5 December 2023 The Irish Film & Television Network

Irish Film and Television Network




Features & Interviews

IFTA Q&A Series 2023: Peter Robertson on Cinematography
27 Apr 2023 : Luke Shanahan
Peter Robertson
To mark the 20th anniversary of the IFTA awards, we are showcasing Irish talent who are blazing a trail across our industry, working in front of and behind the camera.

Hosted in association with IFTA, this Q&A Series connects with Irish talent who represent a range of disciplines across our industry. 

We find out what they look out for in the projects they take on, what their approach is to filmmaking and collaboration; what inspires them; and what recent work in the industry they most admire.

Irish cinematography is going through something of a golden age, which can be seen through the rich and diverse catalogue of screen work from our talented crew, both in Ireland and internationally. We spoke with two-time IFTA-winning cinematographer Peter Robertson who has worked across multiple international projects: Vikings, Nightflyers, and The Stranger. A veteran cinematographer, Robertson’s previous credits include Aisling Walsh’s Son for a Raggy Boy, Damien O’Donnell’s Inside I’m Dancing, Lenny Abrahamson’s Garage, as well as the BBC drama Line of Duty, Netflix drama Black Mirror, and Sky One comedy Moone Boy.

This year marks Robertson’s second IFTA nomination for his work on Vikings: Valhalla.

IFTN: What was your approach to making this film, and where did you take inspiration from during the process?

PETER: “My approach to this film came from working on Vikings/Valhalla for over 6 seasons . Valhalla was a new departure for the show with a different writer, different actors and a different look. The new look was my responsibility and was decided through testing on the pilot and agreeing that look with the show runner Jeb Stewart. I took my inspiration from what went before.”

IFTN: Tell me about your experience on set, and your favourite moment during production?

PETER: “I really enjoyed every aspect of working on this project, what was not to like? It was shot in Ireland with a truly magnificent crew that just had that ‘never-say-die' attitude and were up for any task, no matter how demanding. The muck and the rain were a little bit challenging occasionally!”

IFTN: What was your first paid role as a DoP, and how has your approach to the work evolved over the years?

PETER: “My 1st paid role as a cameraman was shooting a corporate video for digital computers in Mervue Industrial Estate, Galway in the early 80s. It’s been a long road from corporate videos to news, sports, magazine programmes, documentaries, commercials, shorts, features and TV drama. All valuable learning experiences which have evolved my career over the last 35 years.”

IFTN: What filmmaker or cinematographer has influenced you the most?

PETER: “Nestor Almendros and Seamus Deasy.”

IFTN: What Irish cinematographers have you been most impressed by recently?

PETER: “John Conroy, PJ Dillon, Kate McCullough.”

IFTN: Is there an Irish film over the last few years that you wish you had been a part of?

PETER: “An Cailín Ciúin.”

IFTN: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given in your career, which you’d give to aspiring cinematographers?

PETER: “Shoot everything, it's all part of the journey and will add to your experience in the long run.”

The 20th anniversary of the IFTA Awards Ceremony will take place on Sunday, May 7th.

IFTN Festive Q&A with director Luke McManus
Casting Directors share insights at Casting Conversations hosted by IFTA
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