#1: From the doc "Cinematographer Style"

 

   


GABRIEL BERISTÁIN   AMC/BSC/ASC

 

Born: 9 May 1955, Mexico City, Mexico, as Luis Gabriel Beristáin, son of actor Luis Beristáin [1918-62].

Education: Instituto Politécnico Nacional, Mexico City [Engineering]; National Film + Television School [NFTS], UK [1979-82].

Career: 'I come from a family of actors, artists and people who were involved with the film industry. My father was a great actor during the 1940s and '50s. He appeared in more than 50 films, and did his best work in Mexico. My mother was an actress. They met in drama school. I was born and raised in that environment. I studied engineering at the Polytech Institute in Mexico City, and started work on a master's degree in a new film studies program. There was a lot of hands-on work, and I was part of the first generation of students. At the same time, I was also producing audiovisual training materials for the health department. Later, I filmed a lot of documentaries, mainly about social issues, and eventually opened up a company that produced commercials. I was the producer, cinematographer and editor. I was tremendously influenced by Hollywood films, but decided to try to advance my knowledge and experience as a filmmaker in Europe. I sold everything I owned and moved to Italy [in 1977]. Sergio Leone suggested that I think about going to England, so I could learn to speak the language. I went to England, where I managed to meet a lot of people who were very helpful, including David Samuelson. The Samuelson's helped me a lot. In those days, they ran Panavision in England. I filmed a lot of documentaries, including a miners' strike, which was a very important historical event. I was mainly working on documentaries about the beginning of the end of the working class movement in England. I became very fluent with 16mm film. I had an Éclair NPR camera and I would shoot like crazy. Suddenly, I wasn't a producer, director and editor. I was the cinematographer. I had applied to the National Film + Television School in London. They only accepted 25 students a year, and only five foreigners, and hundreds applied. When I applied to the film school, I told them I wanted to become a cinematographer. They had a small studio and modern equipment. I had opportunities to shoot many student films. In 1982, my film won the student competition sponsored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. I had three incredible years with great mentors, including Ozzie Morris and Billy Williams. After graduation, I went back to Mexico, but there wasn't a lot of work. I got an opportunity to shoot 'Carne de tu carne' in Columbia. They paid me $600 a week, and with that money I paid my way back to England. I spent the next 12 to 13 years working there. I was also shooting multi-million dollar commercials, which was glamorous work. I met Allen Daviau when I was working on 'Caravaggio', and one day he told me I should go to America. He said I could be part of the future of the industry in America, because of my understanding of the Anglo and Hispanic cultures. I finally came to the United States [in 1991] to do a film with Taylor Hackford. For all intents and purposes, I was a British cinematographer living and working in Los Angeles.' [From interview on the KODAK OnFilm website.]

Ph music videos, e.g. 'Years Go By' [1987; a: Stan Campbell; d: Nigel Dick]. Ph PSA's. Ph commercials dir by Meiert Avis, Derek Jarman, Andy Morahan, Ken Russell, a.o.

Dir commercials.

Member of the BSC since 1990. Member of the ASC since 2002.

His wife Elizabeth is a still photographer.

Appeared in the doc 'Cinematographer Style' [2005, Jon Fauer; ph: J. Fauer, Jeff Laszlo, Brian Heller & David Morgan].

Awards: Bogota FF 'Golden Circle' [1984] for 'Carne de tu carne'; Mexican AA 'Silver Ariel' nom [1999] for 'El cometa'.

