[Courtesy of Ian Baker]

 

   


IAN BAKER

Born: 1947, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Education: Fine Art School [Sculpture and Painting]; Swinburne College of Advanced Education [now the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA)].

Career: Got a job as runner on commercials for Fred Schepisi's prod company 'Film House'.

Ph and dir [since 1977] commercials.

His son Leo is a vfx artist and dir.

Awards: AFI [Aus] Award [1976] for 'The Devil's Playground'; AFI [Aus] Award nom [1978] for 'The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith'; Film Critics Circle of Australia Award [2003] & AFI [Aus] Award [2003] for 'Japanese Story'.

Website: Ian Baker

 


After enjoying a long working relationship legendary Australian director Fred Schepisi and cinematographer Ian Baker both agree that by now, they can read each other's creative minds. The two have been working together since the very beginning of their careers, when they both started out during the renaissance of the Australian film industry in the early 1970s.
Baker joked that back in the early days, he was happy to 'sweep the floor for Fred'. Since then Baker has worked with him on every film except one, 'Last Orders' [2000].
'I was around to take on the shooting of his first feature film, 'The Devil's Playground',' Baker said, adding that the idea came out of a short piece Schepisi made for the omnibus film, 'Libido' [1972].
Schepisi, now 74, began his career in advertising and worked his way up from a copywriter to owning his own agency. He later joined the new Producers and Directors Guild, a cooperative in which he felt he could learn about all of the different disciplines involved in filmmaking.
While Baker, on the other hand, attended art school, studying fine arts, which he said was an excellent experience and preparation for a cinematographer. Both disciplines - painting and cinematography - deal with composition, light and shade, color, tonality and have many more common aspects. 'We study famous paintings quite often, to decide on the ‘look’ for our film. And we talk about light, perhaps describing it as 'Vermeer style lighting',' Baker said.
During the shooting of 'Plenty' [1985], Baker and Schepisi agreed on a philosophy for shooting, which lasted from then on. Sound and image are co-workers, meaning the sound can tell something and save the camera from having to do it.
'Making films is extremely organic and everything may have to change if it's not working,' he said.
Baker agreed that filmmaking was a process that should be open to change. He just shot his first film with digital equipment. 'I liked it more than I thought I would and I loved having quick access to the material. We can look at the final image, right there on the set. We are still novices in the digital era at the moment. 'Words and Pictures' look fabulous,' he said.
On the switch to working with digital cameras, Schepisi said people should see the positive. 'Don't say I can't do this or that. Talk about the positives. Film went through progressions and now digital photography will too. It's here to stay and soon film won't be around anymore.'
Baker said that he enjoys and greatly values working with Schepisi. 'He is the best director I've worked with because he pushes. He's tough. Yes, he pushes me and everyone for their ultimate best. He'll say, "Let's do it again. It can be better."' [From article by Cynthia Webb in The Jakarta Post, November 24, 2013.]

 


 

 FILMS & TELEVISION

1968

Cool All at Onceness [Ian Baker] ?; doc/6m; + ed; prod VCA

1970

Getting Back to Nothing/Double Stoke [Tim Burstall] 16mm/b&w-c; doc/26m & 55m; cph: Robin Copping, Garry Wapshott, a.o.

1972

Don't Shoot Please, I'm Dead [Wolfgang Kress] b&w; exp short/35m

1972

Tomorrow's Canberra [Fred Schepisi] c; doc/35m

1972

Libido [seg #3 'The Priest' dir by Fred Schepisi] c; 4 seg; other ph: Robin Copping, Eric Lomas & Bruce McNaughton

With dir Fred Schepisi [looking through cam]

"The Devil's Playground"

 

1975

The Devil's Playground [Fred Schepisi] c

1977

The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith [Fred Schepisi] p/c

1980

Barbarosa [Fred Schepisi] p/c

1982

The Clinic [David Stevens] 16mm-35bu/c

1984

Iceman [Fred Schepisi] p/c; aph: Stan McClain

1985

Plenty [Fred Schepisi] p/c

1986

The Last Frontier [Simon Wincer] 2-part tvm; ph USA: Tom Neuwirth

1986

Roxanne [Fred Schepisi] p/c

1987

Evil Angels/A Cry in the Dark [Fred Schepisi] p/c

1988

The Punisher [Mark Goldblatt] c

1989

Everybody Wins [Karel Reisz] c

1989

The Russia House [Fred Schepisi] tvi/c

1991

Mr. Baseball [Fred Schepisi] p/c

1993

Six Degrees of Separation [Fred Schepisi] s35/c

1994

I.Q. [Fred Schepisi] s35/c; 2uc: Alec Hirschfeld & Tom Houghton

1995

Fierce Creatures [Robert Young & Fred Schepisi (reshoots)] p/c; ph reshoots; ph: Adrian Biddle

1996

The Chamber [James Foley] p/c

2000

[Anne Rice's] Queen of the Damned [Michael Rymer] p/c; 2uc: Ian Jones; aph: Kurt E. Soderling

2002

It Runs in the Family [Fred Schepisi] s35/c

2002

Japanese Story [Sue Brooks] p/c

2003

Picasso at the Lapin Agile [Fred Schepisi] scheduled to start filming in February; status unknown

2003

Empire Falls [Fred Schepisi] 2-part tvm; 2uc: Wayne Paull

2006

Evan Almighty [Tom Shadyac] s35/c; 2uc: Don McCuaig; aph: Kurt E. Soderling; Flying Cam ph: Mike Kirsch

2010

The Eye of the Storm [Fred Schepisi] ? (+ digital)/c

2013

Words and Pictures [Fred Schepisi] HD scope/c

2013

Love Notes [Leo Baker] HD (ARRI ALEXA)/c; short/17m

2014

The Olive Sisters [Fred Schepisi] announced as doph, but film will be ph by Michael Burgess and dir by Frank Lotito in 2015