BIO

DETERMINATION

When I was 11, I decided I wanted to make movies. At 15 I knew I wanted to become a cinematographer.
That was the first important choice of my life, and with determination, I made that dream come true.
With that same determination, I try to accomplish all the projects I work on.
Making choices is an important part of the cinematographer’s job: every movie, every sequence, every shot, every light, every camera position needs to come from a strong intention, in accordance to the vision of the director.

PASSION

I love my job. I adore it. It can be hard, difficult, intense… but I keep considering it as a vocation.
We spend a third of our lifetime in our working place, so I believe that it is important to love the work you do, that it must never be a constraint, but a real pleasure.
And it is with enthusiasm that I wake up before going to any set, no matter what kind of project it is. And it is with that same enthusiasm that I try to bring ideas and propositions to these projects, and to always give my best.
Ideally, I love to work with a smile on my face.

CHALLENGE

I love challenges. Every new project comes with one or several challenges that you have to overcome, and it always gives me a goal to reach.
I don’t believe in simple projects: they do not exist. Every project, when you want to do it the best possible way, contains some difficulties that you must identify and solve.
Routine, in this work, doesn’t exist. I never think, when I start a new project, that I have already done something similar: no project is similar to another. I always try not to be surprised when a problem occurs: I must always anticipate it, and prepare the solution even before the problem happens.

AT YOUR SERVICE

In my work, I love being at the service of a director, of his/her vision, of a production, of a project.
I don’t make propositions in order to make shots to put in my demoreel: I make propositions if I consider that it serves the project, and the director’s vision.
I consider that my work starts early in the production of a project, and ends only once the movie is screened: I try to be as involved as possible, because my expertise is necessary at every step of a project. Besides, I believe that most of the work is and has to be done in the preparation time: you can improvise on the set only if you prepared every detail of your project.

Concerning the post-production, I have a lot of experience as an editor, conformist, and color grading artist. It allows me to really anticipate all the problems we can face during the post-production, and to always propose to the director, in the preparation and on the set, a shotlist that I know for sure will work in the editing.
This experience also helps me to control the workflow, in order to be sure that until the end, until the very last moment, the images correspond to the vision of the director, and that nothing in the process deteriorates that vision: problems in post-production, in this digital era, are very frequent, and the cinematographer is the only one who can guarantee the preservation of the work, parameters, esthetic and technical aspects of the image from the beginning to the end. This is why I think it is very important, as a cinematographer, for any project to be involved very deeply in the post-production process.

TEAM WORK

This is not a work that I can do alone: the whole purpose is to work with a team. I love to exchange knowledge with other technicians, I love to learn from them.
I also think that communication is the key to solve anything: most of the problems on a shooting always come from a lack of communication. So I always communicate with every member of the crew about what I plan to do priori to the day of shooting, and I expect other members of the crew to be as transparent with me as I am with them. For this, I always create an « image notebook » where I put all the info concerning the shooting, that I distribute to everyone.

It creates a flow that is more pleasant, it helps to avoid many issues, and I also believe that only incompetent people hide what they do, because they are afraid that others realize how incompetent they are.
There is also a reality, that cnematographers would not like to say: A « BEAUTIFUL » IMAGE FIRST COMES FROM THE SET DESIGN, THE COSTUME DESIGN, THE MAKE-UP, AND THE ACTORS/ACTRESSES’ TALENT. These parameters are more important for me than the camera or the lights.
Try to light badly directed actors/actresses sitting on an ugly set, dressed with ugly costumes and with ugly make-up on them: no matter what you do as a cinematographer, you cannot save the film: it will look like shit.
But when you work with a good production designer, a good costume designer, a good make-up artist and good actors/actresses, suddenly, your work as a cinematogapher becomes much easier, and better accomplished.
So it is important to work closely with them, and to always communicate with them: the project will only look better.
One last important thing: I don’t like to do other people’s jobs. And I don’t like when other people try to do my job. And I strongly believe in hierarchy, I think it is the only way for a shooting to be smooth, and not messy: a shooting is not a communist reunion where everybody can give their opinion; a shooting is a space where everyone has a PRECISE task in order to serve the project of the DIRECTOR, and everyone must follow the instructions given to them so we can all go together in the same direction.

