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Check out Filip Vandewal’s Artwork

Today we’d like to introduce you to Filip Vandewal.

Filip, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I entered film school in Brussels, Belgium to become a sound engineer but quickly discovered that I was more drawn to the camera and eventually graduated as cinematographer. One of the very first short films I shot got nominated for ‘The Golden Palm’ at the prestigious International Film Festival in Cannes, France. This quickly resulted in shooting my first feature film called ‘De Laatste Zomer (The Last Summer)’. I was 24 at the time and probably the youngest working DP in Belgium. It was also around that time I came for the first time to LA to shoot a short film. While I was here, I made some good connections in the entertainment industry in LA and decided to make the jump to trade Belgium for LA.

It was early 2009 when I finally arrived in the city, right at the peak of the great recession. There was no work and by the time I arrived, most of the connections I made earlier had quit their job or moved to other places. The first year was brutal, I had left everything behind and had very little money left after the move and now I find myself also to start my career all over again and trying to build up new connections and friendships in a climate where everybody was just trying to survive the recession. I eventually I pulled through and after a few years I finally found my groove back and now I’m shooting feature films and commercials all over the world.

We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
I’m a cinematographer or director of photography. I mainly shoot feature films and commercials. I have a huge part in how the movie looks like by using lighting and a camera to capture the shots. I work very closely with the director on those things. I basically am in charge of whatever shots the director dreams of to technically and artistically capture them with the rest of the film crew. My job is technical and at the same artistical, and very often political as well to keep all the artists who are working on the same project happy. Making a movie is probably the artform where the most artists work on one piece of art.

I try to work on project I like and feel that will resonate with a large audience.

Do current events, local or global, affect your work and what you are focused on?
The role of the cinematographer is very important for a movie, but technology has changed and made the job much more accessible, which is good and bad at the same time. Now Everybody with a camera can capture an image instantly and can experiment shooting images for a very low cost. The magic of shooting an image on film and waiting till it’s developed to see the result is unfortunately gone. These days the cameras are so light sensitive that you don’t need lights anymore to capture an image. But the job is much more than that. You have to use the light to shape the image, create a mood for the scene and a look for the movie. You have to be consistent or shape the environment with light in a way that it serves the story and on top of that, you need to place the camera in the right position and choose the right lenses to serve the story.

And in these days it’s also important to do it fast, really fast. That’s the value of the cinematographer as an artist, but not everybody who hires us thinks that way. Even the Oscars this year have tried to push our work out of the spotlights. Luckily they’ve reversed their decision. I understand that all the fame and glory goes to the actors and director, but cinematography is the essence of visual story telling without it there simply is no movie and the work of that all those individual artist do on a movie will not be seen.

Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
I’ve shot quite a few award-winning short films which screened at films festivals all over the world. I’ve shot several feature films in the US that had limited theatrical runs and are available on DVD and blue ray. I’ve shot a few feature films for the Russian and Armenian market which had a wide release over there and were also box office hits in their countries.

Last year ‘The Open House’, a Netflix original, starring Dylan Minnette (13 reasons why) was released and did pretty well on their platform. Later this year ‘Camp Cold Brook’ will be released. I also just wrapped up ‘Witness Infection’, which is the latest feature film I shot and will probably be released at the end of the year or early next year.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
David Sorcher, John Metcalf, Victoria Alexandra

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