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GARY CLARKE - A Life Behind the Camera

09.08.2021, 14:00h , Room "Changes" in the Astra Museum Pavilion, free access

“A Life in Documentaries”, the series launched by Astra Film Festival in 2019, continues this year with a very special guest, one of Britain’s  best Directors of Photography, Emmy-nominated Gary Clarke.

Gary Clarke has worked in film and television for over twenty years, on a variety of documentaries, dramas, commercials, and indie features, many of which have won prestigious awards. His award-winning films include the documentary feature 37 uses for a Dead Sheep directed by Ben Hopkins (The Nine Lives of Tomas Katz, Simon Magus) Countdown to Zero, Lawrence Bender’s follow up to his Oscar winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth directed by Lucy Walker, and Letters from Baghdad, a feature length drama documentary on the life of Gertrude Bell, all cinema releases.

He has shot over one hundred documentaries in as many countries for the BBC, the Discovery Channel, Amazon Studios, Netflix, National Geographic, the History Channel, PBS, ITV, ZDF and RTL.

Gary has also successfully transitioned into the drama world having been recently nominated for a Canadian Screen Award for Best Photography in a drama or drama series for Gangland Undercover a Cineflix series for The History Channel US. He also shot second unit on The Aeronauts (for Amazon Studios, budget 40 mil USD) and The Last Letter From Your Lover (International Box Office USD 959,147), currently in cinemas.

At Astra Film Festival ’21, Gary gives a Masterclass on Looking for the Real: The Ethics of the Drama Documentary and discusses his prestigious career and visual storytelling philosophy with Bafta-nominated director Liviu Tipurita in a hybrid session with both on site and online audiences having the oportunity to ask their questions.

MASTERCLASS GARY CLARKE, DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY

Throughout its long history, drama documentary has been one of film and television’s most popular, but also most controversial forms. Film and programme makers are attracted to its combination of the languages of drama and documentary either to dramatize real events, thereby stimulating interest in issues through empathy with characters and narrative, or to apply documentary style to fictional content, thereby making it feel more ‘real’. Critics and theorists, however, continue to debate the extent to which these techniques ‘blur the boundaries’ of fact and fiction, ‘dupe’ viewers and sacrifice factual accuracy to dramatic story telling.

This masterclass will take the form of a debate, with audience participation into the ethics of this genre. From Robert Flaherty’s staging of Eskimo life in ‘Nanook of the North’ (1926), Peter Watkins ‘Culloden’ (1964), Errol Morris’s ‘Thin Blue Line’ (1988) through to a Netflix series ‘I am a Killer’ which I myself have recently completed.

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