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‘Right Stuff’ Helmer Philip Kaufman to Tune Into More TV

Kaufman made his TV debut as director with 'Hemingway & Gellhorn'

BYDGOSZCZ, Poland — Philip Kaufman, whose “Hemingway & Gellhorn” marked the veteran helmer/scribe’s entree into both the small-screen world and digital production in 2012, says he’s planning to delve further into the new Golden Age of television.

Kaufman is receiving Camerimage’s lifetime achievement kudo alongside longtime collaborator Caleb Deschanel, whose lensing is feted in a tribute. Their work together on “The Right Stuff,” for which special lighting rigs were created to convey the right look for Ed Harris’ Mercury 7 space capsule, taught Kaufman that a critical quality in a cinematographer is — aside from “that impeccable eye” — inventiveness.

At 76, the visionary behind “The Right Stuff,” “The Wanderers” and “The Unbearable Lightness of Being,” has no plans to retire, he explains, adding that he’s looking to launch another project with Clive Owen after witnessing his turn as Ernest Hemingway in the sprawling Spanish Civil War-set HBO film.

“I just finished writing something that I hope can be either a miniseries or a series,” says Kaufman, adding, “It’s historical. Clive Owen and I are looking to do another thing together and this might be it. He’s great — just terrific.”

The return to Europe is nostalgic for the Chicago-born Kaufman, who was first inspired to pen his 1964 debut “Goldstein” after living in Italy as a math teacher and being inspired by the New Wave work of Pasolini and Truffaut, plus John Cassavetes’ “Shadows” and Shirley Clarke’s “The Connection.”

Europe’s new generation of filmmakers are inspiring Kaufman again, he says, citing the lyrical new black-and-white Polish film “Ida” by Pawel Pawlikowski as the kind of work that Hollywood has seemingly abandoned.

“I’m hoping we can be hopeful,” Kaufman says.

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