LOS ANGELES — Anup Kulkarni is an award-winning cinematographer and avid wildlife photography enthusiast who has a background in visual effects as a 3D camera tracking & matchmove technical director while at the Rhythm & Hues. His work has taken him around the world and he has contributed to projects in a variety of genres, ranging from documentaries and dramas to sci-fi, thriller, and art feature films, as well as the Academy Award-winning Life of Pi.
With an eye for naturally-motivated lighting and inspired movement, Kulkarni has earned multiple cinematography awards, including Best Cinematography honors at the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards, TMC London Film Festival, Lake View International Film Festival and United International Film Festival.
"Frames, colors and lights, not just my passion or hobbies, but the very parameters through which I perceive life and all the creativity that it encompasses,” says the artist. “Growing up in an artistic household always encouraged me to look into what was beyond the thin veil called reality. Eventually, I found where my true passion lies.
“Walking down in my visualization world with photography and VFX as my companions, while digging deeper, I also realized that it was not only frame and colors which were enhancing the beauty of my visualization, but the real binding factor to all this was lights! That made my frame complete.”
According to Kulkarni, this deeper understanding of visual arts gave rise to a new passion, and that was
cinematography for motion pictures. In Los Angeles, he has had the opportunity to work on award winning and prestigious projects such as Life of Pi, Thor 2, Percy Jackson, and many others.
One of Kulkarni’s most recent works, She Jang, directed by Richard Simon, screened at the 33rd LA Asian Pacific Film Festival, back in late Aprila nd early May. She Jang is a mystery thriller film about what happens in the shadows of Korea town, when ambition connects the lives of two struggling actresses and a gangster.
As as the story moves forward, it becomes deeper and darker. She Jang presents a vision of Hollywood where the reality is very different from the perception. Sometimes it can be really brutal and mysterious. As a DP Kulkarni had to work with natural vs. unnatural light to create the creepy look and achieve the story’s mystery feel.
The LA Asian Pacific Film Festival is an Oscar qualifying film festival. It’s a very prestigious festival in the Hollywood film festival circuit, along with the Asian film market as well.
When Red is White
His next project is When Red is White, a Portuguese short film (When Red is White - The Touch of Aurora - is the Brazilian working title) with a unique concept. It has the famous Brazilian actress Thaila Ayala and the Brazilian International Press award winning actor Al Danuzio. It’s a film about a blind couple making love for the first time, a very artistic film with exceptionally great acting.
“When I read the script first time, I was totally hooked with its concept and the storyline, and decided to take this challenge despite my being an Indian and not speaking the Portuguese language,” he recalls. “In Los Angeles we all speak the same language, which is cinema.”
Working with Thaila Ayala and Al Danuzio, he says, was an excellent experience. “Thaila is a really versatile actress with natural acting skills. Whereas Al is a tremendous actor. The way he devotes himself towards acting is beautiful. Working with director, Aditya Patwardhan is always been an inspiring journey. This was our 18th project together.”
As a story of a blind couple, Aditya and I planned to introduce a soft natural light in the film, which I created through some lighting techniques, along with some special filters on our Red Dragon camera to create retro style film grain and dreamy haze look into it.”
Kulkarni is currently working on a psychological-horror feature film entitled Uncanny, which will be shot in Los Angeles. Along with that, one more historical-based drama feature film is in the works for the end of the year, shooting in the Nevada desert and Rajasthan, India. The project will feature a number of A-list actors in the Indian film industry.