Our guests at Terre di Cinema 2013 have kindly accepted to answer a few questions regarding their art and craft. It is an opportunity to know better their stand and approach to cinematography before getting to meet them live at Terre di Cinema, next week. We start this chat with Florent Herry, member of SBC, the Belgian society of cinematographers.
Florent, why did you decide to become a cinematographer?
This kind of question is always difficult to give a straight response. After studying mathematics, I felt that my future couldn’t be teaching mathematics the rest of my life. I took the decision to choose something that I like to do, and at this period, movies were the best way to escape from Paris without moving. Also I was more involved in the effects that music have on feature films. I searched for a school and I discovered in Belgium they have great studies. I went there, and I never regret. I took an important decision, I chose image section instead of sound section, because I didn’t want to see anymore sinusoid graphics and at the beginning of 80’s, electronics became more and more important in the learning of sound. Moreover I thought image was more close to what I want to do: telling stories.
How was your debut as cinematographer ?
I have got a very classical career path. After being an assistant most of the time for commercials, I shot short films and became cameraman for documentaries. Then I shot a lot of commercials in Belgium and everywhere in the world. While shooting a commercial in Turkey, I met a great director. We became friends and since then we are working together, after 17 years, magic of the hazard.
What do you like the most about being a cinematographer?
The most interesting thing is to create the movie from nothing except the script. It seems very basic reflection but I truly think that to participate in the creation and to immerse myself into the mind of a director or a story and trying to be as close as possible to his expectations, is the best part. You need to adapt yourself to somebody else. By this effort, you discover another world, and it always gives you great satisfaction. Watching the movie for the first time is nice too. It’s the end of an adventure, and I will have a trace forever.
What was the toughest moment in your career so far?
I have a lot of toughest moments, too long to explain. For example: being beaten by a monkey in the jungle, avoiding stones big as piano launched by volcano, waiting in a lake full of crocodiles, getting lost in a mountain because of the mist, shooting very fast cars in the border of the Seine in Paris, asking to the production to hire somebody to check so the decor won’t burn because I use too much power… I like this job.
What’s, in your opinion, the most difficult side of your job?
For me the most difficult thing is to maintain a good group. When you become a cinematographer, you ‘re not prepared to become the leader of a team. To put everybody on the same boat is very hard sometimes. It’s always a surprise when everything goes well .
What’s your opinion about the idea of a festival fully committed to the art and craft of cinematography?
It’ s always a good initiative. When I was young, during my study I came to Italy to attend the Giornate Internazionali dell’Aquila [the first ever festival committed to cinematography made in Europe] and all my dreamed cinematographers and technicians were there: V. Storaro, Sven Nykvist, Ernesto Novelli etc. I never forget the fact that they came to this festival just to share their passion of their work. It was a great experience and example.
will attend Terre di Cinema on:
MASTERCLASS: 05/09/2013 h 6:30 pm
SCREENING: JIN 05/09/2013 h 9:30 pm
all the events will take place at the Convento monumentale agostiniano of Forza d’Agrò (ME)