The career of cinematographer Ross Emery, ACS, includes a large number of major effects-heavy science fiction films. His latest project, the HBO Max series Raised by Wolves, is his latest venture into sci-fi territory.
Produced under the Scott Free banner and featuring the first episodic TV work by director Ridley Scott, we talked with Emery about rethinking the sci-fi genre, making room for VFX, and post-production during COVID.
Two of the latest trends in film have existed for centuries in the theater. Plays are all done in one take. And plays are 3D. But while the medium has been around since before anyone can remember, it hasn’t changed all that much. In the end, it’s actors on a stage telling you a story. Which is what makes theater an ideal training ground for film directors. Stripping something down to its essential components teaches you how it works.
There are plenty of filmmakers exploring the blurred line between fiction and reality, but far fewer explore a much more interesting phenomenon: fiction that creates reality. The most iconic example being Orson Welles’ 1938 radio broadcast, “War of the Worlds,” which became instantly legendary for inspiring mass panic in listeners who didn’t realize the broadcast ⎯ a live reporting of a Martian invasion ⎯ was fake.
On December 7, 1972, floating 28,000 miles above the surface of the Earth, the crew of Apollo 17 snapped the photo that would become known as “Blue Marble.” This photograph — a simple shot of the Earth — would fundamentally change the way humans saw themselves and their place in the universe. That’s what going to space can do. And that’s what taking a picture can do: it can change things. The power and significance of both these endeavors is at the heart of the spectacular new short film, Others Will Follow, written, produced, and directed by Andrew Finch.
Dylan Allen’s The Privates manages to tackle sci-fi, indie-rock, group dynamics, and merge them into one brilliantly thoughtful short film. The ideas in the ensemble comedy transcend filmmaking: waiting for your big break, struggling through creative differences, grappling with the drive to create something so great it melts faces. But despite all of those highly recognizable elements, the film has a wit and through-line that is totally original. That’s probably due in large part to the work Allen put into making every single role in his cast of characters strong enough to stand out from the background noise.