On the set of The Old Guard 2 (2023).

Angénieux Honors Ackroyd at 76th Cannes Film Festival

Barry Ackroyd, BSC — well-known for films including The Hurt Locker and United 93 — joins stellar array of Pierre Angénieux Tribute honorees.

ASC Staff

Angénieux will pay tribute to Barry Ackroyd, BSC on Friday, May 26, 2023, at the Buñuel Theater, Palais des Festivals during an evening opened by Thierry Frémaux, Delegate General of the Cannes Film Festival, and presented by French journalist Charlotte Lipinska.

The company’s announcement further notes:

The Pierre Angénieux Tribute ceremony is a unique event during which the experts of the world’s image — without whom cinema would not exist — are celebrated. Angénieux has been an official partner of the Cannes Film Festival since 2013.

For the 10th year of the Pierre Angénieux Tribute, the prominent Barry Ackroyd, whose career spans over 30 years, from the author’s film to the mainstream films, was chosen to receive this prestigious tribute.

A documentary and shoulder-camera enthusiast, he has lit 12 Ken Loach films, won multiple awards and nominations, including the BAFTA Award for Best Cinematography for Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker in 2008, and collaborated four times with Paul Greengrass.

Ackroyd succeeds Philippe Rousselot (ASC, AFC) in 2013, Vilmos Zsigmond (ASC, HSC) in 2014, Roger A. Deakins (ASC, BSC) in 2015, Peter Suschitzky (ASC) in 2016, Christopher Doyle (HKSC) in 2017, Edward Lachman (ASC) in 2018, Bruno Delbonnel (ASC, AFC) in 2019, Agnès Godard (AFC) in 2021 and Darius Khondji (ASC, AFC) in 2022.

In addition to the tribute that will be given to him on May 26, Ackroyd will give a Masterclass on Thursday, May 25, in the morning, moderated by journalist Jordan Mintzer (The Hollywood Reporter).

With his crew on the set of Outlaw King (2018) (Photo by Mark Mainz)

Barry Ackroyd was born in 1954 in Oldham, an industrial town in northern England, where he grew up. He says his life changed when he saw Andrzej Wajda’s film Kanal (about the Warsaw uprising) on television in 1956. “It just opened up my mind. It’s like falling in love. As an 11- or 12-year-old, your heart starts racing.” Then, as a teenager, he saw Ken Loach’s Kes (1969) on its original release and recognized its characters as kindred spirits. Twenty years later, he met Loach and became his regular cinematographer for 12 films, first by shooting

some of his documentaries, then in what will be Ackroyd’s first fiction feature film, Riff-Raff (1991), until The Wind That Shakes the Barley (2006), Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival.

Their intuitive relationship was rewarded with a special 'Best Duo' award at the 2002 Camerimage Film Festival and with a European Film Award for Ackroyd’s contribution to The Wind That Shakes the Barley.

Encouraged by his art teacher, Ackroyd originally intended to become a sculptor but while studying Fine Arts at Portsmouth Polytechnic, he discovered the 16mm film which made him fork towards the image.

His career as cinematographer began on television, which he never really left, mainly in documentaries. The first one, in 1986, is Jim Henson’s documentary Inside the Labyrinth, starring David Bowie.

He kept on working on documentaries, especially with Nick Broomfield, but also on feature films for Carine Adler, Steven Poliakoff, Dominic Savage and others. He prioritized the use of the hand-held camera, the obtrusive grain of the 16mm, naturally-lit. To give the actors a little more freedom during the scenes, he tends to avoid putting in place specific marks or lights that could influence the movements and natural reactions of the actors in the scene but favors the many cameras.

He collaborated twice with the writer-director pairing of Jimmy McGovern and Charles McDougall on the 1989 Hillsborough stadium disaster and the 1972 Bloody Sunday killings in Northern Ireland drew the attention of Paul Greengrass to hire him on United 93. For the latter, Ackroyd met the challenge of filming a 20-minute large-scale action scene in almost pitch darkness. Their collaboration then continues with Green Zone (2010), Captain Phillips (2013) and Jason Bourne (2016).

The near-simultaneous release of United 93 and The Wind that Shakes the Barley brought Ackroyd to Kathryn Bigelow's attention. They collaborated for the first time on The Hurt Locker in 2008, tthen on Detroit in 2017, and on a film for television in 2011, The Miraculous Year.

Most recently, Ackroyd has photographed the features The Old Guard (directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood), Sweet Girl (Brian Andrew Mendoza), I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Kasi Lemmons) and The Old Guard 2 (Victoria Mahoney).

Additional information about the Pierre Angénieux Tribute will be available via Angénieux’s social channels: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

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