Modus Operandi Films and High Point Media Group Announce CAMERAMAN The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff

Modus Operandi Films and High Point Media Group presents CAMERAMAN: The Life and Work of legendary cinematographer Jack Cardiff.

Jack Cardiff’s career spanned an incredible nine of moving picture’s first ten decades and his work behind the camera, including working on classics like The Red Shoes and The African Queen, altered the look of films forever through his use of Technicolor photography. Craig McCall’s passionate film about the legendary cinematographer reveals a unique figure in British and international cinema.

Cameraman illuminates a unique figure in British and international cinema, Jack Cardiff, a man whose life and career are inextricably interwoven with the history of cinema spanning nine decades of moving pictures’ ten. The phrase “legend” is all too frequently used in Hollywood, yet Jack Cardiff’s story surely proves him truly worthy of that title.

On March 25, 2001, fifty-four years after winning his first Oscar® for his stunning Technicolor cinematography on Black Narcissus, Jack Cardiff was the first Cinematographer ever presented with an Honorary Oscar® for:

“exceptional distinction in lifetime achievement; exceptional contributions to the state of motion picture arts and sciences; and for outstanding services to the Academy.”

In this unique insight into Jack’s life and work, the master himself explains how he helped elevate cinematography to an art form and made history with his groundbreaking vision and technical wizardry in A Matter Of Life And Death, The Red Shoes, The African Queen, The Vikings and many others.

Amongst many fascinating revelations and anecdotes in the film, Jack relates what it was like to work with Hollywood’s greatest icons, Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart, Kirk Douglas and Sophia Loren.

Martin Scorsese passionately guides us through Jack’s films and tells us why they have had such an influence on him. “I began to have a very strong affinity towards British Cinema, because of my recognition of Jack Cardiff’s name.”

Packed with stunning High Definition clips from classic movies and over twenty original interviews with the world’s greatest actors, directors and technicians, Cameraman explores Jack’s life and work in compelling detail, scope and intimacy. The film is not only a unique and valuable testimony to British and international cinema history; it’s a humorous and informative one too — an amazing story about an exceptional life.

Unfortunately, Jack passed away in April last year but I am so glad I had the opportunity to commit his life to film while he was with us. I felt it was very important to not make a posthumous biography, as he is such a great storyteller. Many films about artists made after their death may be accurate but can be a bit soulless, literally.

Interviewees: they had to be there and be filmmakers:
This film is a tightly woven tapestry of personal testimonies rich in detail and emotion that draws you into the world of those telling the story. I wanted to make sure the baton of Jack’s life was passed from one filmmaker to another, mixing household names with lesser-known filmmakers.

The use of narration is ubiquitous in documentaries simply because it works and is well established. However, it can easily become a crutch to prop up films that lack in-depth research. I wanted to avoid narration and present this tour of cinema history in the first person, allowing Jack — and those who knew and worked with him — to tell the tale.

A complete story:
Almost all documentaries of a certain scale in the UK (with rare exceptions) are made with television commissions as their primary source of funding. However, because of the level of research we wanted to undertake and the sheer number of interviewees we wished to film, television commissioners shied away, not because of the content but because the project’s ambitious nature didn’t fit within the usual timetable and slot requirements. They wanted the film, not the production difficulties that went with it. I am very glad that being independent allowed me to pursue and obtain all the interviews I needed to tell the whole story, a story that spans many decades of film history and obtaining films in full restored HD to be viewed in the cinema.

The film will stand not only as a testament to Jack but to all those who participated, many of whom have now sadly passed away but I am so pleased to have included then in this film.

Jack Cardiff website:

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