JEAN LÉPINE

Born: 1948, Canada.

Education: CÉGEP, Limoilou, Québec; Film School of Concordia University, Montreal.

Career: 'I became a cinematographer late in my career after first working in other fields like music and photography. Though I enjoyed taking pictures, I wanted to add movement. So I followed some friends' advice and began tinkering with the audiovisual equipment at the school where I worked. Well, I soon got hooked, and so I enrolled in film school at Concordia University. After two years, I was fortunate to get an apprenticeship with the National Film Board [NFB] of Canada. At the NFB, I met many people and explored different facets of the profession like camera work, lighting and film developing. Then I saw a film that deeply inspired me: 'J.A. Martin, photographe' by Jean Beaudin. It was beautifully lit, shot and framed, skillfully structured, and well acted. I saw that the director of photography was Pierre Mignot. I told him that his work had moved me and that I wanted to become a cinematographer and learn to shoot like him. He sent me to see his assistant, who in turn found me work as a second assistant on Pierre's next project - Jean Beaudin's follow-up film 'Cordélia'. During this production, I learned as much as I possibly could. My career was launched.' [From the KODAK Canada OnFilm website.]

Ph commercials dir by Emmanuel Moss-Desmarais, a.o.

Awards: NYFCC Award nom [1990] for 'Vincent & Theo'; NYFCC Award [1992] for 'The Player'; 'Genie' Award nom [2001] for 'To Walk with Lions'; Jutra Award [2003] for 'Séraphin, un homme et son péché'; 'Gemini' Award nom [2005] for 'A Bear Named Winnie'.


Jean Lépine: 'For me, moviemaking is done with film. It's our craft. Yet I do admit that digital has its advantages in post-production. Once the film is color-timed, the cinematographer is out of the picture. The film is now in the distributor's hands. Sometimes what theatre audiences see is much different from what the cinematographer approved during color timing. The colors aren't the same, or the exposure varies between scenes. All this obviously depends on the equipment used to make copies. I dream of having a benchmark version of the film that is digitized. For now, the digital copy is only an intermediate version used for the special effects. But I wish we'd always have a definitive digitized master for preserving the aesthetic qualities of a film shoot. After all, the texture and grain of film are integral parts of moviemaking. Though the technology exists, it's not yet accessible for many projects.' [...] 'On 'Habitat', I had an early glimpse of what digitization could do. I realize that with the powerful computers used these days, everything is becoming easier. But let's not forget that film stock has also improved. Emulsions for shooting and printing have evolved. Film stock is more sensitive, especially for night scenes, and less grain is visible and less lighting is needed. It's wonderful to have a choice of films and emulsions and select a process that suits the effect you want. Because I have experience, I prefer working the film a bit more. Directors who hire me know that. This ability to work the film is why I like film stock much more than digital. Not to say I'll never shoot in digital, but with film, I certainly have more control over what's shot. With digitization, the imaging work is mostly done after the shooting.' [From the KODAK Canada OnFilm website.]



 FILMS

1977

Alice [Claire Wojas] b&w; short/31m

1981

Les adeptes/The Followers [Gilles Blais] c; doc/79m; cph: Roger Rochat, André-Luc Dupont, a.o.

1989

Vincent et To/Vincent & Theo [Robert Altman] c; also a 2-part tvm

1990

Les amazones [Pierre Mignot] 16mm/c; short/26m

1990

On a marché sur la lune [Johanne Prégent] c; short/26m

1990

Black Robe [Bruce Beresford] c; co-2uc; ph: Peter James

1991

Montréal vu par... Six variations sur un même thème/Montreal Sextet/Montreal Stories [seg 'La dernière partie' dir by Michel Brault] b&w-c; 6 seg; other ph: Paul Sarossy, Éric Cayla, Guy Dufaux, Georges Dufaux, Pierre Mignot & Pierre Letarte

