You used three different DPs on Greenpeace why was this?
We shot it with almost no money, so did it after shooting other jobs in different countries over a three month period – so using the same DP was almostimpossible.
What were the main challenges of the Greenpeace production?
Having no money!
The performances of fury are terrific – how did you cast these?
As we did not have the chance to spend time or money on casting sessions, we had to trust the skill of the casting directors in each country, Anna Kennedy in London,Shane Liem in USA and Sílvia Menéndez-Cahué in Spain. They all did a great job.
Martini has that wonderful classic French feel. Was this your first b&w shoot? Was there much debate over camera and lens? Film or digital?
The craft of B+W film processing has been forgotten and I did not have faith in it without extensive testing, which we did not have time for. So we shot on digital using the Epic which was fantastic for B+W because it had a little bit more contrast than the Alexa. I was really happy with the result.
How difficult was it to keep similar framing for the split screen scenes?
Because the Epic is 5k it meant that we could zoom in and reframe to find a good balance on both sides.
Did the film stick true to Fred&Farid’s script or did it become a more collaborative process?
Of course it started with their initial script, and it didn’t really change that much. It was a fantastic collaboration. They are such committed and creative guys, and lots of fun to work with. This job was one of the most enjoyable jobs ever.
Generally, do you storyboard every frame or do you allow room for some spontaneity?
I always rely on spontaneity otherwise I think it would all be a bit dull. I feel you need to react to what is infront of you rather than controlling everything.
What is your favourite time for light (for shooting)?
I have no favourite time. – I just love shooting – anytime and how – go go go.
As a cinematographer yourself how does the collaborative process work with other dps?
I am no longer a Cinematographer – it feels like the life of a different person, it was so long ago. I feel as if what skills I had have slipped away. I know what I like and of course want to have a lot of input but essentially I want to let my DP do their thing without my hamfisted interference.
What is your piece of work you are most proud of and why?
My children – of course. But seriously, I honestly don’t know – they all swirl around my head in confusion as I try to answer this and its making my head hurt so im going to stop trying.
Can I tell you one of my favourites? Aristoc from years back. Its cleverness still makes me grin.
Well I’m still fond of it too – maybe because it was one of my first things.
Is there something special in your kit bag that you never go on a shoot without?
Anna Hashmi, my producer. I’m scared of her and do as I am told.
When did you first realise you wanted to make films?
When I realised I was crap at everything else.
What is the most important lesson you’ve learnt about film making?
Don’t fuck up or you’ll be out of a job.
Greenpeace: 40 Years
Director : Peter Thwaites
Production : Les Télécréateurs , Paris / Gorgeous, London