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Monday, 20 January 2014 06:07

Sundance and Canon Help Indies Thrive

Written by  Valentina I. Valentini
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Canon C500Out of 118 feature films being screened at this year’s 30th anniversary festival in Park City, 19 percent were shot on Canon cameras. That’s second only to ARRI cameras (mostly the Alexa) that take up 27 percent of the annual indie barometer’s slate.

“All Canon Cinema EOS products have a very distinct personality,” says Canon’s Film & Television Advisor, “and indie filmmakers seem to be gravitating toward that look. Our C300 and C100 pack a powerful image in a smaller, affordable, and more traditional cinema-style body, which lets filmmakers focus more on their stories and less on their cameras.”

Some of the big films utilizing the C300 are Blue Ruin – for which writer-director Jeremy Saulnier chose specifically because of it’s big punch in a small package – Song One (partially shot on the Alexa Plus as well), Life Itself, and WHITEY: United States of America v. James J. Bulger.

DP Nick Higgins chose the C300 for the short documentary by prolific doc filmmaker and Academy-Award nominee Lucy Walker, The Lions Mouth Opens, because he loves that the larger chip allows him to easily use selective focus to tell the story in a very cinematic way.

“Sealing the deal was the C300's compact size and its abilities in low light,” he says. “I bought my C300 the month it hit the street after flipping my Panasonic HDX900. That camera treated me well, but loaded up it was a 25-pound beast and both my shoulder and I had been dreaming about the day a smaller body camera would be available.”

Higgins, who has spent the last 30 years living all over the world and has shot Bess Kargman's ballet documentary First Position (TIFF 2011) and numerous projects with Academy Award nominee Morgan Spurlock, came to the film after collaborating with Walker on a number of other films including The Crash Reel, which premiered at last year’s Sundance. Lions Mouth is a film about a young woman facing her destiny by finding out whether or not she has the gene that causes Huntington's disease.

“It has one of the most dramatic scenes I have ever shot,” says Higgins, “and it’s the only film I've ever made where I just had to reach out and physically touch the shoulder of the subject in a moment of re-assurance. It’s powerful real-life drama.”

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