A look at the outstanding work of the cinematographers behind a selection of short films from the 2018 Sydney Film Festival by Vanessa Abbott


Cinematographer: Charlie Sarroff

A psychological thriller that follow a young pianist who travels to her fiancé’s peculiar island hometown. There, she comes into conflict with his family’s expectations, and is subjected to their unusual fertility rituals while being haunted by a local folklore ghost. Directed by Japanese-Australian Natalie Erika James, Drum Wave was funded by Screen Australia’s highly competitive Hot Shots Plus Fund.

Here, it is Charlie Sarroff’s cinematography that shines bright. Sarroff has received eight ACS Awards to date for his work on music video, commercials and short films, proving he is no stranger to award-winning work. In Drum Wave Sarroff creates a moody atmosphere with sleek images that are rich in colour and contrast. This film looks much bigger than it is, and it is clear that Sarroff should be undoubtably moving to feature films post-haste.

Filmed on location in Melbourne on the ARRI Amira and using Cooke Speed Panchro lenses Drum Wave feels suitably warm in its interiors without feeling heavily graded, while continuing to maintain a sense of dread. The exteriors shots with its emphasis on water is clever and perfectly chilling.


Vanessa Abbott is a writer based in Melbourne. 

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Written by acmag

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