Every year I shoot a gallery of film portraits for the Village Voice, LA Weekly and their 9 other sister papers. Every year it’s some of my favorite work. I love cinema and the SXSW Film Fest is always really well curated. I have seen so many good movies there. So photographing the festival is always a great time.
I don’t normally enjoy shooting celebrity stuff, but I do enjoy the challenge of having to get a good portrait in the sometimes seconds I have to shoot them. I also occasionally get to meet people I really admire and I sometimes get to meet just some really good people. This year I really busted my ass and photographed the cast and/or crew of a TON of films. Let’s see if I can quickly break this down!
First of all I shot the cast and director of Two Step. Two Step is a Texas thriller that I wanted to photograph because my brother edited it. My brother has a pretty serious IMDB but Two Step was the first feature he edited by himself. Turns out it is WAY better than I thought it would be. It was probably the best film I saw at the theater and if you get a chance to see it you NEED to, especially if you enjoy really fucked up violent films. And violent in a realistic way, not a cheesy ultra gory way. The star of the film James Landry Hebert is going to get a lot of work after this and he couldn’t deserve it more. Fantastic actor and really good dude. Oh, and they got a great Variety review that mentioned my brother by name!
A highlight for me was meeting Tobe Hooper director of Texas Chainsaw Massacre. We had a pretty awesome conversation about the underrated sequel. Really brilliant dude. I also got to meet Tom Savini, the make up artist who is pretty much responsible for the look of zombies today. His film Doc Of The Dead looks amazing even though I didn’t get to see it.
I got to shoot Juliette Lewis for the third time. I have had a crush on her my entire life and every time I meet her I get slightly more smitten. She retweeted one of my photos saying how nice it was to be photographed by me so you guys need to see her film Kelly & Cal right away. Don’t be fools!
Speaking of smitten, Emmy Rossum is the most attractive human I have ever seen in real life. She is in a movie called Before I Disappear with Ron Perlman of Sons of Anarchy fame and Paul Wesley who is a very pretty famous vampire or so I have been told. I heard great things about their movie so I am gonna see that one for sure.
Alia Shawkat is the most photogenic person I have ever seen. She is in a movie called Wild Canaries that features my friend Teddy Blanks title sequence. Teddy did four title sequences in the festival including Ping Pong Summer which he was nominated for an award for. I went with him to the Wild Canaries after party and ended up dancing with most of the cast until they kicked us out. The next morning I photographed them all. Only slightly awkward.
I shot the Heart Machine which features John Gallagher Jr and Kate Lyn Sheil two people that I have taken fantastic photos of in the past. John Gallagher is probably my favorite person I have met doing these things and I hope the Heart Machine does as well as his last film Short Term 12.
Did I mention I got to shoot Robert Duvall for his film A Night In Old Mexico? I got to shoot him once before and he and Bill Murray gave me Hell for being late. It was an honor to be mocked by them. This year I got him one on one and he was great. Really amazing experience. Another hero I got to photograph was Snoop. He was in a documentary called Take Me To The River about music in Mississippi. I shot him with R&B legend William Bell and other musicians. Pretty cool.
Shooting comedy stuff is always the best cause the photo shoots are fun and the people will do entertaining things. Jemaine Clement has a new film called What We Do In Shadows and I got to photograph him eating a sandwich. When I shot the cast of Mike Judge’s new HBO show Silicon Valley it was 10am and was probably the only good time I have ever had before noon. Those guys are so funny I know this show is going to be amazing. I have known Kumail Nanjiani for years and it’s awesome to see him be as successful as he is now. Also, apologies again to Amanda Crew for giving her shit about her camera lens, she is a way better photographer than I am.
This is getting way too long, let’s stop name dropping and wrap it up. Other films in the gallery include my friend AJ’s film Take Care, tennis comedy Break Point, Late Phases, Starry Eyes, I Believe In Unicorns and the cast of the new Dusk Til Dawn TV show including Danny Trejo and Robert Patrick!
I also shot red carpet stuff for Chef (which I loved), Supermench (I got to photography Mike Myers aka Wayne Campbell!), Neighbors (Zac Efron selfie), A Night In Old Mexico and Cesar Chavez. I also got to shoot Cesar Chavez portraits but they gave me less than 30 seconds and were missing a cast member and Diego Luna and they were kinda rude about it (the publicists not the actors0. Rosario Dawson is also insanely attractive in real life. I have had a crush on her since the mid 90’s.
Okay, I am done! Click here to see the giant gallery of 2014 SXSW Film portraits!