From interview [2009]

               

 DON BURGESS   ASC

Born: 28 May 1956, Santa Monica, Calif., USA, as Don Michael Burgess.

Education: Art Center College of Design, Los Angeles [Filmmaking]

Career: 'I grew up in the Pacific Palisades. My father was an avid 16mm film hobbyist. A family friend, Johnny Stephens, was a cinematographer, who traveled around the world. I thought it was a great life. I was fascinated by the mystique of photography. I took thousands of still photos, and ran a black and white lab at home while I was in high school. I enrolled at the Art Center after checking into a lot of other programs. In 1976, after I finished my first year of film school, I took a break and worked as an assistant cameraman on the second unit crew of 'Sorcerer' in the Dominican Republic. After graduating I worked as an operator and cameraman on industrial films, documentaries and commercials. I went to Australia and shot 'In Search of the Wild Camels' in the Outback. I filmed 'Sharks' for National Geographic. I also did a lot of sports documentaries about professional and Olympics athletes. I can't even tell you how many profiles I've shot of athletes around the world. In 1983, I was in Sarajevo for a month. I did a lot of filming with the athletes who were competing in the Olympics the following year. I did action footage with the skiers and other athletes and profiles of Jackie Joiner and that whole group of athletes. In 1980, Max Kleven, one of the best second unit directors in the business, was doing a show for NBC about stuntmen. It was called 'Superstunt II'. There was a tape crew set up to do this show in one-inch format. The backgrounds were all film. He needed someone who could shoot slow-motion shots of stuntmen falling off horses and that sort of thing. By chance, I had shot a ski movie at Art Center with a guy, who wanted to be a stuntman. He introduced me to Max and I showed him my film. Max said, "I need a guy who's kind of handy, so why don't you come along with us on this show, and let's see what you can do." I rented a 35mm Arriflex camera with a high-speed motor and started shooting for Max Kleven. By the late 1980s, I was shooting cable movies, including 'Too Young the Hero', 'Breaking Point', and 'The Court-Martial of Jackie Robinson'. There was a tv-series that started out non-union and was organized after we began shooting. It was called, 'Something Is Out There', and it was on NBC. Unfortunately, there was nothing out there in the way of an audience, so it was cancelled after about 10 episodes, but it did get all of us into the union. I got in as a director of photography.' [From interviews with Bob Fisher.]

Ph commercials dir by Joanna Kerns, a.o.

Member of the ASC since 1995.

His son Michael [1984-] is a c.op/doph.

Awards: ASC Award nom [1991] for 'The Court-Martial of Jackie Robinson'; 'Oscar' AA nom [1995], ASC Award nom [1995] & BAFTA Film Award nom [1995] for 'Forrest Gump'; Golden Satellite Award nom [1998] for 'Contact'; CFCA Award nom [2001] for 'Cast Away'.



 FILMS

1980

Ruckus/The Loner/Big Ruckus in a Small Town [Max Kleven] c

1980

Happy Birthday to Me [J. Lee Thompson] c; co-2uc; ph: Miklós Lente

1983

Sheena [John Guillermin] p/c; action unit ph; ph: Pasqualino De Santis

1985

Runaway Train [Andrei Konchalovsky] c; 2uc Alaska; ph: Alan Hume

1985

Fury to Freedom [Erik Jacobson] c; add cam: Dan McKinny; prod by Gospel Films, Inc.

1985

Summer Camp Nightmare/The Butterfly Revolution [Bert L. Dragin] c; preview November 1986; released 1987

1986

Quiet Cool [Clay Borris] c; 2uc; ph: Jacques Haitkin

1986

Death Before Dishonor [Terry Leonard] c

1986

The Night Stalker [Max Kleven] c

1986

Cherry 2000 [Steve De Jarnatt] c; co-2uc; ph: Jacques Haitkin

1987

[Playboy Presents] Bedtime Stories [Robert C. Hughes & Sam Weston (= Anthony Spinelli)] c/V; short/58m; 5 seg; other ph: Bob Yeoman, John Dirlam, Stan Lazan & Mark Zavad

