Kathryn Bigelow Salutes Her Below-the-Line Colleagues on ‘Detroit’

Annapurna’s “Detroit” is being re-released in theaters today, Dec. 1, and awards screeners were recently sent out. The film was written by Mark Boal and directed by Kathryn Bigelow, their third collaboration after “Hurt Locker” (in which both won Oscars, with the film named best picture) and “Zero Dark Thirty.” In an  email to Variety, Bigelow cited the work of her below-the-line colleagues on “Detroit,” set during the 1967 uprising.

Production designer Jeremy Hindle

Jeremy Hindle is a master craftsman. Sifting through hundreds of photographs from the time period, Jeremy can identify the handful of frames necessary to create an entire three-dimensional universe in which the story may live, and out of a single image he creates a color palette which will influence and guide all aspects of the film, from photography to sets to wardrobe. Jeremy not only provides a visual landscape, but he burrows far beneath the surface, meeting with people from the period, discovering the narrative inside the narrative, the pulse inside the man, around which the set is built.

Cinematographer Barry Ackroyd

The best way to describe Barry Ackroyd is that he is truly a force of nature.  His cinematography defines an experiential, highly physicalized image capture, encouraging a freedom that actors describe as being similar to that of a theatrical stage – allowing the actor to roam, invent, and own every moment on screen. Barry intuits the actor with his lens; he anticipates, almost uncannily, an actor’s every move. It is a kind of symbiotic dance, both intimate and muscular, private and demonstrative, letting the impulse of the actor guide and inspire.

Editors William Goldenberg, Harry Yoon

Working within this language of “free form” photography can be challenging for the editorial department, but William Goldenberg and Harry Yoon welcomed the challenge and the complexity of this free-form style. They refined the narrative and provided a structure wherein the emotional fabric of the story is not only developed, but coheres. William and Harry mine the emotional nuance captured by the camera in its raw form, and present it to us as a cohesive highly articulated narrative.

Sound Paul Ottosson, Ray Beckett

Ray Beckett, sound recordist, captured every sound in its pure, raw state – the result of which is a seamless translation from set to screen requiring very limited, if any, ADR. This raw sound was then annealed and shaped by the artistic expertise of Paul Ottosson.  Paul paints with sound. He composes a soundscape that feels both intimate and infinite. His attention to detail immerses you, inviting you, not just to watch, but to experience, and experience in a way that you are incapable of resisting. Paul’s ability to create a multi-faceted and layered soundscape allows him to rise to, and enjoy, the challenge of a scene that includes both explosive gunshots and whispered commands.

Casting director Victoria Thomas

Casting with Vicki Thomas was a unique and treasured experience; it was exciting and gratifying to see the way she absorbed each character, and then tirelessly searched for the actor capable of bringing that character to life.  The cast needed to work as individuals but also in a group, as in the case of the Dramatics – a group that works seamlessly together yet retains their individuation. Her instincts are uncanny, her talent a rare and inspiring gift.

Song “It Ain’t Fair” by Questlove

“It Ain’t Fair,” by Questlove, magnified the vivid, sad, tragic story of the Algiers Motel one night in July 1967. Providing a bridge between the past and current state of affairs, Questlove reminds us of the lessons we should have learned that fateful night, lessons all to reminiscent of today, signaling the loss of humanity while seeking, demanding change long overdue.

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