TRUST

In order to achieve a good communication on the set, I also expect from the director and the producers a total trust, the same trust that I will give to them. I believe trust is the key of the team work. We should be able to talk about everything, good or bad, exchange any ideas, explore every field together.
My work comes with a lot of empathy for the actors, the characters, AND the director. I need to enter in the mind of the director, which requires, of course, a lot of affect, in order to be able to create his/her vision. It is absolutely necessary. But this is possible only if there is this common trust.
Working with a director without trust on both sides is totally not interesting for me, there is no way to make a good movie without that important parameter. I like to be honest, to really tell what I think, and even if it can be tough, it always comes from a desire to be direct, frank, and benevolent. I believe honesty is a rare quality in a field that is full of hypocrisy, and where flattery is the rule in order to get a job. I expect from directors that same honesty towards me, and I totally accept if they don’t like something I do or propose, it is a way for me to progress.

ESTHETISM

I don’t believe in esthetism. I don’t think that doing pretty images, with instagram filters, and flares everywhere, makes an image beautiful. Pretty is not beautiful.
A beautiful image is an image with a meaning, with a powerful content, that is underlined by the composition of the frame and the light. I also believe that what is outside of the frame is even more important than what is inside the frame: when you make an image, you create an illusion, and you try to work on the evocation more than on the showing.
An image must contain an emotion, is must creates a feeling for the audience, it must please their heart, not just their eyes.

ECLECTISM

I don’t like to be labeled. I don’t want to be locked in a certain style, a certain form, or a certain type of films. I love eclectism, I love to work with different directors with different ways of seeing things, I love to explore new horizons.
I try to do my work with a total open-minded spirit, I love to work as well on fiction, documentary, commercials, music videos, or even news for television, and I like to learn in every type of project I can work on, and to apply these lessons on other types of projects. This is how I learned, for example, many techniques in documentary that I apply in my fiction projects, and the other way around.

CURIOSITY

I believe that we can make progresses only if we are curious about everything, and if we stay open-minded.
I love to work in other countries, work with local crews, learn their techniques, and their language. When I work with a foreign team, I always try to learn the basics of their language so I can give them indications also in their language and be sure that my indications were understood, as well as being able to understand them.
I worked in more than 20 countries (France, England, Germany, Italy, Spain, Turkey, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Algeria, Senegal, Israel, Poland, Kosovo, Greece, etc…), I speak fluently French and English, I can also speak Italian, a bit of Arabic, Albanian, Armenian, I understand a bit Hungarian, Hebrew, Spanish… Languages are a passion for me, cause it is a way to understand other ways of thinking. Also, it allows me to shoot movies where characters speak other languages and still be able to understand their emotion and their culture.

I adore litterature. I love to read about everything, quantum physics, ancient greek litterature, modern contemporary writers, or hungarian litterature from the 20’s. Litterature inspires me more than images in order to create images: as a cinematographer, I first receive a script, and then I need to imagine images from the words contained in the script. This is why litterature is more inspiring to me than paintings or photography: I am not interested in copy-paste, I prefer to transform ideas and give them another shape. It always makes me laugh when I read interviews of DOPs saying how much they love paintings, and how much they are inspired by Caravaggio or Rembrandt; I believe this is very cliché, and it shows a lack of effort to find inspiration in other fields, the main one being LIFE itself, through constant observation of the world around us.
I also adore music, which inspires me a lot. I love the interaction between the music and the images (I always have a heart orgasm when I see images transcended by the beauty of a music). I also love musicals, dance… and Fred Astaire. Music is the art that is the most based on rhythm, and cinema is also rhythm, so by listening to music, we can learn a lot about how to make movies: a film is always about the rhythm of the images, rhythm of the sounds, rhythm of the editing, rhythm of the dialogues, rhythm of the movement of the bodies in front of the amera, rhythm of the movement of the camera, and the interaction of all these rhythms together to create a general movement and progression that makes the difference between a good and a bad movie.
« Cinematography », litterally, means « writing of the movement », and this is how I define myself: a writer of the movement. And I strongly believe that in order to write the movement, you need to be yourself always in movement, which is why I am always doing something, thinking, traveling… because I think that movement creates movement.
That same curiosity also pushes me to try to keep up to date about new techniques and evolution of technology. I regularly try to do trainings in order to learn new things, even basics. I think trainings and learning are an important part of the job of the cinematographer, because it is a work in constant evolution.

