profits.

2009 French production stays at high level

Figures and statistics

In 2009, motion picture production activity remained at a high level, close to that of 2007. 230 features had CNC regulatory approval, 4.2% less than in 2008 (- 10 films). This slight decline only concerned French-initiated films (182 films in 2009, against 196 in 2008). On the other hand, the number of features funded by a majority of foreign monies increased slightly (+ 4 films). In 2009, French production counted 195 features, 30 documentaries and 5 animation films.

Jacques Baratier, or carefree irreverence
by Jean-Michel Humeau

Jacques Baratier

Director Jacques Baratier left us very discretely, almost as if he had hid for a joke, or as if he was worried about the disorder that would result. He was there, but he still is, to mark his difference by his humor, his impatience, his pleasure in loving and being loved without allegiance or dependence, convinced that he could, that he would enlighten his era again and always with that elegance, lightness, carefree irreverence, and extravagance mismatched with the conventional milieu of French cinema.

Wild Grass
by Alain Resnais, cinematography by Eric Gautier

Henri Alekan

With Andre Dussolier, Sabine Azema, Emmanuelle Devos, Mathieu Amalric

French release: November 4, 2009

For our second collaboration (after Hearts released in 2006), Alain Resnais offered me the film Wild Grass (the title is his), which refers to those blades of grass that manage to grow in a crack in the asphalt of the street or in a stone wall, where there should not be any life at all. Somewhat echoing his characters, who fall madly in love, without knowing each other...

Jack Cardiff
by Marc Salomon, AFC’s consultant member

Jack Cardiff

The British cinematographer and director Jack Cardiff died at his home in Cambridgeshire, Kent, on April 22, at the age of ninety-four. Passing away in his 95th year, Jack Cardiff, became during his lifetime, a legendary cinematographer the mere mention of whose name immediately evokes in the cinephile several major works shot in Technicolor.
Among the legendary films photographed by Cardiff, excluding three shot in with Michael Powell, we can list Under Capricorn for Hitchcock (with Ingrid Bergman), Pandora and the Flying Dutchman for Lewin (with Ava Gardner and James Mason), The African Queen for Huston (with Katherine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart), The Barefoot Contessa by Mankiewicz (with Ava Gardner and Humphrey Bogart), The Prince and the Showgirl by Laurence Olivier (with Marilyn Monroe), not to mention War and Peace by King Vidor (in VistaVision) and The Vikings by Richard Fleischer (in Technirama).

Foreign film "tax rebate" approved by the French National Assembly

Figures and statistics

Developed by the FICAM (Federation of Cinema and Audiovisual Industries) and the French National Film Commission, an amendment favoring foreign producers shooting in France has just been adopted unanimously by Parliament in the framework of the 2009 Finance Act.

This measure, adapted to the budget of foreign — including American — productions is in the spirit of existing European incentive systems. It is a tax rebate in favor of the executive producer established in France participating in the production of foreign works (fiction and animation) that are not eligible for financial support by the CNC (French National Center for Cinema).

Alain Levent, the acrobat
by N. T. Binh

Alain Levent

It is with sadness that the AFC has learned the passing of director of photography Alain Levent, AFC.
Among the many stories in memory of our colleague and friend, here is one by N. T. Binh, a member of the editorial board of the magazine Positif, as written by Yann Tobin.

David Watkin – 1925-2008
by Marc Salomon, AFC consultant member

In memory of

He was associated with the renewal of British cinematography in the 1960’s, along with his colleagues Walter Lassaly, Billy Williams and Chris Menges - all of whom had done their apprenticeship outside the traditional path of assisting and operating – when he started working with Richard Lester and Tony Richardson for Woodfall Film Productions *. Watkin quickly imposed a new way of lighting, favoring indirect light, broad and diffuse sources, and backlighting, which would quickly become his trademark.

Sven Nykvist
by Dominique Le Rigoleur, director of photography, AFC

Sven Nykvist

I met Sven on Schlöndorff’s A Love of Swann, in 1983. This encounter was to me like one of those amazing gifts that filmmaking sometimes unexpectedly gives us. Like Bertolucci with Storaro, Truffaut with Almendros, Bergman and his films always seemed to follow Sven. When you met him, you met more than just a man. Dominique Le Rigoleur, Volker Schlöndorff, Sven Nykvist, Balthazar, chef machiniste (photo Georges Pierre) This was for me one of the most wonderful and enriching experiences of my life. Sven wanted the cameraman to do (...)

Sven Nykvist
by Henri Colomer, director

Sven Nykvist

I trained with Nykvist after graduating from IDHEC. His simplicity and his wisdom were heartbreaking; everything was related with him, and he was poles apart from the histrionics of filmmaking, passing on his knowledge without affectation nor ulterior motive.

Sven Nykvist by Woody Allen

Sven Nykvist

« I was greatly saddened to hear that Sven Nykvist died. He was a brilliant photographer and a wonderful man. My whole young adulthood was full of dazzling cinematic images that he was responsible for. It was an honor to have worked with him and a treat to have spent time in his company. »

Sven Nykvist
by Philippe Houdart, cameraman, AFCF

Sven Nykvist

My intention is not, via this short text, to pay a tribute to Nykvist’s artistic and technical qualities, as they have been, in the past decades, internationally recognized and analyzed by specialists much more qualified than I am; I simply wish to touch on those exceptional human qualities of his that would transform any encounter with him into unforgettable memories.

Guy Green
by Marc Salomon

Guy Green

The English director and cinematographer Guy Green died on September 15th 2005 in Beverly Hills, shortly before his 92nd birthday.

(Marc Salomon is AFC consultant member)