In today’s day-in-age, with the help of technology, it has become increasingly apparent that just about anyone can create their own content and distribute it across the internet. As a result, the stakes have never been higher for cinematographers and the demand for quality films is soaring. While most cinematographers find this reality intimidating, Andre Chesini finds himself consumed with creative angst, eager to explore the art-form in ways that have never been done before. With this, the seasoned cinematographer understands the need to differentiate himself in a thriving industry better than most; a task that is certainly no walk in the park.
“I recognize that every cinematographer is unique. We all have a distinct inner voice within us; however, what sets me apart, besides my creative edge, is the fact that I am also a steadicam operator. Having this skill enhances my sense of motion and my awareness of the actors. I can feel the energy that the scene requires, capture the emotion of the actors, and translate them through the movement of the camera, or lack thereof. Anyone can move around with a camera but the artistry of cinematography lies in the ability to control what the audience will or will not see. As a cinematographer, I don’t only care about beauty, but rather about capturing images that evoke emotions and enhance the story,” stated Chesini.
Distinguishing himself in a cutthroat industry happens to be something Chesini does well. The sought-after Brazilian cinematographer has earned himself several nominations and awards for his work on films like Chocolate and A Fabrica, including Best Cinematography for the latter. In fact, it was his work on A Fabrica that lead director Thiago Dadalt to seek out Chesini’s cinematographic eye on several subsequent projects.
Despite the fact that he has ample experience working in film, Chesini’s talents often extend beyond film and into television. His masterful technique landed him authority over the visual elements for the television series, Life on a Leash. The comedic television series depicts the life of a sassy 26-year old journalist who moves to New York City and learns of the unique, heart-warming and humorous nature buried within dog parks. The series won Best TV pilot at both the IndieFEST Global Film Awards in 2015 and the New Hope Film Festival in 2016. Chesini was also nominated for Best Cinematography for his work on the show at the London IFF 2016.
In order to create a television series as successful as Life On a Leash, it requires an unprecedented ability to connect every aspect of cinematography seamlessly. In order to do a true justice to the story, a cinematographer must thoroughly understand every aspect of the experience, from how to handle his or her crew to how to manipulate the lighting and the camera to capture your viewers’ attention effectively. Chesini does all of this and more with ease.
“I am great at managing the crew, the lighting and my camera skills. I feel that I have found a certain art to combining and applying them in a way that makes my work extremely unique. Whenever the film was facing an obstacle, I found a distinct practical and esthetic approach to develop a solution and presented that solution in a cinematic and visually-pleasing manner.”
Chesini, who typically lends himself to drama films, was excited by the prospect of exploring the genre of comedy. He understands that his cinematographic eye can only grow stronger with a diverse amount of experience. He seizes any and every opportunity to explore new territory and challenge himself in ways he has never challenged himself before. The result was a perfect combination of professional development and overly satisfied viewers.
When asked how it felt to know that his work was so well-received by his audience, the cinematographer humbly replied that, “It was a massive relief to see that I could portray an American story even though I am not from America. In fact, Thiago does not speak English, so my fluency in both English and Portuguese allowed me to liaise between he and the actors, which really helped. It never ceases to amaze me, however, that the language of cinema is universal. That aspect, along with the nomination I received for Best Cinematography at London International Film Festival, was a true honor.”
This became the first of many projects that Dadalt solicited Chesini’s cinematographic hand for. According to the director, “Andre has a profound ability to transform my story into a visual awe. He has great technical knowledge, but also the sensibility to understand the visual effects of the camera and the optimal lighting choices for the better of the story.”
The series’ producer, Dru Miller shared in Dadalt’s enthusiasm when talking about the pleasure of working with a cinematographer like Chesini. “Andre is a phenomenal artist with a lot of knowledge of camera techniques that I don’t know as much about. I feel very safe when I’m working with him, not only because of that technical aspect, but because of his ability to envision the end result of a project. It is impressive. He is a team player and an easy going professional, dedicated to bringing forth the best results of a project,” said Miller. “Beyond that, Andre “fights” for the project. He strives to have the best camera and light team working on it and the best equipment. Whatever will make the film as great as possible. His creative eye never fails to capture the perfect frame and shed the story in the best light with his camera movements, his frames, his colours, etc.”
It is not uncommon to hear such praise for an artist like Chesini, though he makes it look effortless. His work to-date only solidifies the reality that when the competition gets strong, Chesini gets stronger. A mere glimpse at the volume of work he has already accomplished may suggest that his career has been long, but in the grand scheme of things, he is only just getting started.