From Brazil to Hollywood, Meet the Award Winning Cinematographer Andressa Cor

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Andressa Cor is a cinematographer from Brazil with over half a dozen years of experience in film and television. Her creative works have earned her the “New Filmmakers Program” grant at Panavision in 2014 and also the “Alfred P. Sloan Foundation” grant. Her AFI thesis film “Stealth” brought in awards from the 36th Student Emmy Awards, the jury prize at the Toronto International Film Festival and an honorable mention at the American Emerging Filmmakers Pavilion at Cannes.

 

On her own creativity, Cor said, “I stay curious about everything. My interest in subjects change almost every week. I obsess over a certain topic and learn as much as I can about it, til the next one comes. Because I am from Art school, more often than not I am obsessing over an artist. This happens to movies a lot as well. I take a certain filmmaker and watch a lot about him/her.”

 

Cor uses cinema as an exploration. She carries the camera with purpose. The rich colors within her frame bring out the emotion her story tells.

 

In her eyes, each film should have a style, and it’s the cinematographer’s job to translate that style into a language using the camera and lights. Ultimately, film is a collaboration, and as a result the cinematographer and director must be in communication. This is why Cor uses pre-production to “see what is the movie inside the director’s head and make sure my department is prepared to deliver that movie.”

 

Her film work has teamed her up with many great directors. She tends to seek out those who are like minded, and that she thinks she could build a friendship with. Three directors she’s had great experiences with are Bennett Lasseter, Diego Jesus and Andrew Crafa.

 

Alongside Lasseter, Cor has shot two films. One of them was the highly acclaimed, and highly awarded “Stealth.” The story follows a brave, young transgender woman guiding her way through life.

 

With Jesus, she also shot two films. “Incursion” was the first project they collaborated on. Using the camera as equals, they created a strong, unified and visually stunning film. The circumstances were rough, but things fell into place so well that they made another film entitled “Rosalia Marginal.”

 

“Some locations did not have electricity or generators and Andressa was forced to find unconventional ways to keep shooting in very difficult situations with limited resources,” said Jesus on “Incursion”. “She achieved this with ease, demonstrating an ability to improvise and problem solve as an exceptional Cinematographer under the most difficult of circumstances, while still creating beautifully impactful shots for the film that added a crisp, enlightening context that the documentary needed in order to truly impact our audience.”

 

Cor also shot two small projects with director Andrew Crafa. The first was a promotional piece for the 2015 film “Krampus” and the second was for the organization “I Have a Dream.” “Krampus” showcased Hollywood stars like Adam Scott, Toni Collette, and David Koechner. The promotional piece featured 14 of YouTube’s top stars.

 

Regardless of who Cor works with she has great admiration for her directors. “That’s why they say directing is a lonely task. There’s this village of people working for them, and they need to direct all of us to the same place. Sometimes, they have a bit of trouble with this, because we are making movies, is a lot about the visuals and the mood, it can get hard to explain. Every director has a different process of communicating, and I try to let him or her tell me the way they want to tell me. ”

 

Three of the biggest project’s Cor acted as cinematographer for are “60 Eight”, “Campground” and “No Tomorrow without Merci.”

 

“60 Eight” was shot in Burbank, California on a Red Scarlet. The film is about a child who wakes up after an accident to find himself a 60 year old man. Cor made sure her cinematography reflected “the clash of two worlds.”

 

“Campground” is about a young girl with hidden superpowers. The film was shot in two segments. The first was filmed in the LA desert, and the second was also filmed in Burbank, California.

 

On “Campground”, Cor said, “The goal was to make the audience walk in her shoes with her, and understand her world as she guided us thought it. Lighting was very natural for most of the movie except for the lighting cue we had when she finally reveals her capacities. ”

 

Her work on “No Tomorrow without Merci” helped the filmed win the Award of Merit at the  2015 Accolade Competition, and the Award of Excellence at the 2015 International Film Festival for Peace, Inspiration and Equality. It’s about a Jewish woman who decides to help an injured Nazi soldier. The goal was to shoot the film as realistically as possible using muted colors.

 

Two key influences on her work are Brazilian’s Cesar Charlone and Walter Carvalho. All the knowledge she gained from was completely unconscious. In fact, it took her years to realize her style of shooting was inherited from them.

 

“I didn’t know how much they influenced me until I recently rewatched “Central do Brasil” (Central Station) and saw that I had just shot the same set-up a week before!,” said Cor. “But instead of a little cabin, my camera was inside a car.”

Filmmaking is something that Cor has been fascinated by since she was young, but it wasn’t until she grew older that she learned about the position of cinematographer. She entered film school wanting to direct, but through her early works she started to gravitate towards the visual side of  the process. Once her desires were focused, she set off to film as much as she could while in school.

“The best cinematography work that I like happened because the DP and the director are at the exactly same page,” said Cor. “I do believe a cinematographer is as good as his or her director. And I see with renowned cinematographers that they work get better if they are working with the directors they align ideas better and collaborate together. For example, every Roger Deakins work is stellar. But his masterpieces, in my opinion, happened when he was working with the Coen Brothers. ”

Making a good film is all about trust for Cor. As long as she continues to work with people that understand that, her work will continue to grow and visually stun.

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