D.p. makes mark in mostly man's world

Maryse Alberti came to America at 18, wishing to meet her hero Jimi Hendrix, but the rock god’s premature death caused Alberti to settle for the downtown New York rock scene instead.

This year’s recipient of WIF’s Kodak Vision Award broke into film shooting shorts for Christine Vachon’s first company, Apparatus, and when Todd Haynes enlisted her to lense his controversial feature debut, 1991’s Genet-inspired “Poison,” Alberti found herself quite firmly on the map.

“It’s not enough to do good work,” says the French d.p., whose sensitive eye has also captured the decadent splendor of Haynes’ “Velvet Goldmine” and, more recently, the dark tension of “We Don’t Live Here Anymore.” “You have to do good work on a film that is seen.”

Her work on a shelved satire from the online humor journal the Onion won’t be seen by anyone, but Alberti is busy adding to an equally eye-popping roster of documentaries that includes “Crumb” and the Academy Award-nominated “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room.”

This June will find the cinematographer (and her 12-year-old son, if she can get him a pass), shooting the World Cup in Germany for the final chapter in Michael Apted’s soccer doc. “I look for films that have the potential to be cinematic,” says Alberti. “I would not do a film on liver transplants, although I think that’s very important.”

Alberti concedes that she might have to work a little harder, as a female cinematographer in a male-dominated profession, but she has no complaints. “I just got back from Senegal, where they work all day long. That’s tough, being a woman. Being a woman cinematographer is great.”

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