1987

Moving [Alan Metter] c; co-2uc; ph: Don McAlpine

1987

World Gone Wild [Lee H. Katzin] c; 2uc (+ aph): Stephen C. Confer

1987

Night Trap [James Riley] vg on CD-ROM for SEGA; released in 1992

1987

Lucky Stiff/That Shamrock Touch [Anthony Perkins] c; 2uc; ph: Jacques Haitkin

1988

Blind Fury [Phillip Noyce] c

1988

Under the Boardwalk [Fritz Kiersch] c

1989

Back to the Future Part II [Robert Zemeckis] c; 2uc; ph: Dean Cundey

1989

Back to the Future Part III [Robert Zemeckis] c; 2uc; ph: Dean Cundey

1990

The Rookie [Clint Eastwood] p/c; 2uc; ph: Jack N. Green

1990

Nothing But Trouble [Dan Aykroyd] c; co-2uc; ph: Dean Cundey

1990

Backdraft [Ron Howard] s35/c; 2uc; ph: Mikael Salomon

1991

Noises Off... [Peter Bogdanovich] c; 2uc; ph: Timothy Suhrstedt

1991

Mo' Money [Peter MacDonald] c

1991

Traces of Red [Andy Wolk] c; addph; ph: Timothy Suhrstedt

1991

Batman Returns [Tim Burton] c; 2uc; ph: Stefan Czapsky

1991

Death Becomes Her [Robert Zemeckis] c; 2uc; ph: Dean Cundey

1992

Josh and S.A.M. [Billy Weber] c

1993

Forrest Gump [Robert Zemeckis] p/c; 2uc: David Dunlap; addph 2u: Christopher Woods & E.J. Foerster

1994

Richie Rich [Donald Petrie] c; addph: Peter James; vfx ph: Bobby Byrne

1994

Forget Paris [Billy Crystal] c; 2uc: Don McCuaig

1995

Twister [Jan de Bont] left production and was replaced by doph Jack N. Green

1995

The Evening Star [Robert Harling] c; + small part

1995

Executive Decision/Critical Decision [Stuart Baird] p/c; addph; ph: Alex Thomson

1996

Contact [Robert Zemeckis] p/c; 2uc: Josh Bleibtreu

1997

Deep Impact [Mimi Leder] s35/c; addph; ph: Dietrich Lohmann

1999

Cast Away [Robert Zemeckis] c; 2uc: Josh Bleibtreu; after shooting scenes in Moscow, Memphis, Los Angeles and on Monuriki, Robert Zemeckis scheduled a year-long break to give Tom Hanks time to grow a beard and lose the 50 pounds he gained to play the over-stuffed character earlier in the film; during the hiatus, Zemeckis and Burgess made 'What Lies Beneath'; shooting continued in February 2000

1999

What Lies Beneath [Robert Zemeckis] p/c

2000

The Bourne Identity [Doug Liman] s35/c; co-addph; ph: Oliver Wood

2001

Spider-Man [Sam Raimi] c; 2uc: Tony Jannelli & Jonathan Taylor; add 2uc: Moshe Levin; ph New York: Tom Houghton

2002

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines [Jonathan Mostow] s35-to-35mm/c; 2uc: Ben Seresin

2002

Radio [Michael Tollin] c

2003

The Polar Express/The Polar Express: An IMAX 3D Experience [Robert Zemeckis] dv-to-35mm scope (+ IMAX-70bu/3-D)/c; cph: Robert Presley

2003

13 Going on 30 [Gary Winick] c; filming in May; re-shoots in December

2004

Christmas with the Kranks [Joe Roth (replaced Hugh Wilson)] p/c

2005

Eight Below/Antarctica [Frank Marshall] s35/c; 2uc: Mitchell Amundsen; aph: Jeremy Braben

2005

It's Not About the Bike/The Lance Armstrong Story [Frank Marshall] in development; some footage was shot in Paris in 2005; status unknown

2005

My Super Ex-Girlfriend [Ivan Reitman] s35/c; 2uc: David M. Dunlap; aph: Phil Pastuhov

