Indie Film Hustle: Cinematographer Jeff Cronenweth, ASC

The Art of Cinematography & David Fincher

Alex Ferrari
December 14, 2021
Indie Film Hustle

Cinematographer Jeff Cronenweth, ASC, is the son of Jordan Cronenweth, ASC, one of the most influential cinematographers in history, most notable for Blade Runner.

He worked with his father as a camera loader and second assistant camera during high school, graduated from the USC School of Cinematic Arts, and worked his way up to first assistant camera and then camera operator until the mid-1990s. He also worked for legendary Swedish cinematographer Sven Nykvist.

The first major motion picture where he acted as a DP was for David Fincher‘s Fight Club. Other notable feature films on which he worked as a DP are One Hour Photo, directed by Mark RomanekK-19: The WidowmakerDown With LoveThe Social NetworkHitchcockThe Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Gone Girl, and recently, Being the Ricardos, written and directed by Aaron Sorkin.

He was nominated twice for an Academy Award for Best Cinematography for his work on Fincher’s The Social Network (2010) and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011).

Listen to the podcast and read the transcript

David Fincher’s Zodiac. Cinema of Investigation and (Mis)Interpretation

Edited by Matthew Sorrento, teacher of film studies at Rutgers University-Camden, and David Ryan, academic director and faculty chair of the Master of Arts of Professional Communication program at the University of San Francisco.

Foreword by Christopher Sharrett

Contributions by Jeremy Carr; Daniel R. Fredrick; Deborah L. Jaramillo; Martin Kevorkian; Rod Lott; Theresa Rodewald; Jake Rutkowski; David Ryan; Christopher Sharrett; Matthew Sorrento; George Toles; Christopher Weedman and Andrew M. Winters.

David Fincher’s Zodiac (2007), written by producer James Vanderbilt and adapted from the true crime works of Robert Graysmith, remains one of the most respected films of the early twenty-first century. As the second film featuring a serial killer (and the first based on fact) by Fincher, Zodiac remains a standout in a varied but stylistically unified career. While connected to this genre, the film also hybridizes the policier genre and the investigative reporter film. And yet, scholarship has largely ignored the film.

This collection is the first book-length work of criticism dedicated to the film. Section One focuses on early influences, while the second section analyzes the film’s unique treatment of narrative. The book closes with a section focusing on game theory, data and hegemony, the Zodiac’s treatment in music, and the use of sound in cinema. By offering new avenues and continuing a few established ones, this book will interest scholars of cinema and true crime along with fans and enthusiasts in these areas.

University Press Copublishing Division / Fairleigh Dickinson University Press
Pages: 274 • Trim: 6 x 9
978-1-68393-326-7 • Hardback • December 15, 2021 • $105.00 • (£81.00)
978-1-68393-327-4 • eBook • December 15, 2021 • $45.00 • (£35.00)
Series: The Fairleigh Dickinson University Press Series in Law, Culture, and the Humanities
Subjects: Performing Arts / Film / History & Criticism, Social Science / Criminology, Performing Arts / Film / Genres / Documentary

More details: Rowman & Littlefield

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Also available from: Amazon, Barnes & Noble

VOIR Interview with Sasha Stone

David Prior on the set of the Voir episode, Summer of the Shark.

Clarence Moye
December 8, 2021
AwardsDaily

Sasha Stone’s episode of Voir, Summer of the Shark, directed by David Prior, is now streaming on Netflix, along with five other film essays: The Ethics of Revenge, The Duality of Appeal, Film vs. Television, by Tony Zhou and Taylor Ramos, But I Don’t Like Him by Drew McWeeney, and Profane and Profound by Walter Chaw.

Listen to the podcast with Sasha Stone about her episode

Watch VOIR on Netflix

VOIR. Season 1: Episode Guide

A collection of essays in praise of cinema from executive producers David Fincher (“The Social Network,” “Mank“) and David Prior (“The Empty Man“).

Film lovers examine the cinematic moments that thrilled, perplexed, challenged and forever changed them in this collection of visual essays.

VOIR. Season 1: Episode Guide

‘Voir’: Why Crafting Video Essays for Netflix Meant Embracing All Types of Filmmaking

“Voir” writers and “Every Frame a Painting” creators Tony Zhou and Taylor Ramos discuss their learning process to teach audiences about cinema.

Sarah Shachat
December 7, 2021
IndieWire

David Fincher and David Prior’s anthology essay series “Voir” is only six episodes, but fully half of those came from Taylor Ramos and Tony Zhou. Their skill with the form comes as no surprise to fans of their YouTube channel “Every Frame a Painting,” which almost served as a proof of concept for a show like “Voir” — and that millions of people would be interested in videos exploring just how the grammar of filmmaking impacts its meaning. When done well, video essays combine the thrill of knowing a secret and the joy of learning more about a long-held passion. Zhou and Ramos spoke to IndieWire about how the process of creating that joyful learning shifted and expanded when working on “Voir.”

YouTube was very constricting because of things like copyright and DMC,” Ramos said. “The license that Netflix and [David Fincher] gave us, it was very, ‘Oh, we can do anything and everything!’ And [that] was, I don’t want to say daunting, but —”

“It was mildly terrifying,” Zhou added.

Read the full profile

Watch VOIR on Netflix

I am Sitting in a Room, Listening to Mank

Cormac Donnelly
October 2021
Screenworks

This video essay examines the innovative use of sound recording and mixing in David Fincher’s Mank (2020). Whilst Mank received a limited theatrical release, the film is most widely available via the Netflix streaming platform. The essay takes as a starting point the rerecording and spatialisation of the soundtrack, with a focus on the home viewing experience. Donnelly argues that the re-recording process used on Mank’s soundtrack could potentially suggest a method by which films released into the domestic market could retain the reverberant sonic signature of cinematic exhibition. The published screenwork draws upon interviews with Fincher’s sound designer Ren Klyce, as well as the work of experimental composer, Alvin Lucier in order to better understand the experience of listening to Mank in our own rooms.

