Monday, February 9, 2009

No Subtitles Necessary

This past weekend Oscar winning cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond was in Chicago speaking with filmmakers and on Sunday holding a master class for students and industry professionals.

That's Vilmos on the left and director and cinematographer Jim Chressanthis on the right at yesterday's master class, and those are my Flashpoint students there in the front row.

There were two events on Saturday. On Saturday morning from 11-2, in an event only open to students and industry professionals, Vilmos and Jim screened clips from their work, discussed their techniques and choices and took questions from the audience. It was really fascinating, especially if you are a filmmaker.

On Saturday evening, in an event open to the public, they screened Jim's film No Subtitles Necessary: Laszlo and Vilmos and took questions from the audience. The film is excellent- it appeared at Cannes last May and is on the festival circuit now. It depicts the friendship between Vilmos and Laszlo Kovacs from their escape from Soviet controlled Hungary in 1956 to their arrival in Hollywood, and how they helped shape the look of American films from the late 60s to today.

After the screening I was lucky enough to get to go out with them and have a drink and talk film. It was my personal highlight of the weekend.

Here's a quick list of some of the films Vilmos and Laszlo has photographed.

McCabe and Mrs. Miller, Deliverance, Scarecrow, The Sugarland Express, Close Encounters of the Third Kind (won the Oscar), The Deer Hunter, Heaven's Gate, Blow Out, The Witches of Eastwick (where Jim Chressanthis was his intern). To date he has shot over 80 films.

Laszlo ( mere 70+ films before his death in 2007)
Targets, Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces, Shampoo, Frances, Ghost Busters, Little Nikita, Say Anything.

This will be the first of several posts about the weekend. More to follow soon.

Peter H