HARD WORK

I cannot say that I don’t believe in talent, but I believe for sure in hard work. I think we can achieve anything if we work seriously, with regularity, and with passion. And I believe we can do more with hard work than just with talent.
I also love to do sport, I try to go to gym 4 to 5 times a week, for 2 hours every time. It allows me to be in good condition, carry the camera and be endurant all day at work. I don’t smoke, I don’t drink, I don’t take any drugs, and I try to be focused on my work as much as possible when I am on the set. For me, it is part of this process of hard work.

FEMINISM

I am a feminist. And I believe women should have access to the jobs in the cinema industry as much as men, and that they should get paid the same amount. I also believe you are a stupid selfish asshole if you are not a feminist nowadays.
I always try, as much as possible, to hire in my crew women. Not half men and half women, but as much as possible women. I believe we cannot make progresses in this cause if we hire half men and half women, since we already have such a big gap to fill between the number of men working, and the number of women.
I also believe that « actress » and « actor » are two very different jobs. We don’t ask the same thing to an actor than to an actress. I believe « actress » is the hardest work ever, because unfortunately, to get a role for an actress requires not only to be talented, but also to be under 30 years old and to satisfy the sexual fantasy of the mind of a director or producer: this is an industry which is lead by the desire of men. It is very important for me to respect as much as possible the actresses on the set, and to make them feel as comfortable as possible in front of the camera, in order to make their work the easiest possible.
I also try to encourage as much as possible the work of female directors. More than half of the directors I work with are female, and it is a real pleasure for me to be able to work on movies which are born from the vision and the perspective of a woman. This is, I believe, the future of cinema: allowing more and more women to direct offers a potential to tell new stories and to talk about characters in an unprecedented way in the cinema history which has been dominated, for its first century, exclusively by men.
Oh! And I didn’t wait for the « Weinstein case » to start to prentend becoming a feminist. I just had the chance to have a mother and a sister, and I always thought, since I am a kid, that they should have the same rights than my brothers and father, this is as simple as that.

COMPETITION

I don’t believe in competition or rivality. I believe that all cinematographers can find their place, and I know I cannot make all the movies in the world, so I am happy that other people do the same job than me.
As cinematographers, we are chosen for our sensitivity, and for who we are. And we are all unique, we all have a certain way of seeing the world around us. Sometimes, it fits with some directors and projects, and sometimes not.
I am just competing with myself, trying to make progresses every day, and to become better and better, as a cinematographer and as a human being. Competing with oneself is always a better way to progress than competing with others.
I am always happy to meet other cinematographers and to exchange with them, even though many of them are assholes and pretentious. But when you meet humble cinematographers (these ones are often very talented… I don’t think it is a coincidence), it can teach you a lot. I will always remember, when I was 18 years old, writing emails to Roger Deakins (cinematographer of the Coen Brothers, Sam Mendes, Denis Villeneuve…), he always replied to me, despite his busy schedule, inspiring me, and giving me the will to continue working hard thanks to his kindness, generosity and humility.
By the way, I work with several directors, so I understand if the directors I usually work with also collaborate with other cinematographers. We try, together, to build a language, a long term work, but we do not belong to each other. And I think it is good sometimes that directors I regularly work with can collaborate with other cinematographers, it is a way for them to learn new things, new lessons, in a different way, and when we work again together, then we both have evolved and it allows us to bring something new in our common work.

I DON’T WORK FOR FREE

Before you contact me, just know that I don’t accept to work without being paid. During my very rare free time, I prefer to read, to watch a movie, to learn something, to get some rest, to travel, to LIVE in order to progress as a human being, and as a cinematographer, rather than working for free on a project with very bad conditions. If you don’t understand, I suggest you to go to the bakery and ask for a bread for free. Go to your doctor, and ask for a consultation for free. Ask to an architect to work for you for free. The answer will always be the same: no.
No need to promise me that your next projects will be so well paid: if I only work for free waiting for you to finally offer me a paid project, I would already be living on the street right now. And no need to tell me what a great opportunity it would be to be on your set, that it will be so cool, so fun, etc… I already spend three quarters of the year on different sets where I am always paid, so it is not an opportunity that you are giving me. Imagin that you tell your dentist: « I won’t pay you, but you will have the opportunity to heal teeth! ». Ridiculous, right?
Besides, if you don’t have money for your project, most of the time (not ALWAYS, but most of the time), it is because your project is not good, which is why it didn’t get financed. Or because you were too lazy to search for finances. But I don’t work with lazy people.

