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Alwin H. Kuchler

10 Cinematographers to Watch

With “Proof” and “Sunshine” as his two most recent credits, Alwin H. Kuchler has caught Hollywood’s attention, but he’s already got a solid rep in Blighty, where he’s worked with such filmmakers as John Madden, Michael Winterbottom and Danny Boyle.

Kuchler grew up with an interest in art, even trying as a teenager to adapt “The Godfather” into a comicbook before being stymied by a sex scene. Later he tried photography. “I did really like fashion,” he says, “because it was the most experimental photography, but I didn’t like the people I was working with.”

His first cinema experience came as camera operator on a film school project. He didn’t like the pace of shooting. “But when (the director) showed me the cut version of it, I was intrigued by the mechanics of filmmaking, the power of editing and fitting it together,” he recalls. When he saw David Lynch’s “Blue Velvet,” he was hooked. “It was the first time I really felt a filmmaker made you feel like you’re living in a dream.”

On Boyle’s sci-fi thriller “Sunshine,” Kuchler had to make audiences and the cast feel the blistering brilliance of the sun. “It’s about how overwhelming, how destructive it can be as well as how beautiful,” he says. For the actors, he created a 60′ by 150′ curtain of mirrored circles and bounced hundreds of lights off it. “We wanted the actors to sense what it would be like to be faced with such a wall of fire,” he says. “Even though film couldn’t capture the full range of the lighting, it still helped the actors to physically react.”

Fave tool: “A small Panasonic digital still camera, with which I take photos while I prepare scenes.”

Preferred film stock: “I don’t have a preferred film stock. I choose one that just feels right.”

Inspiration: “The initial inspiration is always the script, then according to whatever it evokes in you, you pick your painters, directors, cinematographers.”

Up next: “The Wolf Man” for helmer Mark Romanek

Rep: Melanie Ramsayer, Gersh

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