1991

The Player [Robert Altman] c

1991

La vie fantôme/Phantom Life [Jacques Leduc] c; addph; ph: Pierre Mignot

1991

Bob Roberts [Tim Robbins] c

1992

A Home of Our Own [Tony Bill] c; 2uc: Brian Sullivan

1994

Prêt-à-porter/Ready to Wear [Robert Altman] c; cph: Pierre Mignot

1995

Habitat [Rene Daalder] HD-to-film/c

1996

Hysteria [Rene Daalder] c

1996

Woo [Daisy Mayer] c; 2uc: Dejan Georgevich

1997

A Cool, Dry Place [John N. Smith] c

1998

To Walk with Lions [Carl Schultz] c

1999

The Intruder [David Bailey] c

1999

The 6th Day [Roger Spottiswoode] s35/c; addph (+ 2uc); ph: Pierre Mignot

2001

Séraphin, un homme et son péché/Séraphin: Heart of Stone [Charles Binamé] c

2003

A Different Loyalty [Marek Kanievska] c

2003

Daniel and the Superdogs [André Melançon] c


 TELEVISION

1988

Tanner '88 [- The Dark Horse]/Tanner: A Political Fable [Robert Altman] 6-part series/v; 2uc: Wally Pfister

1993

JFK - Reckless Youth [Harry Winer] 2-part tvm

1994

Talking With [Kathy Bates] dram special/90m (6 seg); ep of PBS-tv series 'Great Performances'

1995

Beyond the Call [Tony Bill] tvm

2000

Whitewash: The Clarence Brandley Story [Tony Bill] tvm

2001

Charms for the Easy Life [Joan Micklin Silver] tvm

2002

Coast to Coast [Paul Mazursky] tvm

2004

A Bear Named Winnie [John Kent Harrison] tvm

2005

Ambulance Girl [Kathy Bates] tvm for Timelife-tv

2006

Crossroads: A Story of Forgiveness [John Kent Harrison] tvm


 FILMS AS CAMERA ASSISTANT/OPERATOR

1978

Cordélia [Jean Beaudin] 2nd c.asst; ph: Pierre Mignot

1981

Le temps des choix [Aimée Danis & Yves Plouffe; doc tv-series] co-c.asst; ph: Jean-Charles Tremblay

1982

Come Back to the 5 & Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean [Robert Altman] co-c.asst; ph: Pierre Mignot

1982

Maria Chapdelaine [Gilles Carle] c.asst; ph: Pierre Mignot

1983

O.C. and Stiggs [Robert Altman] co-c.op; ph: Pierre Mignot

1983

Streamers [Robert Altman] co-c.asst; ph: Pierre Mignot

1983

Lucien Brouillard [Bruno Carrière] c.asst; ph: Pierre Mignot

1983

Mario [Jean Beaudin] co-c.asst; ph: Pierre Mignot

1984

Secret Honor [: A Political Myth]/Lords of Treason [Robert Altman] c.op; ph: Pierre Mignot

1984

The Boy in Blue [Charles Jarrott] 2u c.op. + 1u c.asst.; ph: Pierre Mignot

1985

Anne Trister [Léa Pool] c.op; ph: Pierre Mignot

1985

Fool for Love [Robert Altman] c.op; ph: Pierre Mignot

1985

The Laundromat [Robert Altman; tvm] c.op; ph: Pierre Mignot

1986

Exit [Robert Ménard] c.op; ph: Pierre Mignot

1986

Beyond Therapy [Robert Altman] c.op; ph: Pierre Mignot

1987

The Dumb Waiter [Robert Altman] c.op; ph: Pierre Mignot; seg of tvm 'Basements'

1987

Nowhere to Hide/Fatal Chase [Mario Azzopardi] c.op; ph: Victor Sarin

1988

April Morning [Delbert Mann; tvm] c.op; ph: Frank Tidy

1988

The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial [Robert Altman; tvm] c.op; ph: Jacek Laskus

1988

Cruising Bar/Meat Bar [Robert Ménard] c.op. 2u; ph: Pierre Mignot

1988

Speed Zone!/Cannonball Fever [Jim Drake] co-c.op 2u; 2uc: Alan C. Smith & David B. Nowell; ph: François Protat & Robert Saad

1989

Eddie and the Cruisers II: Eddie Lives! [Jean-Claude Lord] c.op; ph: René Verzier

1989

Day One [Joseph Sargent; tvm] c.op; ph: Kees van Oostrum

1990

Ivory Hunters/The Last Elephant [Joseph Sargent; tvm] c.op; ph: Kees van Oostrum

1990

Shadow of the Wolf/Agaguk [Jacques Dorfmann & Pierre Magny] c.op; ph: Billy Williams

1994

Le confessional [Robert M. Lepage] co-c.op 2u; ph: Alain Dostie; 2uc: Pierre Mignot