Watch the video essay and read the research statement

Read the original in-depth interview with Ren Klyce:

Making Mank’s Vintage Hollywood-Magic Sound

FilmLight Colour Awards Ceremony 2021

Daphné PolskiJacquie Loran
November 14, 2021
FilmLight

The winners of the first-ever FilmLight Colour Awards were announced at a special ceremony as part of EnergaCAMERIMAGE on Sunday, 14 November 2021.

The ceremony included a panel discussion with several of the winners in attendance and others joining in online, in a hybrid presentation watched live by many across the globe.

Eric Weidt‘s presentation on Mank starts at min. 43:36.

Behind the Scenes of David Fincher’s Fight Club

Adam Nayman on the Production and Cultural Impact of the Still-Controversial Film

Adam Nayman
November 24, 2021
Literary Hub

The following is an excerpt from the new book David Fincher: Mind Games, by Adam Nayman.

Fight Club was adapted by screenwriter Jim Uhls from Chuck Palahniuk’s cult 1996 novel of the same name, which traced its gestation to a Portland-based author’s workshop specializing in “dangerous writing.” The enclave’s transgressive, minimalist mandate would be allegorized in Fight Club’s eponymous bare-knuckle boxing group, whose members become the acolytes of Tyler Durden Project Mayhem, in effect going from pummeling one another to “punching up” against the forces of late capitalism.

In his foreword to a 2004 reprint of the novel, Palahniuk reflects on the book’s themes of catharsis and self pity and ties them to a literary moment “[full of] novels that presented a social model for women to be together.” He cites bestsellers like Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club and Whitney Otto’s How to Make an American Quilt and notes the lack of corresponding masculinist examples; with the calculated humility of a writer who no longer worries about his advance, he proposes that his breakthrough novel’s popularity was a simple matter of supply and demand.

The question of whether Fight Club, in either literary or cinematic form, fills that void deepens it, or disappears down it—or if, like Tyler Durden, such a void ever really existed in the first place—was open at the time and remains so. Twenty-five years after its publication, Fight Club looks like a signal work anticipating, dramatizing, and perhaps exemplifying a condition recently identified as “toxic masculinity,” loosely defined by New York Times essayist Maya Salam as “a series of cultural lessons . . . linked to aggression and violence.”

Read the full excerpt

Buy the book David Fincher: Mind Games. By Adam Nayman

VFX Notes: The Art of Matte Painting and Invisible VFX with Craig Barron

Hugo Guerra (Twitter) & Ian Failes (Twitter)
November 24, 2021
Hugo’s Desk (YouTube, Patreon, Twitter, Facebook) / befores & afters

On this episode of VFX Notes, Hugo Guerra from Hugo’s Desk and Ian Failes from befores & afters are joined by Craig Barron. Barron is creative director at Magnopus, and previously worked as a matte painter at ILM and co-founder and visual effects supervisor at Matte World Digital. Barron won a VFX Oscar for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and was also nominated for a VFX Oscar for Batman Returns.

They talk about his amazing career and his work in Zodiac, Casino, Empire Strikes Back, Batman Returns, and so much more, what those original days of matte painting in the optical era were like, and how the transition to digital happened. Matte World Digital’s work on Zodiac, amongst other films, was also discussed in a previous episode.

This episode is sponsored by ActionVFX Black Friday sale. It begins November 25th at 8 PM EST and will end on December 3rd at 11:59 PM EST. All VFX elements in the library will be 55% off the first 24 hours, & 50% off the remaining days of the sale. All Annual Subscription Plans (Individual & Studio Plans) purchased during the sale will receive 2x the amount of monthly elements. Learn more here.

Chapters:
00:00:00 – Intro
00:04:30David Fincher and DVD extras
00:05:35 – Craig’s career
00:08:16Ray Harryhausen and influences
00:12:08 – Matte paintings in Empire Strikes Back
00:18:13 – Physical correct vs artistic direction
00:32:07 – Matte paintings in Batman Returns
00:34:12Casino and the first radiosity render
00:43:37 – 3D projections in Zodiac
00:55:02Blade Runner VR
00:59:48The Criterion Collection and history
01:07:05Patreon, Twitch Subs and YouTube members credits

Listen to the podcast:

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The Film Comment Podcast: The Mind Games of David Fincher

David Fincher by Michael Avedon

Devika Girish and Clinton Krute
November 23, 2021
Film Comment

This week’s conversation focuses in on David Fincher—a director whose decade-spanning body of gritty Americana—from the grim moral drama of Se7en to the revisionist Hollywood tale of the recent Mank—has inspired both obsessive fandom and derisive dismissal.

A new book by Adam NaymanDavid Fincher: Mind Games (out November 23 from Abrams Books), offers a canny and timely appraisal of the director’s filmography. Adam writes that, “Over the past thirty years, Fincher has cultivated and maintained a reputation that precedes him of formal rigor and technocratic exactitude, of moviemaking as a game of inches.” Film Comment editors Devika Girish and Clinton Krute invited Adam and critic, filmmaker, and former NYFF director, Kent Jones—who’s written about Fincher many times over the years in FC—for an illuminating deep-dive into the Fincherverse.

Listen to the podcast

Buy the book David Fincher: Mind Games. By Adam Nayman