Website: Gabriel Beristáin


'S.W.A.T.' [2002]: 'To support [Clark] Johnson's fast paced and handheld directing style, Beristain proposed they bring it to the big screen by using multiple cameras. "The idea was to make the cameras active, and in many instances, be the eyes of the spectators," he explains. By introducing the Steadicam into the mix, Beristain had more control over the tremendous amount of action. "Our cameras did not have to be artificially hectic," he explains. "The inner movement in the frame was, most of the times, sufficient to convey the idea Clark was looking for. In reality, we shot very little handheld, but achieved the feeling by creating different POVs," he explains. "Contrary to a television show, where the single camera hurries to be in different places, I had my cameras already in those places, ready to register the drama. Just like in reality, when people gather around an event, the audience will be able to see everything from the POV of the victim, the attacker, the witness, to the police and the on-lookers. It is that combination of POVs that makes 'S.W.A.T.' so unique." Beristain also suggested they introduce several Sony PD150 video cameras into the mix. They would capture the same thing as a film camera, but give it immediacy that would have the feel of a documentary that was shot by a bystander as the events unfolded. Beristain was also constantly involved in a balancing act between cameras. His game plan was always the Steadicam, a B-camera with a long lens really far away, a master camera on a crane and a sub-master camera on a dolly. "It was a beautiful ballet," he smiles. "When we shot a master, there was always the constant pressure of the second or third camera, trying to get their shots," he adds. "Our operators were always watching out for each other and for the specific bits we asked them to get within the controlled chaos of any given set up. In addition to this, they had to fight their own instincts and not always go for the pristine approach, but capture at least one or two good gems that would move the story forward. Needless to say, we had a lot of material to look at when we went to dailies!"' [From article by Pauline Rogers on the International Cinematographers Guild website.]


 

 FILMS AT THE ACADEMY [NFTS]

1979

The Secret Life of Fish [Steve Gough] ?; short/?m

1981

When the Rain Stops [Anthony Waller] 16mm/c; short/15m

1981

Riots and Rumours of Riots [Imruh Caesar] 16mm/c; doc/33m; cph: Eran Riklis

1983

Mother's Wedding [Jenny Wilkes] 16mm/c; short/29m

1983

Day of Atonement [Steve Gough] 16mm/c; short/55m

 

 FILMS

1983

Carne de tu carne/Flesh of Your Flesh [Carlos Mayolo] c

1984

Beyom bahir royim et Damesek/B'yom bahir efshar lr'ot et Dameshek/On a Clear Day You See Damascus [Eran Riklis] c; expanded student film from the NFTS; + co-scrpl

1985

Caravaggio [Derek Jarman] c

1986

Broken Arrow 29 [Dina Hecht] 16mm/c; doc/72m

1986

The Good Father [Mike Newell] c; cph: Michael Coulter

1986

Aria [seg #8 'Turandot: Nessun dorma' dir by Ken Russell, #10 'I pagliacci: Vesti la Giubba' & linking scenes dir by Bill Bryden] c; 10 seg + linking scenes; filmed July 1986-March 1987

1987

The Courier [Joe Lee & Frank Deasy] c; 2uc: Seamus Deasy

1988

Joyriders [Aisling Walsh] c; 2uc: Patrick Duval

1988

Venus Peter [Ian Sellar] c

1989

Killing Dad [or How to Love Your Mother] [Michael Austin] p/c; uwph: Mike Valentine

1989

Waiting for the Light [Christopher Monger] c

1990

Hidden Depths [Tristan DeVere Cole] unrealized

1990

K2 [: The Ultimate High] [Franc Roddam] c; 2uc: Peter Pilafian & John Clothier

1991

Bound by Honor/Blood In Blood Out [Taylor Hackford] c; addph: Andy Martinez

1991

Wide Sargasso Sea [John Duigan] c; North England ph; ph: Geoff Burton

1992

The Distinguished Gentleman [Jonathan Lynn] c

1992

Fatal Instinct [Carl Reiner] c

1993

Greedy [Jonathan Lynn] c

1994

Dolores Claiborne [Taylor Hackford] p/c; addph: Steven Bernstein; cloud ph: Pat O'Neill

1995

The Ghost and the Darkness [Stephen Hopkins] p/c; 2uc; ph: Vilmos Zsigmond

1996

Trial and Error [Jonathan Lynn] s35/c; 2uc: Joseph Urbanczyk; aph: Kurt E. Soderling

1996

The Spanish Prisoner [David Mamet] c

1997

Tale of the Mummy/Talos the Mummy [Russell Mulcahy] tvi/c

1997

El cometa/The Comet [José Buil & Marisa Sistach] c

1998

Molly/Rescue Me [John Duigan] c

1998

[Stephen King's] The Green Mile [Frank Darabont] c; ph present day seq; ph: David Tattersall