2006

Enchanted [Kevin Lima] dv (animation seq) +s35-to-35mm (1.85:1 & 2.35:1)/c; 2uc: David M. Dunlap

2006

Fool's Gold [Andy Tennant] s35/c; aph: Hans Bjerno; uwph: Simon Christidis

2007

The Trap [Rita Wilson] c; short/20m; ep film series 'Glamour Reel Moments'

2008

Marley & Me [David Frankel] scheduled as ph, but replaced by Florian Ballhaus

2008

Aliens in the Attic/They Came from Upstairs [John Schultz] 35mm (+ D-Cinema)/c; 2uc: Rob Marsh

2009

The Book of Eli [Albert & Allen Hughes] RED-to-35mm scope (+ D-Cinema)/c; aph: Hans Bjerno & Steve Koster

2009

Priest [Scott Stewart] p (+ D-Cinema [also 3-D version])/c; 2uc: Patrick Loungway; aph: Hans Bjerno

2009

Source Code [Duncan Jones] s35+RED+HD (Phantom HD + Iconix)-to-35mm (+ D-Cinema)/c; 2uc (Chicago): Joe Williams; aph (Chicago): Hans Bjerno

2010

The Muppets [James Bobin] RED (One + Epic)-to-35mm (+ D-Cinema)/c; 2uc: Michael Burgess; aph: Hans Bjerno

2011

Flight [Robert Zemeckis] RED Epic-to-35mm scope (+ D-Cinema)/c; ph splinter unit: Michael Burgess; aph: Hans Bjerno

2012

42 [Brian Helgeland] RED Epic-to-35mm scope (+ D-Cinema)/c; 2uc (+ c.op): Michael Burgess

2013

Muppets Most Wanted/The Muppets... Again! [James Bobin] RED Epic/c; 2uc: Michael Burgess

2013

Divergent [Neil Burger] HD (ARRI ALEXA M & Plus)-to-35mm scope (+ D-Cinema)/c; addph (Los Angeles); ph: Alwin Kuchler


 TELEVISION

1980

Superstunt II [Max Kleven] special/?m

1982

Sharks [Nicolas Noxon] doc; cph: Mike Hoover, Bertram van Munster, a.o.; uwph: Al Giddings, Ron Taylor, Ramon Bravo, a.o.; for National Geographic

1982

To the Ends of the Earth [William Kronick] doc/105m/16mm; as co-photographer; ph: Mike Hoover; filmed 1979-82

1988

Something Is Out There [various] 8-part (2 unaired) series

1988

Too Young the Hero [Buzz Kulik] tvm

1989

Breaking Point [Peter Markle] tvm

1990

The Court-Martial of Jackie Robinson [Larry Peerce] tvm

1991

Two-Fisted Tales [seg 'Yellow' dir by Robert Zemeckis] pilot/3 seg (for FOX-tv); pilot failed and seg were shown as ep of '[HBO's] Tales from the Crypt', 1992; other ph: Gary Kibbe & Hiro Narita

1992

Space Rangers [various] 6-part series, 1993; other ph: Robert Steadman


 FILMS & TELEVISION AS CAMERA ASSISTANT/OPERATOR

1976

Sorcerer/Wages of Fear [William Friedkin] c.asst 2u; 2uc: John M. Stephens; ph: Dick Bush

1983

Hot Dog ...The Movie [Peter Markle] c.op 2u; ph: Paul G. Ryan

1986

Hot Pursuit [Steven Lisberger] co-c.op; ph: Frank Tidy

1991

Keeper of the City [Bobby Roth; tvm] add c.op Chicago unit; ph: Shelly Johnson


 FILMS AS DIRECTOR

1980

More Than a Felling [short] ?

2003

Dead Run [feature] announced; status unknown

2005

Bleachers [feature] in development since 2005; status unknown

Amanda Hampson [author "The Olive Sisters"] with Bonnie & Don Burgess [2011]

2010

The Olive Sisters [feature] in development (co-prod by his wife Bonnie); prod suspended