A boy dashes down a deserted street in Istanbul. Sun-bathers congregate on a rocky outcropping in Marseilles long before the term “social distancing” became part of everyday language. And in Ireland, riders take a spin at a makeshift amusement park under ominous skies.
These dramatic images and dozens of others shot by prominent directors and directors of photography “hang” in the KEEPGOING virtual art gallery and are available for sale. Organized by the production company Reframe the World, the KEEPGOING effort will donate 100% of sale proceeds to the Motion Picture and Television Fund (MPTF’s) COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund to help industry freelance artists out of work due to the pandemic.
When the industry shut down, Reframe the World staff members found themselves with time on their hands at the same time there was a critical need for assistance.
“We knew we wanted to spend that time on something meaningful for those facing financial hardship, but that also celebrated and exercised the amazing creativity and artistic talent in our film community,” said Michael Peay, Executive Producer of Reframe the World. “We started cold emailing some of these big filmmakers and thought, ‘There is no way they’ll respond to us.’ Then we started getting responses within minutes, almost all with an emphatic ‘YES.’
“Everyone who has donated an image counts on their crew to allow them to do the work they do,” Peay explained. Since many of the fund’s recipients could well be those same crew members, the filmmakers were “glad to be able to support them in some way.”
Many Local 600 members participated, including veteran award-winning directors of photography Rachel Morrison, ASC, Mandy Walker, ASC, and Andrij Parekh, ASC. 600LIVE! asked these three decorated filmmakers to share the story behind the images they donated and their thoughts about the importance of the fundraiser’s mission.
Rachel Morrison, ASC
Credits: Mudbound, Black Panther, Dope
About the Shots: I was looking for images that resonated in some way. With the tilt-a-wheel, there was literally something about the tone, of the light and the moment frozen in time. People who were sharing an experience, but who weren’t close to one another and weren’t particularly connected. It was fairly lonely. It had a feeling of isolation but also of a shared experience. I think we have all ridden one of those, so it felt very relatable and universal. For the one of [“Wiley in the Middle of the Road”], I thought, these are our kids in the middle of the streets with no fear of traffic because there is no one, and doing slightly weird things because they feel slightly out of body. It seems to articulate my sentiments exactly.
About Joining KEEPGOING: I really liked the work that was being put out. If it had just felt like a mishmash of media, I probably wouldn’t have been interested. But it felt like a beautifully curated exhibit, so I was honored to participate. Anything we can do to raise money for good causes right now feels important.
Mandy Walker, ASC
Credits: Hidden Figures, Mulan, Australia, untitled Baz Luhrmann Elvis Presley film
About the Shot: It was taken in Istanbul, when I was working on a commercial in 2012. We were in this street and it was quite empty and all of a sudden, these kids started running through. These children were playing and running past us. I have about 10 photos from the same series. I chose this one in particular because it reminded me about our situation. There’s an empty street, but there’s an image of a child running free, which is what I have been dying to do when everybody is locked down — get out and run down the street. That’s why I chose it.
About Joining KEEPGOING: My agent has been involved with the project and has been asking the cinematographers she represents if anyone was interested in being involved. As soon as she mentioned it to me, I said, ‘Of course.’ I have a lot of respect for the Motion Picture and Television Fund and what they’re doing for people in our industry. So I thought whatever I could do to help. Even though I’m one of the people who are out of work now and waiting, this is something I could contribute to and afford to contribute to.
Andrij Parekh, ASC
Credits: Half Nelson, Blue Valentine, Madame Bovary
About the Shots: They were both taken in France last summer. We were on holiday. My wife is French, and we love going to France every summer. The one of the young girl running, slightly out of focus, is about the feeling of youth pre-COVID. We’re living in a very different world right now. This may be about a time before what’s currently happening and the freedom of that moment. The other one is at this overlook along these cement breakers. The people are sunbathing on it. We’re looking down so it’s sort of a God’s-eye point of view. It’s about human interaction and space and freedom and carelessness. I think I’m mostly attracted to architectural photos, so people rarely inhabit my photography, which is kind of funny.
About Joining KEEPGOING: It sounded like a great idea. We’re all trying to help in any way we can. It’s quite obvious that everyone in our industry is out of work. People who are working on set crews may have less of a cushion. I think it’s a really nice way to give back.