James A. Chressanthis

D.p. sees light in 'Shadows'

“I took my first snapshot when I was 10,” James Chressanthis recalls. “I originally enrolled in college as an engineering major, but followed my heart and earned a master’s in fine arts.”

After graduation, Chressanthis sculpted and taught art at a Michigan college. During a summer visit to a village in Greece, where generations of his family had lived, he created a filmic diary that won awards on the festival circuit. That inspired him to investigate a new career at the American Film Institute. Chressanthis subsequently lensed nearly 100 musicvideos until he found a niche shooting visually edgy telefilms and low-budget features.

He earned his first Emmy nomination for the miniseries “Life With Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows,” and has moved on to shoot the remake of the TV classic “Brian’s Song.”

“Our re-creations of ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ ‘Meet Me in St. Louis,’ ‘A Star Is Born’ and ‘Girl Crazy’ scenes are tributes to the cinematography of those classic films,” he says of the Garland biopic. “I had to do justice to those films. They are masterpieces.”

Chressanthis observes, “A lot of people don’t understand what we do. There’s a direct correlation to sculpting. Cinematographers create multi-dimensional moving images in space and time, and we model with light and movement to tell a story the same way a sculptor works with clay. I marvel at all our technical advances, but it’s no substitute for talent or the ability to create the visually sophisticated images the audience expects.”

More News

  • Billie Eilish

    ARRI, Mobile TV Group Back New Venture Revitalizing Streamed Concerts

    A new venture looking to bring a fresh approach to live-streaming concerts has gotten the backing of hardware heavyweights ARRI and Mobile TV Group. Wide+Close is launching with the mandate of shooting music performances with film cameras and cinematographers in order to give the content a more cinematic feel. “We want to take concert filming [...]

  • Emmys: 'Better Call Saul' Short Loses

    'Better Call Saul' Short Loses Emmy Nominations in Light of Category Rule Violation

    Better Call AMC: Two Emmy nominations for the network’s short-form series “Better Call Saul Employee Training: Madrigal Electromotive Security” have been pulled after it was deemed ineligible for competition. The Television Academy recently discovered that the series didn’t meet the minimum required runtime of two minutes for at least six episodes — a new stipulation [...]

  • Bert Salke and Jennifer Salke

    Feds Looked Into Amazon Studios Chief Jennifer Salke in College Admissions Scandal

    Federal investigators looked into Amazon Studios chief Jennifer Salke and her husband, Fox 21 Television Studios president Bert Salke, as they conducted a sprawling probe of cheating in elite college admissions, a source close to the case told Variety. It does not appear, however, that prosecutors will charge the Salkes in the case. The Salkes [...]

  • The Boys Amazon Prime

    ‘The Boys’ Lands Early Season 2 Renewal at Amazon

    Amazon has renewed “The Boys” for a second season ahead of the show’s series premiere next week. The streamer also announced that Aya Cash will join the show in the second season. Season 1 of “The Boys” will debut on July 26. It is based on the New York Times best-selling comic of the same [...]

  • Variety Cord Cutting Placeholder Cable

    Big Blackout Looms as CBS, AT&T Go Down to Wire on Renewal Talks

    A blackout affecting CBS stations in major markets throughout the country looms as CBS and AT&T executives go down to the wire on negotiations for a retransmission consent deal covering 28 O&O stations. The sides have sparred publicly during the past few days as 11 p.m. PT Friday expiration of the previous contract approached. AT&T [...]

  • Choas Charles Mansion and the CIA

    Amazon Studios Takes Film Rights to Manson-Centered Drama 'Chaos' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Just in time for the 50th anniversary of the grisly murders executed by the followers of Charles Manson, Amazon Studios has optioned film rights to a nonfiction title about a journalist who spent decades obsessively following the case. The studio will adapt “Chaos: Charles Manson, the CIA, and the Secret History of the Sixties,” from [...]


    TV News Roundup: Netflix Releases Season 3 Trailer For 'Dear White People'

    In today’s TV news roundup, Netflix releases a trailer for the third season of “Dear White People,” and Disney casts Billy Campbell and Kathy Najimy in upcoming Disney Junior series, “The Rocketeer.” CASTING Billy Campbell and Kathy Najimy have joined the cast of forthcoming animated series “The Rocketeer.” The seasoned actors will voice character Kitana [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content