Backstage Interview: CINEMATOGRAPHY

Backstage Interview: CINEMATOGRAPHY

INTERVIEW WITH: Greig Fraser

FILM: "DUNE"

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          A.    This feels like it's a little bit like bingo.  Like, am I

                hosting bingo right now?  Yes.

 

          Q.    [INAUDIBLE]

          A.    That man is the most humble talented person that I've ever met

                in entire my life.  Denis Villeneuve is a man who trusts his

                collaborators.  Feels that he has the right instincts to pursue

                an achievement like this.

                You know, DUNE is a tough story to make.  And, you know, I was

                at the effects crew.  It is, like, Denis is the man.  Every

                article, everything that gets written about DUNE must start

                with "Denis."

                Bingo.

 

          Q.    Okay.  Greg, congratulations!

          A.    Hey, Mark.  Oh, dude.  How are you?

 

          Q.    How are you is the question.

          A.    Really good.  Thank you.  I'm so sorry to be meeting like this.

 

          Q.    But, hey, so here we are getting to talk just a couple of weeks

                later after our Batman chat.  We left that with you going back

                to the second part of DUNE.  And what is going to be different?

                Can you expand on what will be different for you in this

                interval from part one to part two?  What will be changed?

                What will be the same with this great collaboration you have

                with Denis and the other crafts people?

          A.    Well, I can't give you any scoops.  I hate to say it.  Like, I

                have been trained by the house of the mouse at Luca's film to

                not give you any scoops.  So I won't tell you anything beyond

                that.

                But I will tell you that this is a bigger story.  It's -- I've

                read the script.  And I'm more blown away by this script than I

                was by part one.  I am more excited.  In fact, I was sitting at

                a meeting with Denis and Patrice and Paul at Denis' house

                talking about this film.

                And I turned to Denis and said, "I can't believe these people

                pay us to do this.  Like, this is ridiculous.  They pay us to

                make these movies, which are so exciting and so amazing."

                So I can tell you it's bigger and better and amazing.  So I

                apologize for not giving you more than that.

 

          Q.    This is Carolyn from Hollywood Record.

          A.    Hello, Carolyn.  How are you?

 

          Q.    Congratulations!

          A.    Thank you.

 

          Q.    You talked about Denis.  Would you also extend that and talk

                about your collaborators tonight who have also been recognized

                by Oscars?  Would you talk about just the collaboration and,

                also, supporting each other tonight?

          A.    I mean, this is the most talented bunch of collaborators I've

                ever worked with.  And, you know, every single time I get

                together with these people, I'm always at the back of the room

                looking at them going.  I am so honored and humbled and proud

                to be in the same room with these people.

                I mean, Patrice's work.  I mean, I don't know if everyone's

                seen Patrice's work or Denis on arrival, but it's insanely

                amazing.

                And to be part of that team and Joe's work with Denis is

                amazing.  And to be inserted into that, I feel very humbled.  I

                can't think of a better word.  I wish I could, but I feel

                humbled.  You know, like, I've shot with some amazing directors

                before.  And I still feel very lucky to have learned from the

                directors I've learned from.

                But this film, also, was a step forward for me as an artist.

                You know, I feel like there's so much to learn from Patrice and

                from Paul, who you'll get to speak to soon.  You know, Paul and

                his team.  Yes, agreed, agreed.

                This is the thing, like, this is what filmmaking is when it's

                a sum of its part.  And this is why I got involved with

                filmmaking in the first place.

                It wasn't to hold up an Oscar for cinematography, which will

                say I am very honored to.  So thank you.  It is not that.  It

                is to make a film.  It is better than cinematography by itself.

                It's better than the VFX by itself.

                We are the culmination of the Denis Villeneuve's combined group

                effort to make a movie.  And that's what I'm most proud of.

 

          Q.    Congratulations!  Greg, I'm over here.  Almost straight ahead.

          A.    Hi.  Hi.  Sorry.

 

          Q.    Karen Peterson of Awards Daily.

          A.    Hi.

 

          Q.    Congratulations!

                        I know 45 seconds in an acceptance speech isn't a lot

                of time, so would you like to take a minute now to thank some

                of the folks from your team that helped you get here?

          A.    You know, my crew means everything to me.  And I am going to

                lay their names out in a written word.  If I try and do it now,

                I am sure to screw it up.  I will mispronunciate.  Like, my

                crew is everything to me.  I can't do anything without them.

                They make up my deficiencies.  So they are fantastic.

                I wish that they could be here with me tonight.  I wish we

                could celebrate all of those people, but, unfortunately, I'm

                the figure head.  I'm the unlucky bugger that gets to stand up

                here and hold this.  A loss for them.  So if we can read their

                names when I publish them that would be fantastic.

                My collaborators Carolyn Lafaye [phonetic].  They are the

                reason I'm here.  And Denis Villenueve.  Again, every article

                that starts with this word, "Denis," and not with the word,

                DUNE.

 

          Q.    Hello, Greg.

          A.    Hello, mate.

 

          Q.    Congratulations!  Just look straight down the camera.  I'm

                coming to you.

          A.    Okay.  Yeah, you're in my -- you're in Heaven according to

                my --

 

          Q.    And we are all so excited for you.  Just announced it on the

                telly.  And the whole crew burst into applause.  So well done.

