DP Shabier Kirchner used Kodak 35mm & 16mm film for Steve McQueen’s…
Camera and lenses for Small Axe were provided by ARRI Rental in London, with film processing done at Cinelab in Slough and 2K film scans provided by Lipsync in London. The final DI grade on the series was done by Tom Poole at Company3 in New York, who Kirchner says, “did a fantastic job in not just enhancing the photochemical feeling in all of the films, but he has an incredible talent of making the beauty in black skin really shine.”
“If I could only shoot on film for the rest of my life, I would be a happy man,” says Kirchner. “Digital is an incredible capture technology and has its place, but my eyes see things more appropriately on film. On Small Axe, celluloid proved once again to be one of those bullet-proof formats that delivers a touch of the ‘Je ne sais quoi!’”
During production Kirchner made it his personal mission that each film camera magazine was emblazoned with the flag of a different Caribbean country – around a dozen in total.
“I feel so blessed and count my lucky stars to have worked on Small Axe with Steve. That man is a force of nature. When I look at these films, I am incredibly proud. I see myself; I see Steve and our entire history in these stories, past, present and future.
“We have to get rid of racism and prejudice – behind the camera, on-screen and in our communities. Small Axe contributes to the conversations about all of these things. My hope is that some youth, somewhere, perhaps in the Caribbean, will watch Small Axe, and even read this article one day, and hopefully feel empowered by it.”
Shabier Kirchner is represented by Casarotto Ramsay.
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