Interview with Matteo Martignago

1) First, could you briefly describe what some of your responsibilities were as
cinematographer for the film MyDorian?

I was the Director of Photography in MyDorian and we shot the whole movie back in Italy. I worked in pre production with the directors Alessandro D’Ambrosi and Santa De Santis for several months to make sure everything was ready for production in March. As Dp I had many responsibilities both in pre production and production. One of the most important for this particular project was working closely with the directors on wardrobe and Production Design which is something that affects directly the look of the movie. For me it was really important to have a specific color palette throughout the movie and both of the departments above mentioned were crucial and essential in order for me to have that look. Managing in pre production these departments was one of my biggest responsibilities for this movie and I am pretty happy with the result we got. Everybody on set did an amazing job.

2) What were some of the challenges, individual or collaborative, you encountered
working on MyDorian?

The biggest challenges I encountered in this production were mostly related to the story and how to best capture some scenes. In particular, there are several flashbacks in the movie and I spent a lot of time thinking on how to show this time change on screen. Even when I watch movies and there are flashbacks involved, it always takes me some time to understand or notice that we shifted the timeline. For MyDorian, I wanted to make sure that this cut between present time and past was clear and sharp. To do so, I had to come up with a look that both fit the story and differentiates present time and flashbacks. I discussed it several times with the directors and in the end we opted for an overall more desaturated look and moody lighting. Shooting the flashback scenes in this way made it really easy to notice this time jump and understand right away what was happening.But no matter the project I work on, I think that collaborating in pre production and involving all the heads of department into it is the best way to set yourself and everybody else for success.

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3) What’s the best advice you’ve been given throughout your career that has stuck
with you?

Relationships are of course a major factor in this industry and I am very grateful for a lesson that a mentor of mine, Tony Richmond, taught me years ago: the importance of humor on set. I have always underestimated this advice until I started to work on bigger productions and it really made the difference. Of course with humor I don’t mean being a clown and joking all the time. What I mean is being able to say a joke once in a way and make yourself seen as lighthearted and approachable from everybody on set. I have never been that kind of person who only gives instructions on set and expects everybody to just do their jobs. I always encourage people to talk to me and speak up to me if they see or think that something might be done in another or better way. I don’t see and will never see this job as a competition but rather as a team work. So, I think this was the best and simplest advice I have ever got so far.

4) I have heard that you have a Film Festival coming up, can you tell us more about

Yes of course. It is called Ruthless Film Awards and it is going to be held at the AFI Theatre in Los Angeles this December. I am the Co- Founder and judge together with Emanuele Daga. The Festival is far from being the classic festival we always see. It is a brand new way to think short films. The RFA ceremony is not a film festival, but a one night only private screening of five selected short films for an exclusive audience of registered agents, managers, producers, and
entertainment lawyers.

It is a real opportunity for filmmakers to showcase their work to potential people they might end up working with in the future.

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