Oscar winning cinematographer speaks about movie


Cinematographer Robert Elswit speaks to Cinema Studies and Video Art students about his experience working with director Paul Thomas Anderson on the Oscar-winning movie “There Will Be Blood” on Jan. 13.

Tanisha Gunby

Academy Award winner Robert Elswit discussed his role as the cinematographer of “There Will Be Blood,” an Oscar winning film, to Cinema Studies and Video Art students Jan. 13.

Elswit spoke about the process of cinematography and his experience working with director Paul Thomas Anderson on numerous films. 

“[Elswit] definitely inspired me by sharing his story on how he came to work in the entertainment industry because it showed how he really did not have a direct path initially, but was ultimately able to fall into a field that he has been incredibly successful in,” Video Art student Tara Neil ’21 said. 

Cinematographer discusses differences between directors 

Elswit described how certain directors approach filmmaking differently.  Specifically, he spoke about how Anderson is more hands-off compared to directors like the Coen brothers who prefer more structure, Neil said.

“He explained how [Anderson] directs his films and I agreed that his directing style is the most effective in film,” Video Art student Will Nordstrom ’21 said. “He tries to get the most natural reactions out of his actors and starts rolling the camera even when the actors have no idea. I’m very inspired by [Anderson] because of this directing technique and I’m also extremely inspired by [Elswit’s] work in [Anderson’s]  films.”

Student reflects on cinematographer’s presentation

Cinema Studies student Paige Corman ’20 said she appreciated learning new information about the art of filmmaking and having the opportunity to hear from Elswit, especially after watching and writing about the movie he worked on.

“I liked that he connected to the audience through jokes and made the presentation feel more like a casual conversation rather than a lecture,” Corman said. “He seemed very passionate about his work, which I really admire, and I hope to feel the same about my career when I’m older.”