Hollywood Cinematographers Work on Kannada Movies

Fresh narratives are attracting crew who created Star Wars, Avatar and Butterflies of Bill Baker.

Published: 30th June 2015 08:27 AM  |   Last Updated: 30th June 2015 08:55 AM   |  A+A-


QUEEN’S ROAD: Anup Bhandari’s directorial Rangitaranga, slated for release this week, has already been appreciated by the stars. One of the reasons: it features the work of Hollywood cinematographer Lance Kaplan.

Lance is one of the talents Sandalwood has attracted from foreign shores. Steve Rice, another director of picturisation (DoP) who is doing a Kannada film, has been part of the crew of over 90 Hollywood films including Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Robin Hood, Rambo and Avatar. He will be work on Sarangi, a musical romantic thriller in Kannada.

Lance’s association with Anup goes back to the latter’s short film, Words. “He had a bold vision; he came up with a story that had the feeling of a daydream, and set it in a locale foreign to him — New York City’s Central Park — in the snow,” says the New York-based cinematographer. “The film was a great success. I’m very proud of having worked on it.”

So when the director said to him, ‘I’m shooting a feature film in Karnataka and I want you to be the DoP,’ Lance didn’t think twice.

Rangitaranga has brought Lance — whose recent films include Butterflies of Bill Baker, Trapped Girl, and Do You Believe in the Devil — to India to shoot for a project in a language he hadn’t even heard.

“I had a translation of the script, and Anup and I spent weeks on the pre-production,” he says. “Anup’s father, Sudhakar patiently taught me many Kannada words and phrases.

I also relied on the expertise and versatility of my co-DoP William David, without whom I could not have done the film.”

Lance found Anup’s dedication and his command of direction inspiring. “Just as he (Anup) did with Words, he brings his many talents and ideas, as well as his intricate story and music to the project. He also knows how to collaborate with other experts,” he says.

The cinematographer has enjoyed working in Karnataka and hopes to be here again closer to the release date.

“My fellow DoPs in the US were very envious of my being able to shoot a mystery thriller in Karnataka,” he says. “Scouting around a palace in Mysuru or a temple in Mangaluru were experiences of a lifetime. And the food was certainly the best I’ve ever had on-set!”

If the project had many firsts for him, the cast and crew had something to learn from him as well.

“One of the actors told me that this was the first time he had ever acted in a film with source lighting — where the lighting seems to come primarily from a visible source, like a window or a fire,” he says.

“This reflects the tradition of lighting that I come from and love, and I think it’s one of the reasons why Anup wanted me to work on his film.”

Currently, Lance is shooting for a variety of projects — music videos, commercials and narrative. And, if given an opportunity, he would love to work again on a Kannada film.

“I feel very nostalgic about my time there with Anup and his family. The food, the kindness of so many people, even strangers, is something I’ll never forget,” he says.

Steve Rice will be in the country in the coming week to shoot for Sarangi, directed by Aryan Pratap, with his SI 2K camera. While this is Aryan’s first feature-length film, it’s Steve’s first Indian one. This duo too has worked together before for Aryan’s directorials, The Stalker, The Director, and Nari, and Steve feels ‘honoured’ to work with him again.

“Most times, I have been working and not been able to assist Pratap but this is an opportunity I do not want to miss,” says the 70-year-old cinematographer.

“This will be my first Kannada film, and I would like to bring my expertise to the project and also learn about another culture,” he adds.

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