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news overview > Oldenburg Film Festival honors award winning director and cinematographer Phedon Papamichael with a retrospective

Oldenburg Film Festival honors award winning director and cinematographer Phedon Papamichael with a retrospective


“I’d rather work on a good movie than a good-looking movie. I think if someone said ‘that was a good-looking movie’ I’d feel like I’d failed to do my job because they became conscious of it.” Phedon Papamichael

This personal credo of one of modern cinemas greatest cinematographers resonates throughout his increasingly extraordinary body of work. In addition to his award winning directorial work, with nearly 50 features to his credit as a DP, and having successfully collaborated with such diverse directors as John Turletaub, Joe Roth, Judd Apatow, Nick Cassavetes, George Clooney, and Alexander Payne (on both his Oscar nominated “Sideways”(2004) and 2011’s Oscar-winner “The Descendents”), his seemingly effortless ability to adjust to various and often opposing methods of visual story-telling - from Gore Verbinski’s precisely crafted frames to James Mangold’s organic economy- has made him one of the most in demand and revered cinematographers of his generation.

A Greek born Fine Arts Graduate of Hamburg University, the nephew of John Cassavetes bypassed film school, moving to New York at age 21 as a photojournalist and breaking into film in Roger Corman’s ‘mini-studio’- an ideal training ground for him and his young aspiring peers such as Wally Pfister (Inception), Janusz Kaminski (Saving Private Ryan), and Mauro Fiore (Avatar)- all AFI students at the time, who would gaffer, operate, or key grip for him. And as Corman’s only mandate was to shoot quickly, they were given complete stylistic freedom- and all would go on to become Oscar-winning Cinematographers.

“One mark of a great director of photography is the restraint to follow the psychological journey of the protagonist.”
Haris Zambarloukos(DP- on Phedon Papamichael)

Hailed by Vilmos Zsigmond for his sensitive use of light to articulate story, and with a technical work ethic that belies the calm confidence he is known to bring to films, Oliver Stone’s sentiment “Phedan was the unifying force” on set is yet another mark of a great director of photography.

The Oldenburg International Film Festival is honored to present the World Premiere of his latest directorial feature „Lost Angeles“ amidst a Retrospective of five other films incorporating his works as both director and cinematographer including “The Million Dollar Hotel” directed by Wim Wenders and starring Mel Gibson, which was the Opening Film of 2000’s Berlin Film Festival and won the Grand Jury Prize, the Silver Bear, Golden Camera, and for which he won CameraImages’ The Golden Frog for Best Cinematography. Other works presented are his 3rd directorial feature, the psychological horror “From Within” starring Adam Goldberg, which debuted at Tribeca in 2008 and went on win 7 Awards including Grand Jury Prize at Solstice, and 1995’s “Unsung Heroes”, Diane Keaton’s directorial debut starring Andie McDowell, which was in Cannes Un Certain Regard. Two of his 4 collaborations with director James Mangold- 2006’s Oscar winning „Walk The Line“ starring Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Whitherspoon, for which he won The Presidents Award for Best Cinematography at CameraImage, and Oscar-nominated “3:10 To Yuma”, starring Russell Crowe and Christian Bale round off the Retrospective.

Phedon Papamichael will attend the festival from September 12th to 16th to introduce his films to our audience.