          A.    Thank you.

 

          Q.    Zero Dark Thirty, Lion, Rogue One, The Mandalorian, DUNE, the

                Batman -- that's just some of your resume.  Right?  What is it

                about training here in Australia that makes you so good at this

                job?

          A.    Australians are very resilient.  You know, it's something that

                Australians kind of don't realize they are until they leave, you

                know.

                And Australians are very resilient.  And we are quite good at

                making do with not a lot.  And that, particularly, goes to the

                film industry in Australia.  You know, we come up with some

                amazing stories.  Some of the best in the world.  And we have

                some of the best talents in the world.

                And, like, if we can train in Australia, we can come to bigger

                budgeted films in London or America or Europe.  And we can kind

                of shine.  And that is pretty evident this year, particularly,

                in cinematography.  You know, you have Ari Wegner who, as you

                know I am a huge fan of, who I really, really, really am proud

                of her success.  And to have Australians being represented the

                way that they are outside of the traditional acting and, you

                know, directing categories means a lot to me.

 

          Q.    Hi.  Can you hear me?

          A.    Yep, I can.  Through the camera?

 

          Q.    Awesome.  Yes.  Look at me.

                        Congratulations, by the way.

                        This movie has an incredible -- I mean, the visuals are

                just breathtaking.  And it is just a massive undertaking so

                what was the most challenging thing about making this movie.

                You know, the cinematography is just so incredible.

          A.    It was -- I think it was a series of thousands of little

                challenges.  It's not that every challenge was little, but

                thousands of medium to large challenges.  So every challenge

                seemed more insurmountable than the last.

                It is such a big story.  You know, ultimately, this film is a

                story about character.  So if you're standing there with a

                character with the camera and the actor is right, the script is

                right, the director is right, then, you can't help but film

                something that is magical.  So that's what I feel like we did

                on this.

                The sky was challenging.  The desert was challenging.  The heat

                was challenging.  But, ultimately, this was a film made good by

                its collaborators and by its artisans.

                You know, like we -- we got through, and we made a film that

                I'm super proud of.

 

          Q.    Hi, Greg.

          A.    Hey, who is this?

 

          Q.    Joel McGovern from the Wrap?

          A.    Hello, Mate, how are you?

 

          Q.    Congratulations!  Very well deserved?

          A.    Thank you.

 

          Q.    Beautiful work.

                        But you mentioned just now Ari Wegner.  Your country

                person and your co-nominee, fellow nominee.

                        Are you seeing maybe a change in the industry in terms

                of women cinematographers and opportunities for women.  It's

                such a long boys club historically, but are you noticing a

                great change there?

          A.    I'm glad you asked about that because, yes, there is a massive

                ground swell of interest of other voices that are occurring in

                the industry, generally.  And that has filtered its way down to

                the cinematography world.

                You know, there's been a lot of talk about actors and actresses

                and directors that are minorities or people that

                underrepresented.  But cinematography has a long lead-up time.

                Like, to learn how to be a cinematographer, it takes time.  And

                you don't just come out suddenly as a cinematographer.  You

                need to learn your craft.  And because of that it means, that

                we are looking at the world almost in reverse.  We're looking

                at 2010, 2011, 2012.

                So I'm feeling at this point in 2022, we are starting the

                process or beginning the process to continue for

                underrepresented people, women, minorities to be able to kind

                of have a voice in the cinematography world.

                So it's really exciting.  I'm really excited asking to look at

                what is going to be happening in cinematography-wise in 2032.

                That's going to be my interest level there.  It's going to be

                exciting.

 

          Q.    Hi, Greg.

          A.    Hi.  How are you?

 

          Q.    I'm good.

                        When you -- so do you have any thoughts on the

                academy's decision not to televise the presenting of some of

                the awards, including your DUNE collaborators on the sound

                team?

          A.    How long do you have?  Seriously.  Because I could talk to you

                about 35 minutes -- 30 hours, actually.

                I mean, listen, I will say this, that 45 minutes that we did

                that was so much fun.  And do you know why it is fun because it

                was a bit more informal.  That is why it is fun.  But it is

                tricky, you know.  And I don't mean we balance economics with

                the award shows, but films are made by, you know, the sound

                recorders, by visual effects supervisors, by the editors, by

                the productions designers.  That's how films are made.  And it

                seems odd to have some random relegation.  Everybody in this

                crowd realizes and understands why this happens.  Like, we're

                not silly.  And we understand the economics.  But at the same

                time, it is up to us, I think to change the economics, to

                change the fact that, you know, we want to encourage kids who

                are watching these awards to go, "You know what, I'm not an

                actor, I'm not a director, I'm not a producer, but I want to be

                a makeup artist."  So I want that recognition or I want to feel

                that celebrity, whatever that word is, to apply to me in a job

                that I can go for.

                So I feel like it's a really -- I mean, I understand.  And it's

                a little short-sided.  I get it.  But I just want my particular

                collaborator -- particularly, production design, editing,

                makeup and hair, you know, to be equally rewarded for this --

                for this -- for the job they do.

Acceptance speech transcripts for the 94th Academy Awards are created by a team of transcribers in real time and with minimal editing, for the benefit of the press on the night. They may contain omissions and errors, especially in the spelling of names. Clips of winner acceptance speeches may be found on oscar.com.

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