Thanks to everybody who submitted their work. There were a lot of films telling a wide variety of stories in completely different ways.
The V&F Editorial staff spent hours viewing ALL of the entries, and after much deliberation we chose our finalists. Those films where then sent to our good friends from the Australian Cinematographers Society for review.
Each of the films were reviewed by award winning cinematographer John Stokes ACS – whose film & television credits include Baz Luhrmann’s epic Australia (vfx elements, 2008), McLeod’s Daughters (2008) and Packed to the Rafters (2009-2012).
You can check out more of John’s work at his website – http://www.johnstokes.com.au/
John has written a short critique on the each of the final winning films (listed in order) below:
1. Pressure (dir. Marc Biedul) – WINNER
While I did enjoy the intensity of this story and although I thought it was well served by the cinematography, I felt that it could have been improved by a little more care in the compositions. Sometimes the hand-held seemed like a convenience as opposed to a proper story telling device.
While this is a very bleak subject set in a bleak environment, it felt a little too open. Sometimes the cinematographer can aid the director by finding locations that have more light and shade and more depth, making for more dramatic visuals.
2. Moments (dir. Sandra Rojas-Gonzalez)
This is a very static film with just two actors and it’s also a silent film. Because of this, every frame is critical to telling the story cinematically. These are the type of stories that have great visual potential.
It would have been good to see more though given to composition in each of the shots. And a good top for subtly adding drama – setting actors in an environment that lends visual drama adds to the drama taking place in the story. For example – the scene with the two girls in the restaurant . Having them sitting in a corner against walls makes it very difficult to compose and light for with depth and drama. Try setting the actors in a location with more natural depth. Literally, and in available light.
The class room scene in with the projector could have been a lot more low key, it would be good to see the cinematographer subtracting light to add interest.
Using the projector in the background of the couple kissing in back-light, would have made a really dramatic image.
3. The Offer (dir. Gordon Waddell)
Besides the first scene on the park bench, which was far too long and static, the cinematography served this story very well.
Dramatic compositions and camera movement were excellent.
4. Substituted (dir. David Stein)
This story had strong potential for great cinematography. The script suggested some powerful and stylistic images, but execution could have perhaps been given more thought. More care and attention to the details of lighting and composition is needed here. Pairing that with such a great story would make something incredible to watch.