IF YOU WANT TO HIRE ME

-If we work together, please pay the fee or the invoice within the month. You are paid for your work every month, right? Well, it is not different for us freelancers. There is no reason to wait for seven months to be paid for a job that has already been done and delivered. If you don’t have the money to pay people, then why do you even organize a shooting? Do you go to the bakery without your wallet?
-I work on the image from the BEGINNING to the END. If you intend to contact me just for the shooting, and then you do the color grading without even telling me… then dont contact me. I don’t work on a project if I am not on the color grading process in the end. I don’t shoot any image that I cannot supervise and control until the end, in order to make sure that it respects the intentions of the preparation and the shooting. You have to understand that my name, my career and my reputation are associated to the images I sign, so yes, it is important that cinematographers validate the final result. Would you like your movie to be edited without your approval? I guess not. It is the same for cinematographers and the images that they shoot.
-I shoot all the images that I light. For me, it is a process where both go together. It means that I don’t work with a cameraman, unless there is a second camera (and only if it is really necessary). If you hire me, it is because you care about my vision, my way of seeing the world in accordance to yours.
-If you try to reach me, know that I ALWAYS answer, and if I can’t, I ALWAYS call back. So if you have no news from me, no need to call me fifteen times during the day: maybe I am shooting (you wouldn’t like me to be on my phone when I am on YOUR set, right? So understand that it is the same for other sets: my phone is ALWAYS off when I am shooting, and it should be the case for every technician on the set), maybe I am in a color grading room, but calling me fifteen times will not make me call you back faster: if I am not reachable, then… I am not reachable. If you HARASS me, then not only it might piss me off, but I might not even call you back, cause I don’t deal with disrespectful people. Just send me a text message, and I’ll call you as soon as I can. Be patient: if you cannot wait a few hours for a phone call, how can you even consider achieving a film, which requires so much patience?
-Once the project is finished, you MUST deliver me a master of the project, in 2K resolution, in Apple Prores 4444, for my archives. Of course, the images will be kept confidential according to the terms of the contract.
-I work on several projects, with different directors and different producers. So please, try to give me precise dates of work and try to stick to them. Postponing at the last minute or cancelling is disrespectful towards me, and towards the other people I work with. You do not have the exclusivity. If you give me dates, and I block them, then it means I refuse other works for these dates… But if you cancel or postpone them at the last minute, then it means I end up with no work (and no salary) on these dates, when I could have worked on another project. Besides, if you don’t give me precise dates, then I cannot give to my other clients precise availabilities, and not only it is disrespectful from me towards them (because they also need to organize themselves… as much as you do), but I might also lose these jobs. So keep in mind that hiring someone is a big responsibility, and that it can have impact on your project, but also on other people’s ones.
-If we shoot abroad, just know that I do not share my bedroom with you. Or with anyone else. I will already spend the day working with a lot of people, so during the night, I need intimacy, privacy, calm, and loneliness, in order to focus and get rest for the next day. So for the accomodation, please make sure I have my own bedroom.
-I am vegetarian, so please make sure I get vegetarian food on the set, on the plane, in the restaurant. To shoot all day, I need energy. And food is energy. For information, chicken is not a vegetarian food. Neither is fish. Thank you!
-I don’t like assholes, and I am not interested in working with them. So if you are an asshole, don’t contact me, please, let’s not waste each other’s time. If you think you are not an asshole, you can always contact me. And finally, if after reading this, you are hesitating, or you think you shouldn’t contact me, maybe it means you think you are an asshole, and then you should do something about it.
-Otherwise, I am a nice person, so we can always talk, discuss, and communicate, as long as there is a mutual respect.