2001

Blade II [Guillermo del Toro] c; 2uc: Martin Grosup; aph: Simon Werry

2002

S.W.A.T. [Clark Johnson] s35/c; 2uc: Steven Bernstein, Anette Haellmigk & Rexford L. Metz; see above

2003

Blade: Trinity [David S. Goyer] s35/c; addph: Steven Bernstein & Dean Heselden; 2uc: Brian C. Murphy; care chase ph: Attila Szalay; aph: Steve Koster; vfx ph: Dennis McHugh; + small part

 

With actress Naomi Watts - "The Ring Two"

 

2004

The Ring Two [Hideo Nakata] c; 2uc: Mark Vargo

2004

The Shaggy Dog [Brian Robbins] s35/c; 2uc: James Muro; remake of film (1958, Charles Barton; ph: Edward Colman) and tvm (1994, Dennis Dugan; ph: Russ Alsobrook)

2005

The Sentinel [Clark Johnson] s35/c; addph: Roberto Contreras; 2uc: J.P. Locherer & David Insley

2005

The Invisible [David S. Goyer] s35 (+ D-Cinema)/c; aph: Steve Koster; remake of 'Den osylinge' (2001; dir/ph:  Joel Bergvall & Simon Sandquist)

2006

The Last Time [Michael Caleo] c; addph (April); ph: Tim Suhrstedt (in 2005)

2007

Iron Man [Jon Favreau] s35 (+ D-Cinema)/c; addph; ph: Matthew Libatique

2007

Street Kings [David Ayer] s35 (+ D-Cinema)/c; 2uc: Steven Bernstein; aph: John Trapman

2007

The Last Full Measure [Todd Robinson] scheduled to start shooting in November, then in May 2008; status unknown

2008

Princess Ka'iulani [Marc Forby] s35/c

2009

And Soon the Darkness [Marcos Efron] scope/c; addph: Chris Johnson; vfx ph: Glen David Miller; remake of film (1969, Robert Fuest; ph: Ian Wilson)

2009

Iron Man 2 [Jon Favreau] s35 (+ IMAX-70bu & D-Cinema)/c; addph; ph: Matthew Libatique

2009

There Be Dragons [Roland Joffé] s35 (+ D-Cinema)/c; 2uc Spain: Aitor Mantxola; 2uc Argentina: Rodrigo Pulpeiro

2010

Ka'iulani: Crown Princess of Hawai'i [Roy Tjioe] c/V; doc/34m

2010

Fujifilm Vivid Family - Eterna Vivid 250D - Eterna Vivid 500 [prod: Steven J. Wolfe & Jenny Hinkey] c; demo film/7m; + commentary

2011

Misfits Christmas [Michael Tabb] pre-production

2011

The Avengers/Marvel's The Avengers [Joss Whedon] s35+HD (ARRI ALEXA + Canon EOS 5D & 7D)-to-35mm (+ D-Cinema [also 3-D version])/c; addph Los Angeles; ph: Seamus McGarvey

2011

Never the Bride [Susan Rohrer] loc scouting took place late 2011

2012

Mr. Clark [Tom Provost] pre-production (announced in 2005)

 

 

2012

a Marvel ONE-SHOT - ITEM 47 [Louis D'Esposito] HD/b&w-c; short/11m/V; ep of series of shorts 'One-Shot'; prod by Marvel Studios as bonus features on home-video releases

2012

Thor: The Dark World/Thor 2 [Alan Taylor] HD (ARRI ALEXA Plus/p + Canon EOS 5D + Phantom Flex/p [high-speed])+ RED Epic/p-to-35mm scope (+ D-Cinema [also 3-D version])/c; addph; ph: Kramer Morgenthau

2012

Iron Man 3 [Shane Black] HD (ARRI ALEXA & Studio + Canon EOS C500)-to-35mm scope (+ IMAX-70bu & D-Cinema [also 3-D version])/c; ph China; ph: John Toll; filmed 2012-13

2013

Marvel One Shot - Agent Carter [Louis D'Esposito] HD (ARRI ALEXA Plus)/c; short/15m/V; see 2012

2013

Sabotage/Breacher/Ten [David Ayer] HD (ARRI ALEXA M & Plus + Silicon Imaging SI-2K)-to-35mm (+ D-Cinema)/c; ph Los Angeles (reshoots in June); ph (2012): Bruce McCleery

