Allan Stewart Konigsberg is the infamous jazz clarinetist playing small venues in Manhattan, in particular a regular Monday night slot at the Caryle Hotel. He is also known as Woody Allen, often cited as one of cinema’s ‘treasures’. He describes himself as a “militant Freudian atheist” after 37 years of psychoanalysis. In August 2009, Woody was shooting his fourth London based film.
At that stage untitled, but released in 2010 as You Will Meet a Tall, Dark Stranger at the Cannes Film festival. Even though is his a serial Oscar nominee (23 nominations and 4 wins) he has constantly refused to attend the ceremonies or acknowledge his Academy success. His one and only appearance was unannounced, when in 2002 he turned up and made a plea to producers to continue to make their films in New York after the 9-11 attacks. It was followed by a short montage of New York clips and a standing ovation.
One of my favourite DPs of all time is Vilmos Zsigmond – the Hungarian-American cinematographer.
The International Cinematographer’s Guild placed him as one of the ten most influential cinematographers in history. An exponent of the technique of ‘flashing’ or ‘pre-fogging’ which exposes the negative using small amounts of controlled light to create a muted colour palette. Nominated on four occasions, he won the Academy Award in 1977 for Steven Spielberg‘s Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
I found out that they were using a number of exterior locations around the Paddington area. On the fourth of August, 2009 I followed a Panovision truck heading into a quiet residential area called Cumberland Square. Bingo.
I did a very quick sketch of Woody and Vilmos and spoke to one of the techs about the Panovision Panaflex Millennium XC cameras with the primo lenses (not that I have an obsession)…
Oh yes, and would it be possible to meet Vilmos? He said he would see what he could do. A break for lunch and a lucky break for me. I got to meet one of my idols, he signed my sketch and I asked him if he could get Woody to do the same. I left it with him, and about an hour later a production assistant brought it back, signed.