AC to Present Ballhaus Tribute at Camerimage

American Cinematographer will present a seminar tribute to the late Michael Ballhaus, ASC, BVK at this year’s Camerimage International Film Festival in Bydgoszcz, Poland (Nov. 11-18). Tentatively scheduled to take place on Thursday, Nov. 16, from 3:00-5:00 p.m. at the MCK Orzel facility, the event will be moderated by the magazine’s senior European correspondent, Benjamin B. A select group of ASC members — including AMPAS president John Bailey, Dan Laustsen, Rachel Morrison and Ballhaus’ son, Florian — will join AC editor-in-chief and publisher Stephen Pizzello in a panel discussion featuring clips from the esteemed cinematographer’s work and informed analysis of his style and techniques.

Florian Ballhaus, ASC — who worked with his father for many years as a camera assistant, operator and second unit cameraman — has shot such feature films as The Devil Wears Prada, RED and Insurgent.

Rainer Werner Fassbinder takes a turn at the eyepiece as Ballhaus observes while shooting Despair (1978).

The discussion will begin with an overview of Ballhaus’ early career work with renowned German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder, for whom the cinematographer shot a slew of memorable features and television movies, including Whity, Beware of a Holy Whore, The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant, World on a Wire, Martha, Fox and his Friends, Chinese Roulette, Satan’s Brew, The Stationmaster’s Wife and The Marriage of Maria Braun

Ballhaus behind the camera while shooting The Departed (2006).

The tribute will include further dissection of Ballhaus’ Stateside work with longtime collaborator Martin Scorsese (After Hours, The Color of Money, The Last Temptation of Christ, GoodFellas, The Age of Innocence, Gangs of New York, The Departed) while touching on some of his other prominent projects, such as Bram Stoker’s Dracula, The Fabulous Baker Boys and Quiz Show

“Michael Ballhaus had a truly extraordinary and versatile career with a wide array of very prominent filmmakers,” says Pizzello. “Along the way, he earned three Academy Award nominations and three BAFTA nominations, as well as an ASC Award nomination and the ASC International Award. He also received two Golden Frog nominations and a Lifetime Achievement Award at Camerimage, where he was revered for his accomplishments.

“Michael’s influential work with Fassbinder, for whom he shot 15 projects, merits its own achievement honors, but his subsequent career in the U.S. spanned 30 years and produced many more classic films. Our discussion will cover projects from the entire arc of his amazing résumé, and will also offer some personal insights and observations about one of the most gentlemanly talents the film industry has ever produced.”

You can learn much more about Ballhaus here in a detailed career overview piece written by Pizzello.

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