2014

Guardians of the Galaxy [James Gunn] HD (ARRI ALEXA XT Plus)-to-35mm scope (+ D-Cinema [also 3-D version])/c; addph (reshoots in March); ph (2013): Ben Davis

2014

Fury [David Ayer] p (+ D-Cinema)/c; ph Los Angeles (reshoots in July); ph (2013): Roman Vasyanov

2016

Suicide Squad [David Ayer] p+HD (Phantom Flex4K/p)-to-35mm scope (+ D-Cinema [also 3-D version])/c; addph (reshoots March-April); ph (2015): Roman Vasyanov

 

 TELEVISION

1985

Pottery Ladies [Jenny Wilkes] 4-part doc series; cph: Chris Cox; for Channel 4

1985

The Planets [ep #1 (26m) 'The Children of the Sun' dir by Paul Fisher] 7-part doc series; cph: Dick Pope & Roger Pratt; for Channel 4

1985

Christmas Present [Tony Bicât] tvm

1986

Lost Belongings [Tony Bicât] 6-part miniseries

1988

Troubles [Christopher Morahan] 2-part tvm

1990

The Orchid House [Horace Ové] 4-part miniseries

1998

Jerry Seinfeld: I'm Telling You for the Last Time [Marty Callner] stand-up comedy special/75m; ph 'The Funeral' seq

2002

The Legacy [Jim Gillespie] pilot/60m; for UPN-tv

2010

Hawaii Five-0 [pilot dir by Len Wiseman] series, 2010-present; 1st season/HD (Sony F35), 2010-11; other ph: Don Thorin Jr. (4 ep), Ron Garcia (11 ep) & James L. Carter (8 ep)

2011

Exit Strategy [Antoine Fuqua] pilot/35mm+HD (Silicon Imaging SI-2K); for FOX-tv

2011

Magic City [ep #1 'The Year of the Fin' dir by Carl Franklin + 7 ep dir by various] 16-part series/HD (ARRI ALEXA), 2012-13; 1st season, 2012 (8 ep); 2uc: Mike McGowan; for Starz-tv

2013

Magic City [ep #9 'Crime and Punishment' dir by Clark Johnson, #11 'Adapt or Die' dir by Ed Bianchi (EB), #12 'Crossroads' dir by EB & #14 'Sitting on Top of the World' dir by David Petrarca] 2nd season, 2013 (8 ep); other ph: Steven Bernstein (#10, 13 & 16) & John Grillo (#15); see 2011

2013

The Strain [ep #2-3 & #5-6 dir by various] series/RED Epic, 2014-present; 1st season, 2014 (13 ep); other ph: Checco Varese (#1, 11 & 13), Miroslaw Baszak (#4, 7, 9-10 & 12) & Colin Hoult (#8); aph: Brian Heller

2014

Agent Carter/Marvel's Agent Carter [8 ep dir by various] 18-part series/HD (ARRI ALEXA XT), 2015-16; 1st season, 2015 (8 ep)

 

 MISCELLANEOUS

1979

Saturn 3 [Stanley Donen] 2u c.asst; ph: Billy Williams

 

#1: "Incident at Loch Ness" - [Right] with Werner Herzog - the crew of

"Enigma of Loch Ness" at Herzog's house for drinks and dinner

#2: "Incident at Loch Ness" - 'shooting' "Enigma of Loch Ness"

 

2003

Incident at Loch Ness [Zak Penn] dv+16mm-to-35mm/c; mockumentary/94m; played himself as member (doph; the dir was 'played' by Werner Herzog) of the crew of W. Herzog's doc 'Enigma of Loch Ness'; ph: John Bailey

2013

The Book of Life [Jorge R. Gutiérrez] Digital-to-35mm scope (+ D-Cinema [also 3-D version])/c; anim/95m; visual cons

 

 FILMS & TELEVISION AS DIRECTOR

1995

Calling London [doc/29m] ph: ?; ep #3 of 6-part BBC-tv series 'Hidden Empire' (1996)

2000

El grito/Bloody Proof [feature] ph: Andrés León Becker