John Toll – the cinematographer best known for his collaboration with such directors as The Wachowskis, Ang Lee, Mel Gibson, Francis Ford Coppola, Terrence Malick, Cameron Crowe, Edward Zwick and Vince Gilligan – will be honored with the Camerimage Lifetime Achievement Award during the upcoming 25th anniversary edition of the International Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography.
The event will be held in Bydgoszcz, Poland, from November 11 to 18.
Toll has been lensing film and TV projects for more than four decades. His peers have praised him for his use of light, shadow and camera movement to create striking moments of intimacy that define characters. His oeuvre ranges across war movies, crime dramas, sci-fi and fantasy films, melodramas, comedies and westerns.
Before he became a DP, Toll worked at every level of cinematography, from gathering experience as a production assistant to shooting films as a camera operator.
His mentors include DP John A. Alonzo on director Martin Ritt’s “Norma Rae” and Brian De Palma’s “Scarface.” He also worked with cinematographers such as Jordan Cronenweth on Francis Ford Coppola’s “Peggy Sue Got Married,” Conrad Hall on Bob Rafelson’s “Black Widow,” Allen Daviau on John Schlesinger’s “Falcon and the Snowman” and Robbie Greenberg on Karel Reisz’s “Sweet Dreams.”
His debut as a DP came with Carroll Ballard’s 1992’s “Wind,” a tale of young and ambitious America’s Cup sailor who faced both uncontrollable forces of nature and his inner limitations as a human being. In his next project, Zwick’s “Legends of the Fall,” the main characters live in isolation surrounded by wild and beautifully photographed nature.
On Mel Gibson’s “Braveheart,” Toll complemented the romantic pathos of the struggle for independence with the down-to-earth bravery of people who went to war to protect their loved ones.
Toll has most recently been shooting Netflix sci-fi series “Sense8.” His 2016 feature, Lee’s “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk,” was a technical groundbreaker – shot digitally at 120 frames per second (vs. the traditional 24) and at 4K resolution in 3D.
Toll is one of only four cinematographers to win two Academy Awards back to back.