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July 2018

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  • Live and direct
    From concerts to cup finals and ceremonial occasions, live events are increasingly important to broadcasters. Tim Dams reports
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    In advance of EditFest London 2018, four editors from the worlds of live action and animation who’ve shaped films from Top Gun to Wonderwoman 
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    …And nowhere more than the UK, where studios are coping with an unprecedented demand for studio space from TV and film productions. Pippa Considine reports
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Film 40, 2016 Back to Reports & survey Listing

The UK's top 10 directors of photography

British cinematography has continued to be in demand over the past 12 months, underlining that there’s more to the continuing UK film production boom than government tax incentives.

British talent behind the lens is a very important piece of the jigsaw when it comes to attracting film productions to the UK, although, of course, top flight British DPs work on major features all over the world.

Our top ten list is based on the latest work which cinematographers have recently shot or are currently shooting, and how their work has rated both critically and at the box office. We also take this season’s awards ceremonies into account, notably the Oscars and the Baftas. It is put together with the help of working DPs, grading artists and film industry executives.

One feature of this year’s list is that, like the Oscars, it’s very white. Also there are no women in the top 10.

One of the most straightforward names to include this year was Barry Ackroyd, the Lancashire-born cinematographer behind this year’s Oscar-winning investigation into the international banking crisis The Big Short. Ackroyd, president of the British Society of Cinematographers, is well known for his work with directors such as Paul Greengrass, so it was no surprise that he was enlisted to shoot Greengrass’s latest Jason Bourne outing – set to be one of the biggest box office films of 2016.

Known for his documentary realist style of shooting, Ackroyd kept The Big Short interesting with lots of unusual views of office interiors that might have failed to inspire less DPs.

Danny Cohen continued his knack for being associated with outstanding projects. This year saw The Danish Girl  nominated for multiple awards at the Baftas, with Alicia Vikander scooping an Oscar for best supporting actress. His taut drama Room also saw Brie Larson win a best actress Oscar. Could awards success continue with the DP’s next project – Florence Foster Jenkins – starring Meryl Streep. Cohen is also shooting Final Portrait, a biopic of Swiss painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti.

Rob Hardy’s star is in the ascendant thanks to the success of stylish indie sci-fi thriller Ex-Machina, which won multiple awards including an Oscar for best VFX. The Testament of Youth DP has also signed up for Alex Garland’s next sci-fi thriller Annihilation.

It’s been another big year for Rush DP Anthony Dod Mantle (Rush, Trance, Dredd). The British-born Danish resident has worked on several much-anticipated projects including Oliver Stone’s Snowden. He has shot John Le Carre adaptation Our Kind of Traitor and is working on Irving Welsh’s Trainspotting sequel. 

Roger Deakins is another regular on this list and has impressed with recent credits including Unbroken, for which he received an Oscar nomination. Other credits include Coen brothers comedy Hail, Caesar!, Oscar nominated Sicario and the Bladerunner sequel, set to shoot this summer.

Mini-studio Marvel has been the happy hunting ground for cinematographer Ben Davis, who was director of photography on Guardians of the Galaxy and also lensed another Marvel hit Avengers: Age of Ultron, the fourth biggest grossing film of 2015. His latest Marvel superhero project is Doctor Strange. 

John Mathieson makes the list this year for his much-anticipated Knights of the Round Table: King Arthur, following The Man from U.N.C.L.E, another Guy Ritchie directed movie.

Seamus McGarvey joins Mathieson thanks to upcoming work such as Nocturnal Animals, The Accountant and the Alien-inspired sci-fi thriller Life (2017).

Robbie Ryan’s stylish direction has turned heads, with a CV which includes  Catch Me Daddy and the highly rated Philomena. His latest work includes Yeh Din Ka Kissa, currently in production, 2016 British-American road movie American Honey, and I, Daniel Blake.

Texas-born British resident Sean Bobbitt, best known for his work on 12 Years A Slave, is the only non-British born DP on this list. A member of the BSC, Bobbitt’s latest work includes Queen of Katwe and Stronger, adrama about the Boston marathon bombing.

The top 10

Barry Ackroyd
Credits Jason Bourne, The Big Short, The Last Face, Captain Phillips, The Hurt Locker, United ‘93

Barry Ackroyd
Credits Jason Bourne, The Big Short, The Last Face, Captain Phillips, The Hurt Locker, United ‘93

Danny Cohen
Credits Florence Foster Jenkins, Final Portrait, Room, The Danish Girl, London Road, Les Miserables, The King’s Speech

Ben Davis
Credits Genius, Doctor Strange, Avengers: Age Of Ultron, Guardians Of The Galaxy, Before I Go To  Sleep

Roger Deakins
Credits Bladerunner 2, Sicario, Hail, Caesar!, Unbroken, Skyfall, True Grit, No Country For Old Men

Anthony Dod Mantle
Credits Porno, Snowden, Our Kind Of Traitor, In The Heart Of The Sea, Rush, Dredd

Rob Hardy
Credits Annihilation, Ex Machina, Testament Of Youth, The Invisible Woman, Shadow Dancer, Stolen, Red Riding

John Mathieson
Credits Knights Of The Round Table: King Arthur, Pan, The Man From U.N.C.L.E, X Men: First Class

Seamus Mcgarvey
Credits Noctural Animals, The Accountant, Life, Pan, Enigma

Robbie Ryan
Credits Yeh Din Ka Kissa, American Honey,  I, Daniel Blake, Catch Me Daddy,  Philomena

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