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Q&A with Tim Fleming – DOP for ‘All is By My Side’
31 Oct 2014 : Deirdre Molumby
On the festival rounds, biopic ‘All is By My Side’ has screened in Texas, Seattle and Italy. Shot in Dublin and co-produced by Irish firm Subotica Entertainment, the biopic which stars Andre Benjamin in the leading role of Jimi Hendrix and is written and directed by John Ridley (‘12 Years a Slave’) is out in Irish cinemas now.

Having previously spoken with producer Tristan Orpen Lynch of Subotica, production sound mixer Dan Birch and costume designer Leonie Prendergast, IFTN now speaks with the cinematographer for the film, Tim Fleming.

How did you come to be attached to ‘All is By My Side’?

My Agent at Gersh NY, Mira Yong, recommended me to Darko Entertainment. By the time it channelled through Subotica Entertainment, for whom I'd shot ‘Small Engine Repair’, I was sent the script and had a Skype with John Ridley.

How did you achieve the look that was specific to 1960s London?

For my part in achieving the look I shot with Hawk Anamorphic Lenses for the aspect ratio 2.40:1 to create a particular sense of drama. I wanted the piece to be moody so I shot with a single key light where possible to allow for adequate contrast. I also used back light.

We were quite specific about locations in suggesting the era and John was open to placing scenes in these locations rather than always being specific to the script.

What other departments did you work with to achieve this look?

The primary departments for me in the collaboration are Production Design and Costume, but all departments play their part. Paul Cross was our Production Designer - I had worked with Paul previously on ‘Luther’ series 1 for BBC. I think he did a fantastic job. We spoke a lot about colour and texture and how it would fit with the lighting plan. This was a low budget film so we needed to be as creative as possible with limited resources. Leonie Prendergast provided us with wonderful and extraordinary costume full with the colour and attitude of the period.

What was your greatest challenge in the film?

We had a couple of tricky shots we wanted to achieve but in the main John is a very focused and clear director and open to things shifting for the better. In the main the challenges were around what we could and couldn't shoot relative to the Hendrix Estate or clearance issues.

What was your overall experience of working on the project?

Fantastic experience with a great crew. There were so many crew I'd missed working with who were available for this film, people I'd come through with like Gaffer Barry Conroy, Key Grip Paul Tsan, the list goes on. A joy to go to work everyday.

The tone for this was set by John and he kept a tight ship.

What projects are you working on or have coming up?

Right now I'm shooting ‘AD’, a 12 part series for NBC in Morocco. I also photographed ‘Gold’, the Niall Heery film currently in Irish cinemas.

‘All is By My Side’ is now showing in the Light House Cinema, Smithfield.

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