American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 64

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A Soul at Home

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A

Ghost Story was shot in and around
Irving, Texas, where writer-director
David Lowery grew up. "I didn't intend
to shoot there, but that just happened to
be where we found the house," Lowery
tells AC over the phone while driving
from Cincinnati, Ohio - where he had
just wrapped principal photography on
his next feature, Old Man and the Gun
- back to Texas. "It definitely added a
layer of meaning to the entire experience for me."
American
Cinematographer:
Where were you when you began
working on A Ghost Story?
David Lowery: I was in L.A.
working on Pete's Dragon [AC Sept. '16];
it was February or March of 2016. The
first draft was only 10 pages, the second
draft was 30 pages, and by the time we
shot, it was about 40 pages. I'd fly to
Dallas on the weekends so we could
develop it a little further, put various
pieces together, find the location, and go
scouting - and then I'd fly back and
work on Pete's Dragon for another week.
It kept going like that throughout April
and May, and then production began
June 12.
Just in terms of scale, Pete's
Dragon and A Ghost Story seem like
such disparate projects. Were there
lessons learned on the former that you
could apply to the latter?
Lowery: I definitely went into it
thinking that it'd be a very different sort
of production. After having spent a year
at that point in postproduction on Pete's
Dragon, I really wanted to shoot something again, and I felt that this would be
quick and easy - which turned out not
to be true. I came to the realization
within a few days of shooting that it
doesn't matter what scale your movie is;
it's going to take everything you've got
to give. All of the joys and woes of filmmaking are a hundred-percent scalable.
Over the course of that summer,
we shot for about 29 days, which was a
little less than half of what Pete's Dragon
took, and the budget was less than a
single day of photography on Pete's

64

August 2017

Dragon. But on a creative level and a
technical level, it was just as challenging, if not more so - and more daunting because I didn't have the safety net
of a larger budget or a studio. This was
a crazy idea that was entirely on me.
There was no one else who was going
to pay to fix problems. My partners and
I were paying for the movie, so
anything we screwed up was on us.
By bearing that responsibility
yourself, though, you had the freedom
to do things like shoot in the 1.33:1
aspect ratio.
Lowery: Absolutely. On a very
base level I knew that I probably would
not have a chance to make a movie in
1.33 unless I paid for it myself - so I'd
better take that chance while I've got
the opportunity. But I also wanted to
challenge myself creatively. I love 1.33;
it's a beautiful ratio, and I wanted to
learn how to think that way because my
brain just naturally thinks in
widescreen. I also felt this would be a
good film to do it on, not only because
it was already going to be an art-house
movie, but because it's about being
trapped in a space, and I felt that the
constraints of that ratio might add to
that.
How did cinematographer
Andrew Droz Palermo complement
your vision for A Ghost Story?
Lowery: He understood that we

American Cinematographer

were making something that was going
to be very handmade, and that we
weren't going to have a lot of tools or
time or any of the things that a larger
film might have. But also he knew how
to make a film this small feel much
bigger than it might have. I really
wanted to take something that was
going to have every limitation, whether
it be time or budget or even the aspect
ratio, and make it feel epic. That was
something I feel he was uniquely suited
to because he comes from a microbudget background but his tastes are
much more expansive and run towards
fine art. He was able to bring a lot in
both of those regards.
Also, one of the biggest things
for me is working with people who -
even beyond our creative similarities or
similar instincts - have a disposition
that's similar to mine. Andrew doesn't
like to yell, he doesn't get riled up, he's
very calm, and that really suits me well;
that allows me to be in the best space
for my own creative needs, and I think
the same goes for him. We're both able
to complement each other in our
chilled-out dispositions.
- Jon D. Witmer
Click here for an extended interview with Lowery.


https://www.theasc.com/articles/david-lowery-directs-a-ghost-story https://www.theasc.com/articles/david-lowery-directs-a-ghost-story

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Cinematographer - August 2017

Contents
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - Intro
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - Cover1
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - Cover2
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 1
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 2
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - Contents
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 4
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 5
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 6
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 7
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 8
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 9
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 10
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 11
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 12
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 13
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 14
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 15
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 16
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 17
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 18
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 19
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 20
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 21
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 22
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 23
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 24
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 25
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 26
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 27
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 28
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 29
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 30
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 31
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 32
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 32a
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 32b
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 32c
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 32d
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 33
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 34
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 35
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 36
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 37
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 38
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 39
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 40
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 41
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 42
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 43
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 44
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 45
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 46
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 47
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 48
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 49
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 50
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 51
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 52
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 53
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 54
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 55
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 56
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 57
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 58
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 59
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 60
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 61
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 62
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 63
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 64
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 65
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 66
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 67
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 68
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 69
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 70
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 71
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 72
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 73
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American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 76
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 77
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 78
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 79
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 80
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - Cover3
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - Cover4
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