American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 14

Short Takes

I

Spirit Animals
By John Calhoun

Sometimes you want to shoot a film not for the money or the
client, but just for yourself. Such was the case with Dan Shapiro and
Alex Topaller, Grammy-winning directors who together run the
successful New York-based commercial/music-video production
company Aggressive. Last year, in between projects for clients like
New Balance and Bloomberg, they took off for Argentina to shoot
the 17-minute narrative film She Wolf. It was an experience both
filmmakers describe as liberating.
"This was the first time we said, 'Okay, we're going to fund
this ourselves - we don't have a client to answer to and we can just
structure the production how we want to,'" says Shapiro, who
started Aggressive with friend and collaborator Topaller in 2006.
"Also, a lot of our work tends to incorporate visual effects and
animation, so we wanted to delve into something focused more on
live action, storytelling and working with actors."
Topaller adds, "Basically, we wanted to take a big step to the
side from what we've been doing for a very long time. We didn't
really have any solid plan in mind when we decided to make She
Wolf; we just wanted to go on an adventure and shoot something
that was longer than 60 seconds and was not a music video."
The directors also determined that they wanted to shoot
outside of the New York-Los Angeles universe in which they normally
work. "We wanted to get a slightly different flavor, different
scenery," says Topaller. "We had some friends we had worked with
in Argentina, so that country was on our radar."
Sometime later, they made contact with British-born director
14

July 2015

of photography Ben Battersby, who is based in Buenos Aires. In
addition to commercials and music videos, Battersby has shot documentaries and other short-film work. It turned out to be a perfect
match. "Since we came from an effects-heavy background, a lot of
the work we've done is very polished and glossy and [finessed] in
post," explains Shapiro. "What we liked about Ben was the way he
lights his shots with practical lights, just painting the scene incamera."
Battersby, in turn, says he felt comfortable with the directors
because of their ability to handle the postproduction elements that
She Wolf demanded. "I looked at Dan and Alex's work, and it gave
me confidence that they were going to be able to achieve the techniques that were [called for] in the script," says the cinematographer. "Had it been a different sort of director with a different background, I may have been more wary."
She Wolf tells the story of paparazzo Ernesto (Esteban
Bigliardi), who feels responsible when his favorite target, the lovely
Sofia (MarĂ­a Alche), dies in a motorcycle accident. The photographer
takes a vacation in the wilderness and encounters a group of
wolves, one of whom becomes connected in Ernesto's mind - and
in several hallucinatory shots - with Sofia. He eventually finds some
semblance of peace with the specter.
For opening city scenes, the production shot in Buenos Aires,
but the bulk of the film was shot 10 hours away in the Sierra de la
Ventana mountains. Battersby used an Arri Alexa Classic and a
Convergent Design Gemini 4:4:4 for recording in ArriRaw. "I shot
raw mostly because I was concerned that, given the nature of the
locations and budget, I would not have the control I would like all
the time," the cinematographer explains. A case in point was the

American Cinematographer

Behind-the-scenes photos by Dan Shapiro. All images courtesy of Aggressive.

A tabloid
photographer
is haunted by
the death of
his favorite
target, who
he begins to
suspect has
been
reincarnated
as a wolf in
the short film
She Wolf.



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Cinematographer - July 2015

Contents
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - Cover1
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - Cover2
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 1
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 2
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - Contents
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 4
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 5
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 6
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 7
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 8
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 9
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 10
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 11
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 12
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 13
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 14
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 15
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 16
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 17
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 18
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 19
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 20
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 21
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 22
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 23
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 24
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 25
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 26
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 27
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 28
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 29
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 30
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 31
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 32
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 33
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 34
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 35
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 36
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 37
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 38
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 39
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 40
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 41
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 42
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 43
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 44
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 45
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 46
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 47
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 48
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 49
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 50
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 51
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 52
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 53
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 54
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 55
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 56
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 57
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 58
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 59
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 60
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 61
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 62
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 63
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 64
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 65
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 66
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 67
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 68
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 69
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 70
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 71
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 72
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 73
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 74
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 75
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 76
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 77
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 78
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 79
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 80
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 81
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 82
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 83
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 84
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 85
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 86
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 87
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - 88
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - Cover3
American Cinematographer - July 2015 - Cover4
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac1219
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac1119
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac1019
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0919
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0819
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0719
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0619
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0519
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0419
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0319
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0219_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0219
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0119_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0119
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac1218
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac1118
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac1018
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0918
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0818
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0718
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0618
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0518
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0418
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0318
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0218
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0118
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac1217
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac1117
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac1017
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0917
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0817
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0717
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0617
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0517
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0417
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0317
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0217
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0117
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac1216
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac1116
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac1016
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0916
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0816
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0716
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0616
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0516
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0416
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0316
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0216
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0116
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac1215
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac1115
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac1015
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0915
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0815
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0715
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0615
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0515
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0415
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0315
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0215
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ac/ac0115
http://www.nxtbookMEDIA.com