- Can you tell me your priorities in your life?
- Film. Film. Film.
CAMERRAMAN is an upcoming documentary about the legendary, three-time Academy Award-winning cinematographer, Robert Richardson. Forged from a friendship between Richardson and the filmmaker, Jana Hojdova, CameRRaman is an intimate portrait of one most innovative and accomplished cinematographers in cinema history. Featuring interviews with collaborators, close friends, and family members, Hojdova’s film explores both the storied cinematic achievements of Richardson as well as glimpses into his personal life—depicting the personal sacrifices resulting from a life dedicated to cinema.
When I finish the film I sometimes sink very deep.
Robert Richardson – RR – is one of the most revered contemporary cinematographers in the world (having worked on Platoon, JFK, The Aviator, Kill Bill, Inglorious Basterds, and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – to name just a few). Intrigued by his work, young Czech filmmaker Jana Hojdová decided to write her MA thesis about him and contacted him about it. Her reaching out to RR was the start of an extraordinary six-year journey and a deep mutual relationship. She decided to make a film about him.
The passionate, almost obsessive commitment to cinematography propelled Bob to the greatest heights within his art. At the same time, in his own words: “If I hadn’t escaped my fucking childhood, I would be lying six feet under by now, next to my brother James.”
The film starts as the two arrive at Bob’s home in a remote part of the New England coastline – Jana visiting for the first time after four years of knowing him and traveling with him. Two days later, the first Covid lockdown begins. During her time isolated in the house with Bob, Jana discovers the hundreds of hours of home footage that he had shot throughout his adult life – his newborn daughters, dying mother, first Oscar award, divorces, location scouting for Shutter Island, drunk Q&A with Quentin, buddy talk with Oliver, and more. Her film takes a sharp turn. The duo spends four months in the solitude of the lockdown. Together they work through Bob’s detox from filmmaking, re-suffer his childhood traumas and demons – and they both emerge fundamentally changed in the end.
If this film is not an inspiration to others then we FUCKED UP!
Being involuntarily cut off from her family, Jana realizes the deepness of her relationship with them and instinctively starts investigating the nature of Bob’s familial bonds. Through the home videos and her conversations with him, she comes to know the sacrifices he has made in his personal life for his work and the pain he consequently caused himself and those closest to him. In his states of emotional emptiness, the camera has served him as an escape and temporary redemption. The question of life-work balance in the extraordinary, inhuman environment of Hollywood becomes one of the film’s main topics, which Jana also discusses with Bob’s closest collaborators such as Oliver Stone, Martin Scorsese, and Quentin Tarantino. It seems that filmmaking remains the strongest cohesive force in their lives as well.
FULL-LENGTH DOCUMENTARY | IN PRODUCTION, COMING IN 2022 | APPROX. 90 MIN.
DIRECTOR: Jana Hojdová PRODUCERS: Jana Hojdová, Nela Schlaichertová, Michal Sikora CINEMATOGRAPHERS: Jana Hojdová, Petr Hojda SOUND: Klára Javoříková, Pavel Dvořák EDITOR: Anna Johnson Ryndová COLOR GRADING: Jan Mikita
Yes, it’s worth it!
Robert Richardson, Jana Hojdová, Oliver Stone, Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese, Woody Harrelson, Jeff B. Harmon, Monona Wali, Kanchan Wali Richardson, Kathleen Kennedy